When I tell people I have a hound dog for a house dog, they don't usually know what to expect.
My dog is a German Shepherd mixed with a Treeing Walker Coonhound, and it should be noted that both of those breeds usually produce dogs of about 60lbs to 80lbs, give or take. I have the best of both worlds: Kobe, and his tall, lanky hound dog frame, packed with German Shepherd muscles, and black and tan coloring, coming in at about 110 pounds and begging for more food every chance he gets. Have a burger? Keep an eye on it, Kobe will snatch that right out of your hand if you aren't careful. I've lost many sandwiches, a couple of burgers, and even a piece of cake to him just by not paying attention.
My gentle giant was named by my brother, a basketball fan, so we have Kobe Bryant Nakanishi. He's turning 6 in May of this year, which is getting into the "adult" age for dogs. Don't tell him, I don't think he knows. Kobe is forever a puppy, crawling onto laps and whining, chasing toys and cats, making everyone late for work because he's too cute to walk away from without, yeah, okay, just one more cuddle.
He'd probably love running through a river. I could see him bouncing through a field or scaring birds, chasing rabbits and letting loose to just run. But Kobe and I, we don't get out much, especially to the great outdoors. I can't really supervise him, he can't watch me... we would require a chaperone. He famously once just laid down halfway through a walk. I can't actually lift him, for the record, so if he decides the walk is over? Well, guess we're staying there for a while!
When you look at Kobe's breeds, you'll see two very active ones. Yes! He loves to play. He runs around outside, he plays fetch for hours, we have a really good time. He's brilliant; officially smart enough to know that, actually, he doesn't have to "sit." The world doesn't end or anything. Mom, Dad, and I just stare at him while he waits for one of us to cave and dig out something yummy for him. Kobe is surprisingly well-trained, he just also knows that he doesn't actually have to follow any of the rules. Too smart for his own good. Part of why we love him.
In reality, Kobe's not actually that active in comparison to other dogs of his mix and age. He's the last surviving puppy of his litter. A few days after we brought him home, we got the call that the rest of the puppies had to be put down due to distemper. Kobe? Well, we already loved him, so... we figured if he didn't survive it, at least we would love him through it. We had an awesome vet, though, and luck was on his side. But there are lasting impacts of distemper on dogs, like fatigue, tremors, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, and more.
Kobe has the bark and bite of a German Shepherd. Usually, he's friendly. Like, super friendly. Too friendly. People are intimidated by his size and his coloring, but he has a fan club among my friends, online and offline, and at the local pet store. He's great for people who are "scared of dogs and don't want to be," I've been told by my aunt Julia, because he's big but so gentle. Before my grandfather died, we had somehow trained him -- or maybe he just did it all on his own, honestly -- that when he jumped up to sniff people and things, he wasn't to use his paws. This way he never knocked me over, for one, but he also never took out my grandfather (a man who, before his stroke, was as sturdy as any ancient oak and, after, a less sturdy but still pretty damn solid ancient oak).
My grandfather said, when we brought Kobe home, that "When you have a hound dog, you have a friend for life."
He even gets along with the neighbor's tiny Shih-Tzu, George. Loves him so much. Doesn't understand why Alaska, the husky on the other side of us, doesn't like him, though. I don't think I have a dog who is gifted in social cues.
I have a rule, though, that if my dog doesn't like you, I don't like you. I figure Kobe has good instincts about that. If he's barking and growling at the GrubHub guy when he's usually pretty happy to see delivery dudes in general? I'm going to assume GrubHub Guy is actually a serial killer. Sorry! It's in the rules. My dog doesn't like you!
I'm epileptic, chronically ill from whatever makes me sick and hurt all the time that they can't figure out. My dog? He goes to a groomer that adores him and isn't scared of his size (because he's a big sweetheart, but he is big), and sometimes to get a pup cup from Starbucks. He doesn't much care for walking, he prefers his backyard and the cats in the house that he knows and loves. It may seem a little boring, but there's something ridiculously comforting to having a dog that follows you everywhere when you're home. Herding breeds do that, after all. It's both annoying and endearing, especially when you're trying to take a shower.
When we re-did the living room, we had to buy a chair specifically for him. He doesn't like it, though. He likes Mom's comfy chair that spins, so she's been moved to the loveseat. He takes up most of the space on that too, when he decides to lay across it. Parts of our house are dedicated to our "shrine" of Kobe - silly signs like "I work so my dog has a better life" and the oil painting kit my mom ordered and painted when the quarantine first hit in March of 2020. We treat him like the youngest member of our household, plan our days around him, make sure that our schedules have the space necessary not only for his basic necessities but also for the proper amount of cuddle time, TV time, sleeping time, etc.
Kobe howls when he's lonely, that long, sad howl that makes you think of lonesome evenings out under the open sky. He throws his head back and cries along with sirens, wakes up from a dead sleep and bays when he's frightened, hollers out that haunting howl when he's been locked out of the bedroom and thinks he's been abandoned for far too long. That's when I'll get up (or Mom, or Dad) and either bring him into where the people are or put on a movie. He likes Disney's Hercules. He wasn't a fan of Frozen, but he's into Encanto and Tangled.
He keeps me going most days. I always have a reason to get up, and I'm never alone, even when I seize at home and my family is out. I love knowing that there's always 110 pounds of love and attitude nearby, always game for snuggling, movies, or destroying a squeaky dinosaur. He has a specific bedtime routine that involves two trips outside, one bowl of kibble, changing his water, a quick examination of his stuffed yeti, changing his water again, a round of "dude, it's not dinnertime, I promise you're not starving," and finally luring him to bed with a treat that is both tasty and cleans his teeth! He then proceeds to take up half of Mom and Dad's queen. Sometimes, when the insomnia is bad, I sleep on the couch and he sleeps with me like a warm, solid, snoring weighted blanket.
So, no. We don't go on a lot of "adventures," not in the way that most people would define them. Our adventures are more along the lines of finding out how many tissues he can pull from the box before I notice, or if he's gentle with an egg for a TikTok challenge. I've discovered that Kobe is strangely into Netflix, but he really loves Disney musicals.
We don't get out much.
Then again, I don't really think we need to.
About the Creator
Tired and chronically ill, but with a deep, profound love of writing.
I write what I would want to read. LGBTQ+, mysteries, essays, short stories, random musings, things that make sense and things that don't. Conversation welcome!