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Companion

15 Apr

The Akita, a dog breed originating in Japan, was first made popular in the United States in 1937 when an Akita was presented to Helen Keller after her visit to that country.  During her stay in Japan Keller mentioned to her hosts that she was very interested in the famous Akita, Hachiko who died in 1935 and upon learning about the dog she mentioned that she would enjoy having a dog of that kind.  One month later an Akita named Kamikaze-go was sent to Helen.  She fell in love with the dog, saying “I know I shall not feel the same tenderness towards another pet.”  Being deaf and blind she came to rely on Kamikaze and found him gentle and reliable, but sadly, he died of Canine Distemper after only a short time.  The Japanese government then presented Helen Keller with an official gift of Kamikaze’s brother, Kenzan-go, and through Helen’s efforts a breed standard was established in the United States and the Akita began appearing in national dog shows, by 1939.  The growth of the breed in this country stopped with the onset of World War II, but the Akita had taken hold with dog lovers and after the war, they again gained in popularity.  Helen Keller grew very attached to her second Akita, Kenzan and enjoyed his companionship for many years.

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