The Bellingham Bulletin — October 2012
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Bellingham’s Fisk Is Nationally Recognized Dog Breeder
Maud Dill ingham Bulletin Contributing Writer

As the owner of Akiko Akitas and<br /> Wishing Well Kennel in Bellingham,<br /> Nancy Fisk (above) has been breeding<br /> champion Akitas for more than<br /> 30 years. She is an American Kennel<br /> Club breeder of merit and breeds up<br /> to 2 or 3 litters per year. She typically<br /> keeps one male and one female from<br /> each litter to show. She also breeds<br /> champion beagles.<br /> Nancy takes her responsibility as<br /> a dog breeder very seriously. Her<br /> Akitas are in the top 20 of breed<br /> champions year after year. “I try to<br /> raise dogs that can be wonderful<br /> family companions,” she says; but<br /> she cautions, “This breed is not for<br /> everybody,” calling Akitas “strong<br /> and independent” and sometimes<br /> territorial with other dogs. Akitas<br /> are “protective by nature,”<br /> Nancy says. They originally<br /> were bred in Japan to hunt<br /> bears and boars.<br /> “Akitas are incredibly loyal<br /> and devoted dogs,” Nancy<br /> notes, citing the movie<br /> “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” as<br /> an example of the breed’s<br /> faithfulness. “Nationally, my<br /> dogs have a reputation for<br /> the best temperament,” she<br /> says. “Temperament has to<br /> come first. In this society,<br /> if they can’t be family companions,<br /> it doesn’t matter<br /> how pretty they are.”<br /> “Akitas require someone<br /> to be in charge,” Nancy<br /> continues. “The owner has<br /> to be confident and knowledgeable.<br /> You don’t need a<br /> tough or a rough person,<br /> just a confident person.”<br /> She is the Vice President<br /> of the Massachusetts Federation<br /> of Dog Clubs and<br /> Responsible Dog Owners,<br /> which teaches about responsible<br /> dog ownership.<br /> The Federation makes sure<br /> that legislation is in the best<br /> interests of dog owners.<br /> “Many people think of<br /> Akitas as an aggressive<br /> breed,” she says. “Akitas will<br /> take control in a household<br /> that has no pack leader.”<br /> Nancy also is President of<br /> the Hockamock Kennel Club and<br /> a delegate to the American Kennel<br /> Club.<br /> Of Wishing Well Kennel, Nancy says,<br /> “I own this boarding kennel not to<br /> make money, but because it allows<br /> me to have a place to bring a dog<br /> that needs it.” She works with Big<br /> East Akita Rescue to foster dogs that<br /> need homes. The kennel costs $25<br /> per night and accepts unspayed and<br /> unneutered dogs, unlike other kennels.<br /> It has indoor/outdoor kennels<br /> that are heated and air-conditioned.<br /> The dogs go out individually in fully<br /> fenced play-yards twice a day.<br /> Nancy started her kennel in Bellingham<br /> 18 years ago, moving from<br /> Franklin where there were neighbors to worry about. “This is an industrial<br /> zone, and no houses can be built<br /> nearby,” she says, adding that she<br /> has a 50-dog kennel license.<br /> It’s interesting how we came to<br /> write a story about Fisk.Thirteen years<br /> ago, Nancy sold an Akita named Tica<br /> to a young man named Rich Payne<br /> of White Plains, NY. This summer he<br /> contacted her, very upset because his<br /> beloved dog needed heart surgery<br /> and he couldn’t afford it. As Nancy<br /> tells it, “I am responsible for a puppy<br /> that I breed from when it is born<br /> until it dies.” She offered to pay for<br /> the surgery if Tica made it through<br /> the weekend, but unfortunately Tica<br /> was not ultimately strong enough to<br /> undergo the surgery. Nancy paid for<br /> her to be euthanized and cremated.<br /> In an e-mail to The Bellingham<br /> Bulletin, Rich wrote, “I believe in my<br /> heart, Nancy went above and beyond<br /> what most ordinary people would do<br /> for one another. I feel she deserves<br /> recognition, not just for being an<br /> outstanding breeder, but also an<br /> outstanding citizen of Bellingham.”<br /> Nancy says, “That’s what a responsible<br /> breeder should be doing, as far<br /> as I’m concerned.” Rich subsequently<br /> brought Tica’s ashes home to Nancy’s<br /> place and spread them on the property.<br /> Nancy had a litter of puppies,<br /> one of whom resembled Tica. “He<br /> held her,” Nancy smiles, remembering<br /> Rich bonding with the puppy. “He<br /> got his Akita fix.”<br /> “Nancy told me that when I am<br /> ready, when my life situation will allow,<br /> there is another puppy waiting<br /> for me in Bellingham,” said Payne.<br /> Wishing Well Kennel is located at<br /> 235 Maple Street in Bellingham. The<br /> phone number is 508-966-7654.<br />