Touching tributes

August 11th, 2010

The degree of loyalty which dogs can display towards their owners can be truly remarkable. In Japan, near Shibuya train station, there’s a sculpture to a special dog, paid for by public donations. It is a tribute to the devotion of Hachiko, who was a Japanese Akita.

Hachiko used to walk to the station with his owner each morning, and would then return to accompany him home in the evening. Even though the professor died suddenly at Tokyo university during 1925, Hachiko continued this journey back and forth to the station every day for a further 10 years, in the hope that they would be reunited.

In its own way, this simple gravestone in an Edinburgh churchyard is just as poignant, even though the events surrounding it are not well-known, especially when compared with the case of Greyfriars Bobby – this Scottish city’s most famous canine resident.

© kyz

Commemorative stone © kyz

Commemorative stone

The engraved inscription on the stone tells of the death of an elderly shepherd in 1795, but that is only part of the story. John Foord became caught up in a fierce snowstorm on Corstorphine hill in February that year, while tending his sheep. When he was found after the blizzard, he was lying dead near a rock, with the body of his sheepdog at his side.

His friends then decided to bring the rock down the hill, and cut it to create this tombstone. They also placed the smaller stone alongside it, to commemorate the death of John Foord’s faithful canine companion, who stayed with him right to the end.

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