Hatchi: A Dog’s Tale
This little family friendly movie of a faithful dog was based on a true story. The original dog was one in Japan in the 1920’s.
The Disney movie with Richard Gere and Joan Allen was not quite the riveting tale that the movie makers had hoped for.
The chemistry between the two main actors was not convincing, and Joan was shown to be extra ordinarily skinny.
My main concern and criticism of the story was the fact that a dog would be permitted to wander the streets of a town after becoming ownerless, and wait in a public square for nine years.
This “loyalty” to a dead master smacks of stupidity on the dog’s part. Going to the same place every day waiting for something that used to happen but does not ever happen again lends me to believe that this particular dog species was not bred for smarts.
It was highlighted in the movie that this dog, an Akita, was not trainable.
He refused to fetch a ball.
Chasing a moving target is valuable for a predator breed, as it sharpens the hunting instinct and most dogs will chase a thrown ball. This one could not quite get the point of it.
Only in the final scenes of when the master was about to go off to university and collapse in the classroom holding the bright yellow ball, are we treated to the so called moving scene of Hatchi taking the ball to the station.
Well, movies are made to tug at the emotions and convince us that a repetitive action on a dumb animal’s part is somehow touching and laudable.
Instead, I was puzzled. Is that not the definition of insanity? A person repeats the action with no result and always hoping for the desired outcome but never getting it.
So- in a nutshell, man has a pet dog. He lets the dog go with him to the train station every working day. Dog does not play games of fetch. Master dies. Dog goes to the train station to meet his master every day for nine years.
To me that shows that the dog does not recognize death, and comes off as dumb and pitiful.
I know that there are smarter dogs around, as my daughter’s German Shepard/Doberman mix knew what happened when his owner was being carried out to the hearse. He showed sadness in his posture, and knew that he would not see her again.
I wonder if this rigidity of action on the part of the Japanese dog reflects the society? The Japanese were not known for their light hearted easy going society in the 1920’s, as it was an era of absolutes and military ascendance. Or maybe the breed was just not that bright, and the dog had no sense of time or feeling of loss.
The ability to adapt is pretty strong in other canine populations, as shown by the domestication of foxes in the famous Russian breeding experiment.
A hunting dog needs to be flexible and trainable to survive. He needs to be able to learn new things, and some dogs are amazing in their capabilities to detect disease, find hidden drugs, and dead bodies.
This Japanese dog sort of was in a set pattern from which he could not escape or change, and the story left me with a disappointing feeling that I was being fed a bunch of baloney. In the end, who cares? So a dog was “faithful” and lauded as a hero. Pretty ridiculous when you think of it.
Give me a scrappy little watchdog that will wake everybody up if the house is on fire and the smoke detectors broken.
Moping around for nine years shows utter uselessness.