Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog

Some of you may remember my previous review of a similar book entitled Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman.

This is a much shorter picture book version of the same story written by Pamela S Turner and illustrated by Yan Nascimbene.

It relates the major details of the story about a dog named Hachiko owned by Professor Ueno who waits for the Professor every day at the train station to arrive home from work.

One day Professor Ueno does not come home, having died at his place of work, a nearby University, that day.

But still Hachiko waits.  And he waits and he waits and he waits.

“Hachiko comes back to the house (Professo Ueno’s house) every night to sleep on the porch.  But in the morning, he walks to the station just like he did with Dr. Ueno.  When the last train leaves the station, he returns home.”

He waits every day at the train station until his death at the Shibuya Station almost 10 years later.

A statue now stands in the station very near where Hachiko used to wait, honoring his loyalty and undying devotion.

This site has great information on the story and if you scroll down to the bottom pictures of the real Hachiko:

http://www.vickiwongandhachi.com/

This is a good site as well:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hachikō

I love this story.  It illustrates why many of us are dog owners in this country and what an integral part they play in our lives.  It appeals to us because I think as humans we struggle with loyalty; whereas, dogs don’t.  They don’t think about it.  They just are.

Something we deeply desire as well.

This is how I picture Hachi waiting:

Hachi lived from 1923 to 1935. Continue reading “Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog”

The Mightiest Heart

The Mightiest Heart is a kids book by Lynn Cullen.  It tells the tale of a loyal Irish Wolfhound, Gelert, to his master, Prince Llywelyn.  One day Gelert stays behind while Prince Llywelyn goes hunting.  When the Prince returns, Gelert is all bloody and his son is missing.  He blames the dog who runs away only to rescue the Prince once more when he is in danger.  The Prince finds his son and the body of a dead wolf nearby.

When the Llywelyn’s son grows up and finds a puppy (presumably Gelert’s child), the Prince tells him he may keep him only if “You never let him go.”  He continues, “The mightiest heart can come in the humblest vessel.”

I have read this story before where instead of Gelert running away, the Prince kills the dog with his sword before he finds out his son is alive.  This is the traditional tale.  I like this version better merely  because my daughter can’t stand it when animals die in stories but the traditional one is much more poignant.

It highlights how we all jump to conclusions, react when we shouldn’t, do things we shouldn’t, only to find out later we were wrong, and regret our choices made.  I especially like this one because this dog had shown no reason to doubt it in the past and yet our human mind still thinks the worst.

This is based on a true story.  The Prince really lived in the twelfth and thirteenth century and he had an Irish Wolfhound named Gelert.  In fact, the town of Beddgelert in Wales, United Kingdom is named for the dog where an actual grave site exists purported to be the resting spot of the real Gelert.  Fascinating stuff.

Irish Wolfhounds were prized in the Middle Ages for their hunting capabilities and given to royalty as gifts.

Dog owners know how loyal dogs are and uncharacteristic behavior usually has a very good reason behind it.

Personally, I like this tale because we almost got Irish Wolfhounds instead of English Mastiffs.  They are one of my favorite breeds and are still on my short list of dogs to own in the future.  I love loyal breed dogs, guard dogs, and big dogs–all of which describe these breeds best.

Here’s a link to the story with photos of the grave:

http://www.rohan-irishwolfhounds.com/Myths%20and%20Legends.htm