Living in the present – an Akita tale

Some of the many characteristics of an Akita dog are loyal, devoted, loving of family, head strong, intelligent, fierce protectors, just to name a few. Some of our long-time TNR members may notice surprising similar qualities between Miyagi and an Akita…hmmm. When my wife and I were in Chiropractic College, we glimpsed at an Akita that changed our lives. We thought to ourselves, what an amazing dog! Little did we know the significance that Akitas would play in our future lives.

hachikoThere is a famous story about an Akita named Hachiko (google his name, it’s an amazing story) who walked with his owner to the train every day in Japan. His owner passed away but the dog each day would go to the train station and wait for the arrival of his owner. This went on for 10 years. He had the most staggering love and loyalty to his owner. Hachiko is not the only devoted dog the world has known, but this story is one of the most famous because so many countries share in Japan’s tribute to man’s best friend. There is actually a statue in honor of this dog and owner.

There are breeds of more ancient history, those with a more genetically pure background and many have an equally fascinating history. There is, however, no breed possessed of more character, loyalty and cultural significance than the Akita. These are such core values to our family. My daughter, Christy, just finished her academic studies from Life U with her husband, Cliff, and they will be peaking at the Beacom’s office in Whitehall, MI, but it’s a bittersweet departure because they recently lost their beloved black lab, Raider, who was just six and a half years old.

The New Renaissance GalleryBefore they headed out to MI, she decided to visit a kennel for a breed she has always been interested in – the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. They are huge, majestic, beautiful, uncommon, devoted, goofy, and love kids and water. Once they decide where to practice and live, this breed of dog will be a part of their lives. It was love at first sight. The character and appeal of the breed called to her. The smile was just like the one she had on her face when she first brought Raider home: the same smile my wife and I had when we got Kuma, our first Akita. Dakota, our golden retriever, and Raider were best friends since Raider was only a puppy. Dakota was so patient when Raider, the king chasing balls, would impose his youthful itchiness. Christy still had Raider’s bed with her when she recently brought all her stuff from Life U to the family house in MA to store away for the future. And Dakota knew it was Raider’s. He slept on and beside his bed all night long. It was his way of remembering his departed friend. He knew.

But how is an Akita similar to a Chiropractor?

Too many of us as DCs, parents, or dog owners, think that we have all the time in the world. This is an illusion. There is no time to be wasted on not being your best. It’s absolutely vital to live in the present, rather than the guilt and shame of the past or the fear of the future. We want to just get things done on our precious to do list and then add more things to put on the list. The addiction to busyness is an epidemic in our society. We live in a culture that mitigates genuine emotion because it mitigates genuine anything. Sometimes relationships are not treasured and revered as sacred until it’s too late. We put off the important things in life and replace them with things that are not important, and more often than not are merely distractions and temporary diversions from boredom and anxiety.

In our offices, we sometimes compulsively concentrate on what’s not going right, instead of being grateful for all that is right. Of course we all want to do better, but there is also space to be grateful for what you have presently with an eye on being better tomorrow. As parents we sometimes concentrate on our children’s bad behavior and forget about all the great things that make them truly unique. Like Christy’s breed that is famously known for being difficult to train (much like Akitas), sometimes we need to slow down, invest more in our kids (or dogs!), spouses, and relationships to make them sacred as they should be. Some of our most meaningful and purposeful relationships were forged in fire especially in the beginning.

The world at times can appear difficult, but when your MOJO is flowing, you look forward to the challenges instead of scrambling for the easy button. Having loyalty and devotion to practice members who sometimes don’t return that loyalty and devotion is often difficult. Think of what a dog may think when the owner doesn’t have the time or isn’t in the right mood to take them on an adventure, and instead just takes them on a quick walk up the street. It’s always the right time for an adventure. Do it anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.