This is the true story of a dog named Hachiko, who lived in Japan a long time ago. Hachiko was an Akita, which is a Japanese breed of dog that has a lot of thick fur. He was born on a farm in 1924, and then he went to live in Tokyo with his owner, whose name was Hidesaburo Ueno. I'm not sure why anyone would have such a strange name that's so hard to pronounce, but Mom says it's a Japanese name, and the people in Japan can probably pronounce it just fine.
Anyway, Mr. Ueno was a professor of agriculture at the university. Every day, he went on the train to his job. Then in the afternoon, he came home again on the train, and Hachiko met him at the station. Hachiko was very smart, and he knew exactly what time the train would come to the station. So he would be there on time every day, even though he didn't even wear a watch.
But then one day, a tragic thing happened. Professor Ueno had a stroke while he was at work, and he didn't come home on the train. Hachiko was at the station, waiting for him, but his dad never came home again. This made Hachiko very sad, but he kept hoping his dad would come home, so every day for nine years he went to the train station to wait for him.
Hachiko got a new family to live with, but every day he ran off to the station to meet the train. And every day, lots of people saw him there, waiting for the train. They started bringing him treats and yummy stuff to eat. Then one of Professor Ueno's students wrote some articles about Hachiko, and everybody read them and learned what a faithful dog he was. Moms and dads told their children that they should be faithful and loyal, just like Hachiko.
In 1935, Hachiko died. It turned out that he had heartworms, which just goes to show that you should always take your heartworm preventive pills, even if you are in Japan.
After he died, Hachiko was stuffed and mounted, which is kind of weird, if you ask me. But if you want to see him, just go to the National Science Museum of Japan. Or you can look at this photo, which is cheaper than traveling all the way to Japan:
Another thing the Japanese people did to honor Hachiko was to make a statue of him. They even made it while he was still alive, so he could be there for the dedication. Then later, during the war, they melted the statue down because they needed the metal. But after the war, they made another statue, and it looks like this:
Some people have written books about Hachiko, like for instance Hachiko Waits, by Leslea Newman. I have not read this book personally, so I cannot say whether it is a good book or not, but it would probably be fun to read, if you have time. If you don't have time to read the book, you can just go to the movie which will be coming out next month. It is called Hachiko: A Dog's Story. It has Richard Gere in it and also Joan Allen. They are both good actors, so that probably means the movie will be good, too. It is not the exact story of Hachiko, though, because it takes place in America, and not in Japan. But it's a story that is inspired by the story of Hachiko, and it has an Akita in it.
I would like to go see the movie, but they don't let dogs go in movie theaters. So Mom will have to go and see it, and then if it's a good movie, maybe we can all watch it at home on DVD.
Anyway, that's the story of the famous dog, Hachiko. If you like this story and want an Akita of your very own, you can adopt one from the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. They have an Akita named Fancy there. She has been there for 3 or 4 years, so it's about time someone adopted her. Mom says that Fancy is a very nice dog and will make some family very happy. Here's a picture of her:
Mom says we can never adopt an Akita at our house because they have too much hair. Mom is allergic to dogs, if you can believe it, so she can only have short-haired dogs like basenjis. But somebody who isn't allergic to dogs could give Fancy a nice home, and we hope that is what will happen.