Saturday, September 17, 2005



By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The very first animal to show us affection and love was the dog. During the great catastrophe of the howlingly cold, bitter Great Ice Ages, they came to our campfires and caves and merged with us so completely, our way of living has been forever altered by their pack politics, their attentive devotion.
That is right! Hi, everyone! Even cyberdogs are loyal, loving and want bones and a warm bed! I love dog stories! Continue on, I am all ears!

&hearts The story of Hama, the devout Buddhist dog, is circling the globe. I worship in a Buddhist Temple where Temple dogs and cats roam. So this is cute, very cute: From Chosun news, South Korea:
A dog at a small Buddhist temple on Jindo Island, South Jeolla Province has attracted a substantial following by performing Buddhist rites. Hama, a one-year-old Jindo dog at Buljang Temple, has won the hearts of Buddhists over a month of performing the "Yebul," a ceremony paying respect to a Buddha image, alongside the monks. The Ven. Buksan of Buljang Temple said, "We keep about 30 Jindo dogs, but we were able to train Hama, who is especially smart, to do simple things, and now, he can perform the Yebul... I wonder if he had some connection with the Buddha in a previous life."
Japanese temples are guarded by dogs who sit in attentive stony silence, carved ears perked up, waiting for summons, forbidding demons.
&hearts Here is the famous Hachiko statue which stands near the Shibuya station in Tokyo. From Japantoday:
Shibuya is known today as a popular gathering point for Tokyo' young people. But long before loose socks and sandals with three-inch soles, before Tower Records and 109, Shibuya had another claim to fame: Hachiko.

The year was 1925. Every morning, Professor Ueno Eizaburo walked to Shibuya station accompanied by his loyal dog, Hachi, nicknamed Hachiko. Hachiko didn't accompany his master to his teaching job at the Imperial University (now known as Tokyo University), but when Professor Ueno returned every day at 3pm, the dog was always at the station waiting for him. However, on May 21 of that year, Ueno died of a stroke while at the university. Hachiko went to Shibuya as always to meet his master, but 3 o'clock came and went, and the professor didn't arrive. So Hachiko waited. And waited.

The Akita must have known something was wrong, but nonetheless he returned to the station every day at 3 o'clock to meet the train. Soon people began to notice the loyal dog's trips made in vain to meet his master. Ueno's former gardener, the Shibuya stationmaster, and others began feeding Hachiko and giving him shelter. Word of his unaltered routine spread across the nation, and he was held up as a shining example of loyalty. People travelled to Shibuya simply to see Hachiko, feed him, and gently touch his head for luck.

The months turned to years, and still Hachiko returned to Shibuya station daily at 3pm, even as arthritis and aging took their toll. Finally, on March 7, 1934 - nearly ten years after last seeing Professor Ueno - the 12-year-old Akita was found dead on the same spot outside the station where he had spent so many hours waiting for his master.

Hachiko's death made the front pages of major Japanese newspapers. A day of mourning was declared. Contributions poured in from all over the country to memorialize the dog that had won the hearts of the nation. Sculptor Ando Teru was hired, with the money that had been contributed, to create a bronze statue of Hachiko. In April 1934 it was placed on the exact spot where Hachiko had waited for so long.
The statue took some damage from the WWII firestorms but survived and this too, renewed faith in our faithful companions.

The dogs of New Orleans are still being reeled in along with some very unhappy cats. The owners of these pets worry about them even as they themselves struggle to survive.

Our hearts go out to all of them, all.

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