There’s a reason why dogs are considered man’s best friend. They’re known for their unwavering loyalty and compassion. Is there a dog that could qualify as the most loyal? Maybe. We think the title should go to Hachiko.
The year was 1924. The location, Tokyo. Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor at the University of Tokyo, had taken in Hachiko as a pet. The two quickly became fast friends. Every single day after work, Hachiko would meet the professor at the train station. This continued until one day, professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died.
Hachiko, not realizing that the professor would never return to the station, continued to appear at the train station precisely when the train was due, and wait for the professor. He did this for 9 straight years.
Hachiko was eventually given away by the professor’s wife after the professors death, but he routinely escaped, and returned again and again to the old house. After some time, Hachiko apparently realized that the professor no longer lived at the house. So he returned to the Shibuya train station where he waited for the professor many times before. And every day, Hachiko waited for the return of the professor.
Hachiko’s Loyality Saves His Breed
The year preceding Hachiko’s death, one of the professors old students saw Hachiko in the station and followed him home where he learned the story of Hachiko. After which, he decided to take a census of Akitas in Japan. He found there were only 30 purebreds remaining.
He continued to visit Hachiko at the station and wrote several articles relaying the story of Hachiko. In 1932, one of his articles got national attention and threw Hachiko and the Akita breed into the spotlight.
Hachiko’s legendary faithfulness and loyalty may very well be responsible for saving the Akita breed in Japan.
Hachiko passed away and finally got to see his master again on March 8th, 1935. His remains were stuffed and are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.
Bonus Fact: The phrase “Man’s best friend” originated in 1870 during a speech given in a civil court case. The speech was given by an attorney who was representing a farmer suing for damages after his dog was shot and killed by his neighbor. The attorney said in court, “The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.” The speech gained a bit of traction locally and was shortened by the press to “Man’s best friend”.