We love them!
We really do. Our most loyal family members are a treasure to us and, if we are being honest with ourselves, we let them rule the roost! Dogs have been showing their heartfelt love and loyalty since humans and canines teamed up to form their own packs. And some doggos have done a really good job. So, let’s take a little trip and get to know some of the famous good boys around the globe.
Winning the award for most in Tokyo is the ever waiting Hachiko. The story of this good boy begins in 1923 when our dog go began escorting his master to the train station every day. Sweet Hachiko was just 18 months old when tragedy befell his master, Professor Ueno. The story has been translated into books appropriate for every age level from 6 to 96 and an American version of the story will have you reaching for tissues as Richard Gear bonds with Hachi in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
While visiting Tokyo, you can check in on Hachiko at a few places. First, visit the scene of loyalty and the original statue at Shibuya Station. This spot is awfully popular as it has become a tradition to meet long awaited friends and family at the statue which is an homage to the dog’s loyalty. Next check out Ueno Park- yes, that Ueno. The park is beautiful as are some of its features including a zoo and the National Science Museum. At the museum you can see the actual Hachiko. It sounds a bit morbid but, at the time of his death, he was so famous that authorities took it upon themselves to have a taxidermist preserve his fur. The rest of Hachiko’s remains were cremated and there is some controversy over whether these ashes were reunited with his master at Aoyama Cemetery. Lastly, check out the newest tribute to this good doggo at the University of Tokyo where a new statue of the good professor and his faithful companion are finally reunited.
During WWII, an Italian man named Carlo befriended an injured street dog in a small town of Borgo San Lorenzo which is close to Florence and north of Rome. Carlo named the pup Fido which literally translates to “I Trust”. In true Hachiko style, Fido accompanied Carlo to the bus stop every day and waited for him to return.
Unfortunately, the ravages of the war caught up with Carlo and he was killed. For 14 years, this community watched faithful Fido wait for Carlo. Finally, in 1957 the Mayor felt it was only right to honor Fido and while he was still alive, a sculpture was made of him entitled “An Example of Loyalty”. Find Fido in San Lorenzo’s main square. (A quick note: I was given the lead that dear Fido was featured in this book but no such luck! However the book was great so I’m keeping it in!)
Gunnar Kaason and his team of 13 dogs, including the Siberian husky, Balto, completed the last leg of a 1925 trip to deliver 300,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Alaska. They traveled by night in temperatures of -23 °F. Those are the facts surrounding Balto but any dog lover will tell you that the draw to this inspiration for the world famous Iditorad race is Balto’s determined teamwork with his musher to complete the task. Balto is memorialized in New York City‘s Central Park.
You may not know this particular pup as his fame has been eclipsed by his famous collegue, Balto. But make no mistake, Togo played a significant role in that 1925 race to get serum to the people of Nome. You can find the leader of the pack in New York City’s Seward Park.
Question: What’s better than a loyal pup? Answer: Not much. In this story of loyalty, wee Bobby shows why he deserves all of the attention he gets to this day. This true story is told in true Scottish tale style, adding a bit here and there, but the story of how this loyal dog loved his master is spot on. You can visit the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby just beyond the National Museum.
But Wait! Here’s an Edinburgh bonus! There’s another pupper in Edinburgh that is tucked away! When visiting the national monument to Sir Walter Scott, check out his faithful good boy, Maida. The dog was so important to Scott that you will find the Latin inscription which translates to: “Beneath the sculptured form which late you bore, Sleep soundly Maida at your master’s door.” Now those are fitting words for a very good pup!
I honestly don’t have a specific dog or story that goes with the Lakes District. I just found it to be extremely dog friendly! Dogs are part of the fun in this part of England. Look for them in pubs lazing around, in competitions showing sheep who’s boss, and on hikes with faithful owners. If there were a place in the world where dog owners unite, this is it!
Owney, the Post Office Dog
As The United States continued to define itself in the 19th century, one tool used to communicate and conduct important government work was our mail system. As imagined by our first Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin, the US mail system happily embraced new technology to meet the needs of the country. This included trains. Our good boy Owney kept lots of mail employees company as they delivered our post near and far. Check in with Owney at National Post Office Museum in Washington, D.C.
Getting the award for best pup escape artist is Krakow, Poland’s Dzok. While out and about on a walk, Dzok suffered the loss of his master. Ever loyal, he waited at the very spot he lost his owner for over a year. He even successfully dodged the local dog catcher a few times in order to wait for his person. Eventually, legend says that an old woman named Maria befriended Dzok until she passed away.
Poor Dzok found himself in an animal shelter but not for long! This little escape artist pawed his way out of puppy jail and went right back to that same spot where he lost his master all those years ago much to the delight of the community. After Dzok had passed, the local government honored his loyalty by having a memorial erected at famous Wawel Hill in his honor. You’ll find Dzok along the river under spectacular Wawel Hill in Krakow.