The loyal Japanese dog
This week we carry two stories of faithful dogs. We hope it will
touch young hearts and hopefully inspire you to discover the true
stories of loyal dogs.
Akitas are considered to be among the most loyal of all dogs, and
anyone who has heard the amazing true story of Hachiko won't disagree.
In January 1924 a professor at the Japanese Imperial University brought
home a two-month old Akita puppy. Dr. Ueno named the pup Hachiko.
The following year was a wonderful time for Hachiko and his new
master. Akitas are large dogs, and Hachiko grew to be over ninety
pounds. This beautiful white dog accompanied Dr. Ueno to the Shibuya
train station every morning, where Dr. Ueno would say goodbye to Hachiko
and head to the university. And every day when Dr. Ueno returned home
Hachiko would be waiting for him at the train station and the two would
go home together.
Anyone could see the powerful bond between the large Akita and his
master. If things had continued like this, the story would still be one
of admirable faithfulness from a dog to its master. But that was not the
fate of Dr. Ueno and his loyal Akita Hachiko.
May 21, 1925 was like any other day for the pair.
In the morning, Prof. Ueno left Hachiko at Shibuya station. But when
Hachiko returned to Shibuya station in the evening, his master was
nowhere to be found. Though Hachiko waited, Dr. Ueno never showed up.
Dr. Ueno had died from a stroke earlier that day. Akitas are very
loyal dogs and do not bond easily with new people. Hachiko was sent away
to another area of Japan where there were relatives of Dr. Ueno's who
could take care of him. Because Hachiko had only belonged to Dr. Ueno
for a little over a year, they probably hoped that the Akita would make
a new family with them. But Hachiko didn't care. He ran away from the
family and returned to the train station to wait for his master. The
family realised that they couldn't keep the big Akita dog from heading
to Shibuya Station everyday, so they gave Hachiko to Dr. Ueno's old
gardener who still lived in the area.
Every evening Hachiko would return to Shibuya Station and wait for
Dr. Ueno to get off the six-o'clock train. And every day, Hachiko was
disappointed. Still, he never missed a day of hoping that his master
would return to him.
The commuters noticed Akita waiting every day at the station. Some of
them had known the pair when Dr. Ueno was still alive, and everyone who
heard of Hachiko's story was touched.
People petted him and gave him food. Months passed, then years. Still
Hachiko kept vigil. A newspaper heard of the dog's story and Hachiko
became a Japanese celebrity. To commemorate his loyalty, a statue of
Akita was erected at Shibuya station. Hachiko was present at the
Despite the people's loving intentions, Hachiko basically lived as a
stray. He would call no place home except where Dr. Ueno was, and since
Dr. Ueno was nowhere, Hachiko had no home. He lived on the street,
fought other dogs, and ate scraps and handouts.
Hachiko got sick with worms and mange, but because so many people
admired him he was given treatment by a veterinarian. Hachiko became an
old, scarred dog, with one ear up and one ear down, and no longer looked
like the purebred Akita that he was.
It was March, 1935 when Hachiko finally died. The old Akita was found
in a Shibuya street. He had waited for his master for almost 10 years.