min-nie12weeksaWe are watching one of those inspiring if bitter-sweet dramas played out this fall [2014] here in our little Tidewater Virginia household. Akemi, named after the legendary Japanese beauty, our six-year old Airedale was diagnosed with cancer about two months ago. Akemi is a hillbilly, from the southern Appalachian southwest corner of Virginia. When we followed up on an advertisement and made the long journey to the kennel that raised her, she was a four-month old affectionate little puppy. But she had one floppy ear, the result the breeder told us, of an accident when her mom was whelping her, licking the newborn puppies, but accidentally biting the ear. Of course, that was all it took for Aki, my lifelong friend, to decide she had to join our household. The ride home was a hoot and a constant howl. Akemi had usurped the seat of Ni’shiki, [“an accoutrement which enhances all around it”], her bridegroom. But although he serenaded her with a constant bark, it was love at first sight. At Ye Olde Crabb