He did not fit in. He had a grand time harassing the other dogs, but they weren't happy. I had to keep him on a leash inside the house so he wouldn't wander off and destroy something. The time from eight months to twelve months was an ordeal. He had extreme separation anxiety. He had food issues. Although he had been housebroken at Jessica's house, he decided he wasn't housebroken after all. We had fun, as you might expect with a puppy, but those four months were not happy overall.
When he turned one year old, we evaluated him for finding missing pets. He showed great enthusiasm and aptitude for finding both cats and dogs. Since Kelsy already had the position of dog finder, I decided to train him for finding cats. This training really focused his energies and made him much easier to live with. Komu has always loved his training, and his work. He learned quickly, and he was a pleasure to work with. He could be a menace to society any other time, but once the vest went on, he was ready to work. He responded to commands, went everywhere I asked him to, and showed an ability to detect a cat as successfully as any other dog I had worked with. The first time we took the certification test was the first time in six months of training that he failed to give an alert on the hidden cat. I blame it on the heat, the windless conditions, and the approach I took. It was not his fault. We took the certification test another day, and he passed with flying colors.
Komu has conducted at least 200 searches for missing cats. He has found remains of the deceased cat about 50 times. He has found the missing cat alive about 25 times, according to my records. There may have been a few instances where he did locate the missing cat, but it darted off as we were approaching, and the cat was found in the next 24 hours. Komu has worked long hours in the heat, rain, wind, in blackberries, steep ravines, and yards filled with junk and debris. He is a most excellent dog in any number of ways.
On November 8th, 2012, I trapped a little white poodle that had been runnng loose on the freeway. I tried to find his owners, but his name became Fozzie, and he became part of our pack. Every single day for the past several years, Komu and Fozzie have played together for hours. Fozzie started at 11 pounds and has grown to 14 pounds. He throws himself at 75-pound Komu with the viciousness of a wolverine. Komu gets a squeaky toy in his mouth and squeaks it at Fozzie to egg him on. For many hours every day, it's Rarrr, Rrarrr, Rrraaarrr, Squeak, Squeak, Squeak. Fozzie lunges at Komu, and Komu zooms down the hall, through the living room, bounces off the couch, and races back to Fozzie with a play bow and a squeak squeak. Other times they wrestle more gently. Komu will lie on his back to get lower than Fozzie while Fozzie bites him all over with little puppy bites and soft growls. Komu has his own little puppy, his little play toy.
Komu is not a perfect dog. He has stolen a box of cookies, half a tub of margarine, several partial boxes of dog treats, and many other food items that weren't adequately placed out of reach. He has learned to climb on things in search of food, so there are fewer and fewer surfaces safe from the marauder. Komu will also bark at an inappropriate time. I don't mind if he barks, but sometimes he will bark at a perfectly innocent child or dog at just the wrong moment. Also, when people greet him and try to pet him on the head, he will open his jaws in a gesture that appears menacing but is not. This is the fault of the people who try to stick their hands on the top of his head, instead of stroking him under the chin, but it would be nice if I didn't have to worry about him scaring people. With all of his imperfections, he really is a perfect dog. I wouldn't want him to be too civilized. Life with Komu is never boring.
Once you get to know him, Komu is the most affectionate, cuddliest dog you could ever hope to meet. He sleeps in the bed next to Kelsy and me. He will curl up on the couch with anyone he can. With his fearsome jaw and muscular build, he is still capable of such sweet and tender gestures. He can look at you with soft eyes, and you know he is saying that he loves you. I am extremely fortunate to have Komu in my life. I tried not to get stuck with him, thinking he was too much work for my current situation, but I am lucky that he bombed out at Jessica's house. I can't imagine life without Komu. He is an excellent working partner, a fine companion, smart, graceful, athletic, sweet, everything you could possibly want in a dog, or a person for that matter. The little unwanted puppy chained to a tree has become a member of my family, a valuable contributor to society, helping people find their missing cats. I love my work because I love to help animals, but I am especially proud of my work when people get to see Komu working, using his skills and abilities to help lost kitties.