By Brett Michael Dykes
It's a universal truth that dogs are man's best friend, but they're pretty darn loyal to their own as well. Case in point: this tear-inducing video, via the website Jezebel, showing a dog, shivering and disoriented, remaining loyally by the side of a stricken fellow canine amid the devastation of the Japanese tsunami.
The video is a stark reminder that, as was the case when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, there will likely be thousands of pets orphaned or involuntarily abandoned due to the catastrophe in Japan. If you'd like to help efforts to help these animals, you can find info on doing so here.
UPDATE: CNN and the UK Telegraph have both reported that the dogs have been rescued since the footage aired, and are both receiving veterinary care; the more seriously wounded dog is at a clinic in the city of Mito, while the protective spaniel-type dog is receiving care at a shelter in the same town.
Here is an English translation of the voiceover exchange between the two reporters in the clip (translation courtesy of Toshiyuki Kitamura):
We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.
He has a collar. He must be someone's pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.
Oh, there is another dog. I wonder if he is dead.
Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.
The dog is protecting him.
Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.
I can't watch this. This is a very difficult to watch.
Oh. Look. He is moving. He is alive. I am so happy to see that he is alive.
Yes! Yes! He is alive.
He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.
Oh good. He's getting up.
It is amazing how they survived the tremendous earthquake and tsunami. It's just amazing that they survived through this all.
County fire fighters brought Hachi into "Affordable Animal Hospital" in Torrance with third-degree burns covering over 60 to 70 percent of his body. He was nothing but a sweetheart from the time he was carried in - black and charred with the pads of his feet literally falling off. Long weeks of treatment and recovery followed.
He will make a certain someone or family a very special companion. He is loyal and a totally devoted animal.
Much of the burn areas covering his face and body will never grow hair back, there is not much left of his ears either... but they are looking for someone who can overlook what many may find unsightly on the outside to see what a jewel he is on the inside, and be reminded of all those that are good in the world: Fire fighters willing to risk their own lives for that of another and especially that of "just a dog." The vets, technicians, groomers and staff at Affordable Animal Hospital that helped him along in his recovery. The county shelter for footing the bill of this special dog's lengthy road back to health. Hachi is ready and waiting for a home as special as he is.
Hachi can be seen by appointment with an approved application, so please e-mail for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LONDON--Liam and Theo were a team, fast friends doing a dangerous job — searching out roadside bombs laid by insurgents in Afghanistan.
The jovial British soldier and his irrepressible dog worked and played together for months, and died on the same day. On Thursday they came home, flown back to Britain in a sombre repatriation ceremony for the soldier remembered for his empathy with animals and the companion he loved.
Lance Cpl. Liam Tasker, a dog handler with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, was killed in a firefight with insurgents in Helmand Province on March 1 as he searched for explosives with Theo, a bomb-sniffing springer spaniel mix. The dog suffered a fatal seizure hours later at a British army base, likely brought about by stress.
Military officials won’t go so far as to say Theo died of a broken heart — but that may not be far from the truth.
“I think we often underestimate the grieving process in dogs,” said Elaine Pendlebury, a senior veterinarian with animal charity PDSA. “Some dogs react very severely to their partner’s loss.”
She said it was not uncommon for pets to respond to an owner’s death by refusing food and becoming sick — and the bond between working dogs and their handlers is especially close.
“The bonding that I have seen between soldiers or police and their dogs is fantastic. When you see them working together, it’s really one unit.”
"Tasker was the 358th British soldier to die in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Theo was the sixth British military dog killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.
There are calls for Theo to receive the Dickin medal, which since 1943 has recognized wartime bravery by animals, from carrier pigeons to a World War II commando collie.
The loyalty of some dogs is legendary, from Greyfriars Bobby, a 19th-century Skye terrier who guarded his master’s Edinburgh grave for 14 years, to Hachiko, a Japanese dog who awaited his owner’s return at a train station every day for years after the man’s death. Both are commemorated with statues.
Tasker’s uncle, Billy McCord, said the soldier had been due to leave Afghanistan soon and worried about being separated from Theo.
“He actually said at one point that when he finished his tour he was not sure what would happen to his dog and that he could be separated from his dog,” he said. “That was preying on his mind, but they are not separated now.”
"Hachi" was recently included on a list of 50 Best Family Films. Other titles include Spielberg's "Jurassic Park", James Cameron's "Avatar", George Cukor's "My Fair Lady", Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" and Frank Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption". The last title was produced by the multi talented Niki Marvin, and we're currently collaborating on another family friendly project. Will keep you posted!
Vicki Shigekuni Wong
I first spotted Hachiko's statue many years ago at Shibuya Station. Upon returning home, I adopted a dog and named him Hachi. When he passed away, I missed his reflective, welcoming and calm ways. We can all learn from the innate emotional grace of our animal friends and the Way of Hachi. I love sharing the story of the loyal dog of Japan, and hope he inspires more people to "Be Hachi"!