Hachiko Waits

“This is a horrible, horrible book,” my 7 year old daughter cries.  I try to laugh at her antics amidst my own tears.

Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman is a fictionalized account of a true story that happened in Japan in the 1920’s.

Professor Ueno gets an Akita puppy named Hachi who goes with the professor to the train station every day and meets him again at 3 pm when the professor arrives home.  This goes on for about one year until one day the Professor never arrives on the 3 o’clock train.  Hachi waits and waits and waits.  He waits for 10 years until his death, always scanning the trains that come in for the Professor.

If you are any kind of animal lover, especially dogs, you are guaranteed to cry at this story.  The loyalty and devotion of a dog is never at its finest than right here.

I cried because I felt so sorry for the dog.  Hachi will never know his owner is not coming back.  Hachi cannot go on with his life because his life was the professor’s life.  When the professor’s life ended, so did his.

I have 2 old dogs whom I know will die sooner rather than later.  I am not looking forward to this and neither are my children.  I think it will be an important learning experience when it happens but it won’t make it any easier–losing a member of your family.

Here, Hachi didn’t know he had lost his family.  This is the ultimate tragedy I think.  We humans can move on because we understand.  Dogs don’t.

I often wonder if Hachi would have been okay if the professor had died at home or if he could have seen the professor’s body.  If Hachi would have understood and been able to move on and somehow intuit the meaning of death.

Death happens all the time in Nature and animals do go on.  I wonder how animals process death.  You see mother elephants who refuse to leave their dead baby’s body.  You see monkeys who carry their dead babies around in denial of the truth.

When my husband shot a buffalo (this was a paid hunt on a private ranch where the buffalo were going to either be sold to hunters or sold to the slaughter-houses because the ranch owner had lost his lease), he described how all the other buffalos tried to nudge him to get up.

It seems animals mourn like we do.  But Hachi could not mourn.  He didn’t know.  He sat faithfully every day expecting his master to step off the train like he had done countless times in the past.

Hachi is revered by the people of Japan for his loyalty, devotion, and faithfulness.  All the school children are taught his story and there is a statue that stands in the spot Hachi waited in the Shibuya Station.  It has become a popular spot for marriage proposals as couples confess their undying devotion to one another–just like Hachi’s.

Every year a memorial service is held to honor this special dog.

I think this paragraph from the book says it all:

“I have come to believe there is a special train to bring those who have obtained Enlightenment up to Heaven.  Every day for the past ten years, Professor Ueno has met this special train to see if his beloved Akita-ken is on it.  Day after day after day he has waited up in Heaven, just as Hachiko has waited here on earth.  And today, when the special train reaches Heaven and opens its doors, Hachiko will be the first one to step out.  Just think how happy he will be to see his master again.” P.73

I believe with all my heart dogs do go to Heaven.  I believe I will be with my dogs again when they pass and they will be with me.  I believe they will be waiting for me and will greet me just as vigorously as they do here on earth.

Dogs are the epitome of unconditional love.  No matter what happens they will love you because you are theirs and they are yours.  Dogs and other pets are a gift from God because He knows they can give us things we cannot get elsewhere.  Dogs give humans so many things and ask for so little in return.

Dogs, especially Hachi, are special indeed.

Below is a picture of Hachi as I envision him waiting:


11 thoughts on “Hachiko Waits

  1. Enjoyed reading your post. How exciting would it be if we did see our dogs as spirit beings in heaven, though I doubt it very much! As we’ve read in Isaiah 11:1-9, Christ (rod from the stem of Jesse) will bring about a time of peace where all animals and man will be in harmony. However, the description is not necessarily of heaven, and these animals are not necessarily reborn animals. I am a dog lover! I look at them and all “bonding” pets as special EARTHLY blessings from God. When my two dogs passed, the fact that I knew they were not going to heaven was even that more painful. Their deaths were a reminder to me that my purpose is to spread His word to others for their eternal salvation. Humans beings were created to have that relationship with God, animals were not. Comments welcome!

  2. God would not be so cruel as to not allow our beloved pets to be in Heaven. He created them to give us love, companionship and comfort here on earth. He loves all of his creations, especially those who have a soul. And, we know our beloved dogs and cats do have a soul, not just a personality. When my cat died two years ago, I kept asking God in my prayers if she was in Heaven and happy. God, through a dream assurred me that she was indeed in Heaven. The dream was so vivid. My cat was sitting atop a hill in a beautiful garden with other animals. She looked so serene and peaceful there, and when I awoke from the dream, I heard such a loud purring (her purring that I heard so often) that I knew then that she was in Heaven. In the Bible God came to many in a dream with truths and assurrances, and I know he came to me to let me know that my cat was in paradise with Him.

    1. I agree whole-heartedly with Mary Ann. Mommy, I’d like to see your scripture to back up your claim. The fact is we’ll never know for sure until we get there but I believe every animal is just as special in God’s eyes. He created them first after all, before man. I believe He feels their pain as much as he feels ours. He just didn’t give them as much brain capacity (which at times I’d like to act off of instinct alone-it’d make my life easier Ha :).

  3. I disagree that God gave us dogs because He knew they give us something that no one else can. Jesus is all we need……no person and no dog is needed and should not be needed —-that is an idol. God gave us dogs because he wanted to bless our lives. As much as I love my little dog, she falls so short of what Jesus is for me. My 21 year old daughter and the Holy Spirit have taught me to only allow Jesus to be what I need. Jesus is enough.

  4. Some chose to place their FAITH in the individual resurrection of the souls of animals.

    I cannot say for sure, but I lean toward NOT. I had a huge emotional attachment to one of my dogs that passed and she appeared in my dreams for years. However, I do not expect to see her again. I have chosen to look to God’s word instead. In addition, Isaiah 11:1-9 (my original post), here are a few more verses that lead me to believe we will NOT see our pets in heaven.

    Isaiah 65:17 “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will NOT be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”

    John 3:16 “For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should nor perish, but have everlasting life.” So, salvation was brought through Jesus for mankind (not animals).

    Genesis 1 and 2 — Life was NOT breathed into animals; they were NOT made in God’s image.

    Also, when Adam and Eve sinned, all of creation fell into degradation and death. Since “creatures” cannot reason from cause to effect (to the degree humans can), we don’t see in the Bible “salvation” for them.

    Jesus died for mankind. We are saved through faith in Jesus, Matthew 1:21 “…you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.

    Bottom line, it’s a topic that Christians will continue to disagree with. Hope some find this helpful!

  5. Isearched the Internet and found this very interesting explanation concerning if animals do go to heaven:
    “A controversial question is whether it is God’s plan for animals to be in heaven or not. Many Christians believe that heaven just would not be heaven without animals. Certainly I believe that the Creator of millions of different species of animals, birds, insects and fish is a God who loves variety and prizes His creation. I cannot believe that Heaven will only be populated by angels and saints. From a careful study of the Bible I have become convinced that Heaven will be richer in vegetation and animal life than the most paradise-like part of earth could ever be. Where people get the idea of harps and clouds from, I don’t know. God has a far greater plan than we can imagine.
    “This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.” Ephesians 1:10
    “Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with young goats, calves and lion cubs will feed together, and little children will take care of them. Cows and bears will eat together, and their calves and cubs will lie down in peace. Lions will eat straw as cattle do . . . The land will be as full of knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of water.” Isaiah 11:6-9
    “Search in the Lord’s book of living creatures and read what it says. Not one of these creatures will be missing and not one will be without its mate. The Lord has commanded it to be so; He Himself will bring them together. It is the Lord who will divide the land among them and give each of them a share. They will live in the land age after age, and it will belong to them for ever.” Isaiah 34:16, 17
    When the revealed Word of God teaches us that God’s eternal plan is for “all creation” to be brought together under Christ then it includes all wildlife too. When God says “everything”, He means everything – animals included.
    When He says that they will live for “age after age”, “forever”, this means eternal life. Only one place will last forever, and that is Heaven.
    That great book of worship in the Bible – the Psalms – reveals that all God’s creation have contact with God (Psalm 93). All God’s creatures praise Him (Psalm 145:10). It is only mankind who needs forgiving and saving and teaching as to how to worship (Psalm 36 & 51), the animal kingdom worships God continually and naturally.
    “Praise Him, hills and mountains, fruit trees and forests; all animals, tame and wild, reptiles and birds.” Psalm 148:9, 10
    “Be glad, earth and sky! Roar sea and every creature in you: be glad fields and everything in you! The trees in the woods will shout for joy.” Psalm 96:11, 12
    The last book of the Bible presents the final climax of the ages when all creation faces the Creator. First the four living creatures (the animal-like angels around God’s throne as described in Ezekiel) praise God, then the twenty-four elders, then the redeemed people of God, then the angels (Revelation 4:6 – 5:12), until finally the great scene is described when all living beings present their worship to Almighty God.
    “And then I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, in the world below, and in the sea – all living beings in the universe – and they were singing: ‘To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honour, glory and might, forever and ever’.”
    Revelation 5:13
    In the light of these Scriptures, I firmly believe that our loving almighty Creator intends all His creatures to enjoy heaven with Him forever. The only part of creation that will be missing from Heaven, according to the Bible, are those sinful human beings who neglect the great salvation that God has revealed in the Bible and provided through Christ. So while all the animal victims of scientific experiments will be in Heaven, the same cannot be said for all the hardhearted vivisectionists and ivory poachers.”

  6. I love this movie story! I saw first in japanese movie and I cried and I can’t forgot that movie years ago. Then again I have no idea while I’m watching english movie, in the mids of the story it reminds me that japanese movie, I can’t stand to watch it and I change it to another channel but I said to myself its okey anyway its really a very good movie and beside its english movie…more on I can understand. So the end of the movie I cried a lot!!! Sorry if I’m late to give you this comment because just recently I watched the english. I love what you said that if you are in the heaven all your dogs are waiting for you there…I’m so glad that I can be with my dogs when I’m in heaven of course also with my family.Praise God in Psalm 148:9,10!!!! Thanks Atozmom’s Blog & May God continually bless you in all kinds of treasures in heaven!!!!!

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