Advantages of pets
Eizaburo Ueno, professor in agriculture science at Tokyo University, had long wanted a pure bred Japanese Akita dog. He had looked for the perfect Akita puppy for a long time, until one of this students encouraged him to adopt Hachiko, from the Odate city in Akita prefecture.
Hachiko, or Hachi which became his nickname, and his new owner soon became best friends, and Eizaburo loved his dog above all and treated him as his son. The two of them were inseparable.
As Hachiko grew older, he started to see his owner off to work in the morning at the Shibuya Train Station, in central Tokyo, and went to pick him up at the station in the afternoon when he returned from work.
On May 21, 1925, only two years after Hachiko was born, Hachiko was as usually sitting by the exit at Shibuya train station waiting for his dear Eizaburo. But his owner never showed up.
It turned out that Eizaburo had suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage and died suddenly and unexpectedly while at work.
Hachiko moved in with a former gardener of the Ueno family, but throughout the rest of his ten year long life he kept going to the Shibuya Train Station every morning and afternoon precisely when the train was due to enter the station, waiting in vain for the return of his beloved owner which sadly never came back.
A major Japanese newspaper reporter picked up the story of Hachiko in 1932 and published it, which led to Hachiko becoming a celebrity all over Japan. People started calling him “Chuken-Hachiko”, which means “Hachiko – the faithful dog”.
The story of the dog that never gave up gained a lot of attention also in national media, inspiring many people from all over the world to visit Hachiko at Shibuya Train Station to offer him treats.
Hachiko Dog Statue
In 1934 a statue of Hachiko was unveiled at a grand ceremony in front of Shibuya train station with Hachiko himself present as the main guest.
Hachiko passed away peacefully and alone on the street near Shibuya train station on March 8, 1935, 12 years old.
Hachiko is now on display at the National Science Museum in Ueno, Tokyo.
There is also a monument of Hachiko next to his owner `s tomb in Aoyama cemetery in Tokyo.
Today the Hachiko bronze statue is a popular attraction outside of Shibuya train station, especially among young Japanese.
There has actually been made two Hachiko bronze statues. The first one was removed during the World War II and melted as a source of metal.
I can’t speak for others, but as for me, I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog. I spent 10 months living and working at an animal sanctuary in Georgetown, SC, that specialized in feral cats. I was the “Cat Wrangler” in residence. The guy who was charged with taking a street cat and transforming it into an adoptable pet. It’s a process that involves a lot of patience and hands that have the consistency of raw hamburger.
When I moved to my mountain, I took 3 of the hardest cases with me. Patches (mostly blind), (One-Eyed) Jack (missing an eye, half deaf), and Ghost (deaf, feline AIDS), because it was extremely unlikely that anyone would ever want them. So now, they are living the life, and watching them blossom has been pretty damned gratifying. 🙂
Over the 5 years since I’ve been here, little Ghost died, Bella-Bug moved in (abandoned in a warehouse too young – her only “disability” is that she was abandoned so young that she never learned proper cat vocalizations, so when you pet her she purrs and growls at the same time because she’s not sure which one is “right”), and recently, Baby Izzy! (feral mama cat gave birth to a litter of four – two died, and I got the mama and her son into a sanctuary, keeping Izzy because she’s blind in one eye and was half the size of her brother (the runt)—Izzy can currently ride around in the palm of my hand. She’s TINY, despite being 3 months old now…her favorite perch tho, is to sit on my shoulder while I’m working.
Pro Tip to speed socialization if you have more than one cat: You know how, when you scratch the base of a cat’s tail, how they’ll get into “spontaneous lick mode?” – yeah, so, if you do that and hold the new cat in front of the alpha cat of the pack, the cat will lick whatever is in front of it, including new cat. And now, Alpha cat’s scent is all over new cat. The Alpha accepts the new arrival much more quickly, and the others follow suit. Works like a charm.
Got a friend who is fostering a kitten about the same age as Izzy, named Moxie. Moxie has “swimmer syndrome.” As soon as the quarantine is lifted, I’ll be arranging transport to add her to the family.