In Japan, an elderly man and Labrador Retriever summit Mount Kongozan 1000 times.
The people stationed atop Mount Kongozan are used to seeing 72-year-old Kunio Takemura and his 8 year-old Labrador Retriever, Miruki, but even they were surprised to learn that the pair recently clocked up their 1,000th hike to the summit.
“This has got to be the first 1,000th record by a dog,” said a staff member of Kongo Renseikai, a group that keeps track of mountain climbers. “That’s really something.”
Miruku and Takemura made their 1,000th climb on Feb. 2.
During their climb, Takemura feeds Miruku dog food and bananas – her favorite snack.
Takemura’s wife, Eiko, joined them on their 1,000th trip. That day was also the couple’s anniversary. The trio hiked up the snowy mountain and had a special card with “Miruku Takemura” written on it stamped at the peak for the 1,000th time.
“I can’t believe we’ve climbed this mountain 1,000 times,” Takemura said. “She’s put up with me for so long.”
Takemura owned four dogs before he got Miruku. He said, “I should take her with me everywhere I go, since she will probably be my last dog.”
He remembers “Miruku having the time of her life chasing fallen leaves on her first hike.”
Takemura has kept track of their climbs since Jan. 26, 2009, and within only six years they have collected 100 cards, with 10 slots each.
In the earlier years, they would sometimes climb 10 days in a row. But on these days, they typically climb for three days, and then rest for two days.
Despite the number, they never get tired of seeing Mount Kongozan. The Labrador Retriever continues to enjoy the adventure and gets excited when she sees Takemura putting on his backpack. They may have already reached a milestone in their routine but Takemura plans to keep taking her up their favorite mountain.
“Thanks to Miruku, people talk to me more, and I’ve made many friends,” Takemura said. “Climbing with her is part of my daily life. I’m very grateful for her.”
Image and Article source: The Asahi Shimbun