Farewell to Akin the Magnificent...

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Well-Known Member
Jul 25, 2004
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Norco, CA

Today was Akin's last day to work his farm and his herd - at age 16 (and 2 months) we felt it was time to release him from his aged body before he began to lose his lifelong dignity. He was still able to get around our hilly 2 acres and, although mostly blind, still helped us feed the horses and greet visitors, but it was getting harder for us to watch him move and wobble more and more.

A year or 2 ago, Akin developed nerve damage in his back end so that his beautiful tail could no longer rise in it's graceful curve over his back, but it could still wag from side to side... his back legs got looser and looked bad, but he never acted like he was in any pain, and his indomitable spirit never wavered.

We had tried to "retire" him to the yards around the house, but after a few months, this noble dog who had never defied a fence in his life, found ways to get out of the yard (that we never found!) and tried to dig back in to the area around the horses. So, we let him do what he wanted - he'd earned that right.

We were waiting for him to tell us that he wanted to go, but really he never had that "feeling" about him. Perhaps it was selfish of us, to have him put to sleep before he'd actually failed to function, but I have to believe that this dog who had lived his very long life with such dignity and purpose would have chosen to leave his body behind before he'd completely lost control.

It wasn't until I began to write this message that I remembered that this is the month that Akin is featured in the ASDI calendar - pictured with a 1 week old Bluefaced Leicester lamb. That photo is one of my favorites of Akin... he loved his sheep. He took care of our chickens and horses too. From just a few weeks after we bought him at 8 months old, we NEVER lost another chicken or duck to coyotes, owls or hawks.

He had a lifelong, passionate hatred of hotwire, developed after jumping onto a live wire shortly after we got him, and would always bark madly at the sound of a wire shorting out - so that even at 3am, we knew about the problem and could locate the exact spot to repair. <grin> Akin also had a hatred of skunks, after the one time he was NEARLY hit with spray (close enough that he needed a bath, anyway.) Cats were, in his opinion, just a variety of skunk as well. His rousing bark kept all the cats and skunks out of our yards.

Akin was also, in his younger days, an active horse trainer. We always were bothered by the fact that he would lay down in the barn aisle while we were doing things with the horses, refusing to show the self-preservation skills we would have liked to see from him... but it was quite a while before we found out why he felt no need to move away from our horses - and why they never seemed to get into his "space". We eventually began to see him doing his training sessions. When horses were turned out, he would deliberately walk into the arenas with them and lie down. If a horse came over to sniff him, he would explode into action, barking and screaming at them - causing the curious horse to leap backwards and clear the area. Then he would lay back down! After a couple times of this completely non-physical treatment, you couldn't have forced those horses to touch that dog!

Akin set a standard for us that few dogs will ever attain. We are raising a new Anatolian puppy, she's 5 months old now and shows all the wonderful breed character and sensibilities that Akin personified... but he set the bar very high. We will always have at least one Anatolian, because they are such wonderful dogs... and Akin was a most wonderful Anatolian... the personification of the breed and a magnificent spirit.

We will miss him terribly. I'm not quite sure how to run the place without him.
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Old Dogs Never Die

We have a secret, you and I,

That no one else shall know,

For who, but I can see you lie,

Each night, in fireglow?

And who but I can reach my hand

Before we go to bed,

And feel the living warmth of you

And touch your silken head?

And only I walk woodland paths

And see, ahead of me,

Your small form racing with the wind,

So young again and free.

And only I can see you swim,

In every brook I pass,

And, when I call, no one but I

Can see the bending grass.

i'm so sorry for your loss. i believe you absolutely did the right thing. i went through the very same with my old husky. he was failing and i did not want him to lose his dignity. bless you for caring and giving him a wonderful life.
Karen this is just another reason why I respect the heck out of you.

You are just so in tune with your animals, you know when its right

to show them your ultimate sacrifice.

I am so very sorry for your loss. I know you will miss Akin terribly

and your heart is breaking tonite. Big hugs Karen ((((((( ))))))
What a beautiful beautiful tribute. Akin was obviously an amazing Spirit in a dog body.
What a grand old man! You can see his character in his expression.

He had a lot of stories I bet.

I'm sorry he's no longer with you but his spirit will remain in your

heart forever.
I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was a wonderful friend and a huge part of your life.
How lucky you both were. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful dog. The soul never dies and he'll be giving your new puppy lessons from above.
I'm so sorry for your loss of Akin...it was uplifting to read about him. ((hugs))
It sometimes is selfish of us humans to "hang on" to our beloved animals to long. True love and respect comes from knowing when it is time to let go and give them that dignity and respect our pets deserve. My heart feels for you and your sadness at losing such a beautiful creature. We did a tribute to our animals that have gone on before us on our website, somehow it just seemed fitting. Prayers are with you and GODSPEED for AKIN.
I am sos o sorry for your loss of your wonderful Akin! We just had the same thing happen with our treasured best friend Yellow Lab Luna who was 14 . She had to go across the bridge last March 25th , I know it tears your heart out but we do what we do because we love them..

I wish you the best,


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