At Ky's Chiropractic Clinic (2926 Canal St., 821-1500), an immense Great Pyrenees and Tibetan Mastiff mix greets customers. While his size could intimidate cynophobes, there's nothing to fear: Mochi is there to comfort and protect patients, always willing to lend a helping paw (which matches the size of his owner's hand). He is the quintessential gentle giant.

   "Mochi just loves people," says Doan Ky, Mochi's owner and an acupuncturist at Ky's, which has been in its current location since the 1990s. The clinic specializes in adjusting one's energy, or chi. At its serene Mid-City location, Mochi's energy seems just right. "His disposition is very light, very optimistic," Ky says.

  Ky's sister, who loves all things sweet, named Mochi after the Japanese dessert of sticky, sweetened rice. While the name may not fit Mochi's masculine appearance, it matches his demeanor quite well. Ky says Mochi's presence has a calming effect on the clinic's patients. Compassionate and intuitive, Mochi likes to comfort others. "He seems to know if they're having a bad day," Ky says. "He'll go right to them and nudge them." Mochi spends most of his time at the clinic with the patients, sitting beside them as they undergo treatments.

  While Mochi senses when patients aren't feeling well, he also can tell when someone is up to no good, which makes him an effective security system. "Sometimes strange people come to the door, and he keeps them away," Ky says. "He has a very deep, deep bark." Employees feel safer working late at night when Mochi is around, Ky says. This is a testament to his unique heritage: Great Pyrenees and Tibetan Mastiffs are ancient breeds that traditionally were used as guardians of herds, villages, monasteries and palaces.

  A father of two litters of puppies, Mochi is as nurturing and protective with his offspring as he is with patients. "For each litter, he really supervised ... the whole birthing process," Ky says. "Each (puppy) came out in the (birth) sack, and he helped open the sack and licked each one." Mochi also has taken an active role in raising his pups. "He was very hands-on," Ky says. "He always had them near him."

  Not one for toys or fancy dog pillows, Mochi takes pleasure in life's simple things, like playing in an empty lot adjacent to the office or jumping fences. "He likes to jump our 8-foot fence," Ky says. "He's an incredible jumper." Mochi even looks back with an impish glance when caught in the act, knowing he is being naughty. Strong-willed and smart, Mochi is more likely to be found watching for cars before crossing the street than performing tricks for a treat. "You know what he wants," Ky says. "He's very direct."

My Favorite Things:

My puppies

Jumping over fences

Comforting people

Belly flops and rubs

Guarding the clinic