AC Pup: Animals can be loyal forever

August 2, 2013 

One of the great things about having pets is that they’ll give you love and companionship their entire lives. Regardless of whether the pet is a dog, cat, horse or guinea pig, he’ll do his best, in his own particular way, to show you for the rest of his life how much you mean to him.

Dogs are widely known for being man’s (and woman’s) best friend. And even though some cats have the reputation of being aloof and distant, the ones I’ve ever known are just as warm and demonstrative as most dogs.

Regardless of how pets show they care about their family, there is usually one characteristic they all share, and that’s loyalty. There are numerous accounts of how animals remain beside family members no matter what.

One of my favorite stories is actually a true story about a dog in Japan named Hachiko. Hachiko was an Akita whose dad, Mr. Hidesaburo Ueno, was a professor at the University of Tokyo.

Hachiko and Mr. Ueno were very, very close. They spent all their time together except when Mr. Ueno was teaching at the university.

In fact, to make sure they never wasted a minute to be together, they had a special routine. Mr. Ueno rode the train each day to work. Somehow Hachiko knew exactly what time his train would return to the station at the end of the day so Hachiko would run to town to meet Mr. Ueno. As soon as Mr. Ueno exited the train station, Hachiko would run and jump in his arms.

Sadly one day Mr. Ueno died unexpectedly. Hachiko couldn’t understand the most important person in his life was gone. The person to whom Hachiko was so devoted had died.

But just as so many pets do, Hachiko could not give up on someone he loved. So every day for the next nine years Hachiko ran to the train station at precisely the time Mr. Ueno’s train would arrive to wait. And wait. And wait.

With his heart racing, Hachiko searched the faces of every person who came out of the door hoping to see Mr. Ueno. And every night Hachiko’s heart would break.

He never gave up and faithfully returned to the station every day rain or shine. Hachiko never gave up hope and repeated this daily routine until he was found dead in the street nine years later.

The story of Hachiko’s devotion captured the heart of the world. A statue of Hachiko was erected outside the train station. Books have been written about him. And a movie was even made about him -- “Hachiko, A Dog’s Story.”

If you want to experience this level of love, go to your local shelter and rescue a pet. You won’t be sorry.

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