Most known for her love of peanut butter sundaes, chasing squirrels, hogging the bed, leftover pizza crust, and Sunday morning hikes, Akira made each and every day better.
After a heart-breaking series of new homes within her first 18 months as a pup, she found her forever home and rescued Aubrie and Charlie on May 30, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was love at first run: on their first evening together, Akira went for a sunset run with Aubrie along the University of Utah campus, and they became inseparable. From running neighborhood routes to trekking through rainy trails, Akira joined on countless miles. She was the co-pilot in many milestones over the past six years including: Charlie’s graduate degree, Aubrie and Charlie’s wedding, moving to Oregon for new jobs, and welcoming new family and friends to the Pacific Northwest.
As a husky-akita, Akira was equally joyful and curious as she was bright and stubborn. She loved playing hide and seek and snoozing in the back seat during long road trips. She could recognize the sound of a peanut butter jar opening or the shake of a whipped cream can from miles away. She never really liked water, fireworks, or being away from her humans for long, and only kindly tolerated her raincoat and brushing her teeth at her family’s request. She was known to unabashedly wedge herself into any hugs between her humans, and always wanted to be close to them, food or no food. While she had many nicknames, she was often known as Stinky Pete, Muffin, Muff, Protective Factor, Mow Mow, Angel, and ‘kira.
On April 26, 2019, Akira was diagnosed with Multicentric Lymphoma. While the news was devastating, their family made a promise to make the most of any time they had together. New traditions (Sunrise Hike Sundays, Trail Tuesdays) and a newfound appreciation for the littlest things were discovered. Akira was promoted to a Work From Home specialist in March 2020 and helped her family through the toughest months of their lives. Coincidentally, Akira celebrated her 700th day of fighting on the same day as their household’s final dose of the vaccine.
Akira’s story was often described as an anomaly, and her battle with lymphoma was no different. Akira enjoyed 752 more days of tail wags and belly rubs. She passed away on May 17, 2021 doing what she loves most: hogging the bed. Everything about her will be missed and her humans are thankful to experience a bond like hers. Each special day wouldn’t have been possible without the care and compassion that was found from the OSU Oncology department. Their encouragement, insight, and support will never be forgotten. A special thank you to her vet tech, Chelsey, and Dr. Mark Jeon. Thank you for your kindness, optimism, and continuing to show up for Akira and each patient during the pandemic.
Highlights of Akira’s favorite adventures and memorable moments can be found at Akira Highlights – YouTube
See you soon, sweet girl.
A donation was made in Akira's memory and the memorial was created on May 26, 2021.
Messages From Friends and Family
AHH! I just had this memory pop into my mind and wanted---needed--to share. I think the first time Akira slept over at my apartment was when we were all in Salt Lake City. I don't remember where her mom and dad were going, but they weren't able to take Akira so she got to spend a few days with her boyfriend and me. I had some human friends visiting at the time, and Akira can be a little shy when she first meets people. While we were hanging out in the living room, I noticed Akira wasn't in eyesight anymore, and as I mentioned previously, she can be a little mischievous (especially out of sight). I called for her and received no answer. So I started to check my room and guest room--no Akira. Earlier in the day, she had gone into the bathroom and curled up in the shower so I checked there--no Akira. The kitchen across from the bathroom also had no Akira. I opened the door to my laundry room--the last room option available in my apartment....NO AKIRA. Panic started to set in. How had I lost this large dog in my small apartment? I searched all the rooms again: under beds, opening closets even though the doors had been closed, back to the bathroom all resulting in the same conclusion from earlier--no Akira. I cannot explain how confusing and terrifying this was as I didn't know how to explain to Aubrie and Charlie that I somehow lost their child. I even got to the point where I was questioning if Akira could have somehow unlocked and opened my door and gone outside without 5 grown adults seeing it. I decided to check every room again one last time before giving Aubrie and Charlie the bad news. As I made my way into the final room (the laundry room), I decided to check the storage cabinets along the wall. I knew it was unlikely that Akira would be in there because the doors had been shut and the spaces were small, but it was the only area I hadn't checked at that point. I open the final storage cabinet and what do I see? Akira curled up on the bottom on the cabinet. I still have no idea how she got into the cabinet, but I learned a great lesson that day: don't ever underestimate Akira.
~Memory shared by Brittany.
I met Akira for the first time in Boise, ID at a vacation house. She hadn't been with Mom and Dad for very long, but she was already loved immensely. Akira was very stressed that weekend to the new space and new people, and it certainly was an interesting type 3 fun weekend. I admit that I wasn't certain Akira liked anyone other than Mom and Dad. She has the most intense side-eye glare of anyone that I know. However, Akira slowly won me over to show me the truly wonderful, loving companion that she is! My favorite "lol" memory with Akira is the time that she snuck out the door and came running right to me greeting me with that classic intense booty wiggle. Instead of catching her like most responsible adults in her life would have, I gave her a friendly pet and let her go be free. Mom was perplexed (more annoyed) that I chose to not try and get her, but I knew that she wouldn't go far and that she would come back because of how much she loved her pack. My second favorite "lol" moment was the time that Akira was staying with Aunt Brittany and boyfriend, and the four of us went for a walk. I had the privilege of walking along side Akira as we gallivanted about the campus. It was always good to be near Akira when going for a walk because everyone would completely ignore you to stare at her. "You have such a beautiful dog!" they would scream from their passing cars or as they walked by the other end of the sidewalk without ever really taking their eyes or attention off Akira. Who were they yelling at? They didn't care, Akira was the main event. And, for the privilege of getting to be in her presence that day with all of those compliments, I got to scoop and hold the deposits of that walk, not once, not twice, but three times. Three giant bags of "gifts" for Uncle Nick for the opportunity to be alongside her. But you know, it was worth it to see her being admired by so many onlookers. Everybody loves Akira!
~Memory shared by Nick.
Today I was thinking about when Aubrie and Charlie first moved to Oregon and were living on a farm in a spare room they found through Airbnb. Aubrie had just started her new job at OSU, and I video called them to check in. I don't remember the context specifically for how the next sequence of events occurred, but Akira wandered into the frame (stealing the show, naturally). At some point--fully knowing that she associates the term with jumping up onto things *and* that she was not allowed on the bed--I said, "hop up" to Akira. In her true mischievous manner, she heard it and proceeded to jump up on the bed. There are so many moments like this with Akira being super playful and hilarious (mostly because the humans around her were putting on voices and imagining how she would respond to something) and this is one of my favourite memories.
~Memory shared by Brittany.