Even as a kid, I’ve known of the story about an Akita who loyally waited for his master at the same train station, long after his master died, everyday for 10 years, until his death. In Japan, Hachiko was long considered a hero, a symbol of what loyalty is all about. They even erected a small monument for him, at the same train station where he waited in vain for his master who never came again to meet him. His body was eventually stuffed and is now on display at the National Science Museum in Japan. So I was really thrilled when @derekcarlos (thanks Derek!) sent me the link via Twitter about a new movie about Hachiko (there was a Japanese film about him in 1987) directed by a director I really trust, Lasse Hallström, and starring Richard Gere.
I loved dogs even as a kid, but the tragedy then was, I had a sister with asthma, so I couldn’t own a dog as a little boy. I had to wait until I was much older and my sister already moved out of the house. So Hachiko’s story always struck a raw nerve in me, because he was that dog I never had, but wanted so badly. I always felt like I was meant to have a dog best friend. After failing miserably with my first few attempts at dog-keeping, I finally met the closest I ever got to my very own Hachiko, my yellow Labrador Retriever, Tyro.
He was a great dog, he’d stay by my side, even without a leash, he won’t leave my side even if there were other dogs playing, and once someone tempted him with a spare rib, yet he stayed solidly by my side. And if I were to go inside a door, he’d wait outside that door until I came out. And one time we were in a friend’s house in Tagaytay, they said he stayed by me and guarded me the whole time I was asleep. Whatta dog.
I cried buckets of tears when he died. He died on a Good Friday. He waited for me to leave the house to go out of town, and within minutes of arriving at our destination, I found out that he breathed his last. I loved that dog to pieces. I’d have many great dogs after that, especially the 2 little ones we have now, but Tyro was the 1st dog who taught me how to be a responsible dog owner. I learned my biggest lessons in being a dog’s human from him the most. The gentlest dog I ever knew. Yet, he’d take on the biggest dogs if he thought I was in danger.
So watching this trailer and getting reminded of Tyro got me really nostalgic. I can’t wait to see the movie. I heard it comes out October 2009 in the U.S.
Here are some of the very few pictures I have of Tyro. Okay, forgive the outfit and the Hallmark Channel running shot. This was, after all, deep in the 90’s.
And here’s a video of some scenes from the original 1987 Japanese movie about Hachiko, Hachiko Monogatari (ハチ公物語).