Saturday 22 Oct 2016

Forever Loyal
AJ Robinson

There are plenty of stories about good and faithful dogs. How dogs can affect an effect us. Who can watch a movie, such as "Old Yeller" or "Marley & Me," without crying as the credits roll? Yet, what about the reverse situation; do dogs ever mourn for us? Some people dismiss such things; after all, plenty of dogs are given up by an owner, for whatever reason, go to live with someone else, and they're fine. Now sure, in the old "Lassie" television series, Lassie always moved heaven and earth to get back to Timmie, Jimmie Corey or whoever his master was, but that was - after all - only television.

Still, every once in a while, we hear a story that makes us think, hey, maybe there's more going on behind those big dog eyes than we know.

I recently saw a movie that confirmed that. It was called "Hachi: A Dog's Tale", and it was the Americanized version of the true story about a dog who lived in Japan. His name was Hachiko, and he was born in 1923. He eventually went to live with Dr Ueno, a professor who taught at the Tokyo University. Every day, the two would walk to the nearby train station; Ueno would go to work, Hachiko would go home, and then he'd return to meet Ueno when he came home on the evening train. Well, one day in 1925, Dr Ueno died while at the college. Hachiko went to the station, waited, and then went home when Ueno didn't appear. The next day, he returned to the station to meet the same evening train. After that, each day, for the next nine years, he returned to wait faithfully for his master's return.

He kept this up despite what happened. His owner gave him away. He moved to a new home.

Finally, in March 1935, Hachiko reunited with his master - when the Old Master called him home - after a life of faithful service.

The people of Japan, so touched by Hachiko's act of eternal love and devotion, erected a bronze statue of him on his waiting spot outside the station. To this day, it is the single most popular spot for friends, lovers, family and anyone else to meet.

There are other such stories, Greyfriars' Bobby, a terrier in Edinburgh, Scotland, who stood guard over his master's grave. Old Shep, Pompey, Heidi and others, all of whom demonstrated some very real emotions. Is this typical of dogs, no, I think not. How about humans, do we act this way?

There's an ancient story, some say it's as old as the Bible, which says that when gawd tossed Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, he called all the animals together and asked if any would be willing to journey with the humans out into the cold cruel world. Only the dog stepped forward. So moved was gawd by this act that he gave to the dog those attributes that truly made them a friend to man and woman.

Sometimes, two souls meet and connect, and after that, no force in the universe can keep them apart. In some cases, even Death steps aside, and allows them to journey together into Eternity. Most times, those souls are people. Still, should we be surprised when the bond between dog and human is able to transcend the biological differences that separate them?

Do Figaro, Rex, Rex II and Shakespeare wait for me on the Other Side? I'd like to think so. Will a pet pine for me; I'd like to think so. In any case, I'll be sure to wait for him or her.

It's the least I can do for a friend.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

More by AJ Robinson:
Tell a Friend

Click above to tell a friend about this article.

Please report typos or corrections
to the editor