My introduction to anime was a (seemingly) long time ago when I was in high school. The first thing I ever watched was Cowboy Bebop, which, of course, is arguably one of the best series ever made. Little did I know upon my first viewing that it would end up having a significant influence in my future.
Everything about it is awesome. The animation, the characters, the music (of course), the story… I could go on and on. But the episode that initially stood out in my mind was Stray Dog Strut, which introduced the lovable dog, Ein, into the story.
I’d never seen, let alone heard of, a Welsh Corgi before; when the shopkeeper opens up the suitcase and says “they’re very sweet, but you see them everywhere… they’re hardly a rare breed”, I literally said, “No, you freakin’ DON’T see those everywhere! LIES.” I honestly thought the dog might have just been made up for the story, because no dog could be that awesome. A little dial-up internet (wow, really dating myself here) put the facts at my fingertips, and I was sold. Not too big, but not too small… extremely loyal and smart (they just miss the Brightest Dogs category coming in at number 11). I wasn’t running out to get one or anything, but it was just one of those things that I put at the back of my mind for later.
Flash forward to my junior year in college, and I’m an active Craigslist user finding cheap deals all over the place. Someone asked me if I was a dog person, to which I replied yes, and explained about Cowboy Bebop and Ein. This person suggested to take a look online to, you know, “just look” to see what’s out there. Strangely enough, I come across a listing in the pets section on Craigslist that is simply titled “corgi”: super vague, with the info stating a male Pembroke Welsh Corgi was available for a home that would keep him active and in good company. Extremely skeptical, I shot off an email to humor myself; I wasn’t really looking to get a dog at the time (getting a dog always seemed to be one of those things to do when I was older, post-college), but seeing the listing reminded me of the series and how excited I was to see the next scene that had Ein in it. Sure enough, the dog was real, and you couldn’t believe how far my jaw dropped when I saw him in person.
His name was Wallace, and the resemblance to Ein was uncanny. You can look around on the internet and see lots of people saying their Corgis look like Ein, but come on… it’s near impossible to argue this one. Worried about my wallet (I was a college student, after all), I asked about price. The owner said no charge; she just wanted him to go to someone who was familiar with the breed and could give him lots of interaction. I really couldn’t say no to this opportunity: my dream dog, that looks exactly like Ein, for free? Pinch me.
The funniest thing about the day I took Wallace home was that we pretty much reenacted the ending sequence of Stray Dog Strut: upon exiting the car, Wallace proceeded to pause, take a look around, and take off as fast as possible down the street. I chased him for nearly two blocks before grabbing his scruff and bringing him to a stop. Admittedly, Wallace was pretty scared about being in a new environment with people he barely knew, so I don’t really blame him. (Sidebar: the first thing I purchased for Wallace was a red collar and red leash. This increased the amount of people in the know crying out “EIN!” when taking him for walks by 500%.)
Six months following Wallace’s arrival in my life, I came across another Craigslist listing, this time for a female Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I wasn’t planning on taking in two dogs, let alone one… well, look what happened.
Sadie was also free, so I couldn’t believe my luck. They’re both fantastic dogs, and I couldn’t have asked for better behaved pets. They’ve been with me through my ups and downs, always greeting me with their trademark smiles and wagging butts (they’re tail-less, but like to believe they have something to shake). I can’t imagine how things would have been these last couple of years without them.
If I was never introduced to Cowboy Bebop (or, inversely, introduced too late to it), or Shinichiro Watanabe chose a different canine to be a part of the story, this probably never would have happened. But it did, and I feel extremely fortunate and a bit in debt to Watanabe for introducing me to these wonderful dogs.