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Hachiko’s statue near Shibuya Train Station, Tokyo, Japan.

Hachiko’s statue near Shibuya Train Station, Tokyo, Japan.

New vet from New Zealand at APS clinic until Dec 19th.

Rachel Oliver, a vet from New Zealand, is volunteering her time to help the animals of Samoa.  She will be working at the Vailima clinic until December 19th.  Call the clinic at 22403 to book any surgeries or checkups for your cat or dog.   

Dogs and their unyielding loyalty to their human friends

There are many stories of dogs who were so loyal that they stood vigil for years after their master’s death.  Here are the stories of most of the well-known loyal dogs in history 


The Faithful Dog from Japan. Achiko, an Akita, was adopted as a puppy by Aizaburo Ueno, a Tokyo university professor, who treated him with much love. Hachi accompanied his owner to the Shibuya train station every morning, and returned to the station in time to greet his owner in the afternoon.  When Hachi was only 2 years old, his owner suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at work and died. Hachi waited for him at the train station that afternoon, but his owner never came.  Over the next 10 years, until his death, Hachi went to the train station every morning and afternoon, precisely when the train was due to arrive, waiting in vain for his beloved owner. Eventually Hachi’s story became famous in Japan, and he received many visitors from all over the world at the train station until he died in 1935.  A statue of Hachiko was placed in front of the Shibuya train station as a reminder of the dog who never gave up.

Capitan, the loyal dog from Argentina, went missing and was found a few days later, far from home, at the cemetery, lying next to his owner’s grave.  His owner Miguel has passed away at the hospital, and Capitan had never been to the cemetery before.  Remarkably, Capitan found his own way to the cemetery where his beloved owner was put to rest. The funeral director saw Capitan first arrive alone, and he recounts that the dog did a few laps around the cemetery until he found his owner’s grave, and laid beside it  He continued to visit his old master’s grave every day for 6 years.

Cicco, the loyal Italian German Sheppard accompanied his owner everywhere, even to church every day. When Cicco’s owner Maria passed away, he followed the coffin as it was carried inside the same church; and every day after, during mass, Cicco was there paying respect to his beloved human friend, and was allowed to sit beneath the altar near the priest.

Dogs feel very strong ties to their human families, we are everything to them. They rely on us for food, shelter, love and attention, as well as proper care.  When you care for your dog, they will repay you with their unwavering loyalty, and they will protect you, over their own safety.

Things you can do to 

better care for your dog:

 • Protect your dog from diseases such as the Canine Parvovirus, distemper and Influenza by vaccinating them as puppies when they are 10 weeks old, and again at 14 weeks old, when they are most vulnerable to these deadly diseases.

• Help your dogs be free of worms, ticks and fleas, by giving them the right medication against those pests.  These pests can make your dog very sick, and a few simple remedies given to your dog regularly can make the world of difference to their well-being.

 • Have your dog de-sexed as early as 3 months old. Prevent unwanted pregnancies that result in more unwanted dogs roaming the streets.  When de-sexed, your dog will be less likely to stray away from home and attract wanted dogs to your home.

 • Keep your dog inside your property to prevent roaming, getting injured by vehicles or people, or causing bodily harm to others.

 • Give your dog enough food and water every day to be healthy and strong.  Leftovers are ok if they are nutritious and not harmful for your dog. Dogs are omnivores, and need to eat a balanced diet of cooked meat, with carbohydrates, fats and vitamins and minerals.  Grains such as whole oats, rice, potatoes, whole grain bread are choices of carbohydrates. Keep this in mind: a puppy’s nutritional needs are a lot different from an adult dog. He/she needs to get enough nutrients to fuel a speedy growth. A puppy 3-6 months old needs 3 meals a day. Feed your puppy a soupy mix of cooked fish or chicken with cooked grains or rice, with cooked vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, corn. DO NOT give your dog salt, onions and garlic. 

• Do not feed your dogs these foods as they will make them sick: chocolate, salt, avocados, garlic, onion, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, alcohol, soda, coffee. 

• It’s a good idea to regularly supplement your dog’s diet with fresh uncooked bones to chew on, the meat around the bone provides additional nutrition, and chewing on the bones helps keep your dog’s teeth clean.

 • Exercise your dog every day, by walking them or playing with them. This will keep them mentally as well as physically fit.  Encourage your children to play outside with the dog, this will make their bond stronger and can also help your child stay fit.

 • Be firm with your dog so that he knows what is expected of him, rules, boundaries and discipline are necessary, but do not hit or physically harm your dog.  “Violence begets violence, aggression begets aggression”. We take the approach that positive reinforcement, where good behavior is rewarded rather than bad behavior being punished, is the best approach.

 • Consult the APS vet clinic for further advice about your dog (22403)

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