Great Moments in the PoochieLife: Undying Loyalty

PoochieLife Undying Loyalty

As we’ve observed before, dogs are creatures of habit, but that’s no insult. Some dogs are chiefly known for their habit of constant friendship and loyalty. One of the most well-known examples of unfailing faithfulness is Hachiko, an Akita who lived over 80 years ago in Japan.

Hachiko, or Hachi for short, was born in a small rural town in 1923 and was soon adopted by Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor at the University of Tokyo. Hachi, Ueno and his wife lived happily in Tokyo—Hachi would see Ueno off in the morning and be waiting for him at the Shibuya train station at 4 o’clock to walk home with him every day. But one afternoon Ueno did not return. He had died suddenly from a stroke during a lecture. Though Hachi was given to the Ueno’s past gardener who lived in the area, Hachi reportedly came back to Shibuya station at 4 o’clock to wait for Ueno. Many people who were also regulars became familiar with the Akita and often gave him shelter during the rain and offered him snacks. Hachi did this every day for the rest of his life.

Hachi became a national Japanese symbol of love and loyalty in 1933 when a reporter published a story about him in the newspaper. He became so popular an icon that people would go to Shibuya station just to see him.  A bronze statue was erected in his honor in front of the station, funded by donors. Hachi died in 1935, found near Shibuya station ten years after Ueno passed away. The statue was destroyed during World War II, but a replica was made and stands there to this day, just like Hachi did 80 years ago. His story continues to inspire books, movies, and even one of Shibuya’s station entrances is named “the Hachiko Entrance”.

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Current bronze statue of Hachiko in Shibuya Station, Tokyo, Japan

Though Hachi’s story seems exemplary and remarkable, it continues to resonate with us because the same principle holds true today—that dogs’ loyalty, though perhaps shown through commonplace acts like waiting, is a strong and enduring quality almost quite unique to them. We see the evidence in many contemporary dogs, whether they are finding their way home across amazing distances or greeting a soldier they haven’t seen in years. The deep love our dogs show makes us want to cherish these open-hearted creatures who are never too preoccupied to spend time with us, lick us, bounce up and down for the joy of seeing us. And, by the way, that’s normal for them.

How have you seen your dog demonstrating his or her faithful qualities?

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