Akamatsu is the second mascot of Les jardiniers à bicyclette (after Hano Hane—the bird on the logo). Akamatsu was born in 2008, and is an orange tabby. “Akamatsu” is a Japanese word that means “Red Pine”. We also call him “Aka” (“Red”) sometimes or even “Aka-chan”. Adding “chan” at the end of a name in Japanese means that you find that person or animal endearing.

Like us gardeners on bikes, Akamatsu gets around using wheels, too! In the summer of 2011, he was hit by a car and broke his spine in the upper middle back. The lower half of his body was completely paralyzed, he had trouble breathing, and the vet gave him three days to live. But Aka was stronger than that. A week after the accident, Aka was still eating and drinking. A few months later, his legs and feet and tail were twitching again.

When at home, Akamatsu drags his behind around while pulling with his front legs, and he can even climb up sofas and chairs by himself. Since he can’t scratch his ears anymore with his hind legs, he LOVES when people rub his ears for him. He even has a body gesture to tell you that he would like to be scratched. He is a champion at purring. Twice a day he needs to be “expressed”. That means someone has to squeeze their hand on his abdominal region so that his bladder empties out. Since he can't feel his bladder, he doesn’t know when he should pee.

The wheelchair from Eddie’s Wheels keeps his rear body raised when he goes on long walks. When he steps forward on his front legs, the wheels roll to follow him. His rear legs even start to move again, but they’re still too weak to hold him up without the chair’s assistance. We hope that he continues to improve over the months as he scrambles after bugs, patiently spies on little birds and strolls around to discover what kinds of dramas are unfolding each day in the natural world.

Sometimes he follows us gardeners and hangs out in backyards while we garden. When he rolls down a city street, he certainly attracts a lot of attention from the passersby. In an adorable way, he brings many people from a neighbourhood together.

We love him dearly and are proud to have him lending his strength, affection and instincts to the company. And sometimes he surprises us all when he stands up on all four legs without using the wheelchair... 


 For more information, please visit his very own Facebook page!