Maybe it’s the recent death of Spinner the cat that’s gotten to me, and maybe it’s that my dratted dog person gene has recently become activated, but it’s getting so I can’t see anything to do with dogs without reaching for the kleenex.

Last night I wandered into the den while the kids were watching Futurama. Specifically, the Jurassic Bark episode, in which Fry attempts to clone his 20th century beloved dog Seymour after discovering that the petrified pup is on display in a museum as part of an exhibit of an “Old New York” pizza parlor. I was just fine until the ending, at which point (spoiler warning to the three of you out there who have never seen this episode) Fry shrugs and assumes that Seymour just forgot about him after Fry was accidentally frozen.

Ah, but no. Dogs don’t do this, now, do they? No, instead–as the show’s closing footage demonstrates, Seymour does wait, forever. Frame after frame of the brokenhearted critter soldiering bravely on, reliving his moments with Fry, training his sad puppy eyes on the places they went together, the people they knew, the pizza parlor where they had their good times. As if that’s not enough, the pathos is sharply underscored by the music–“I Will Wait for You.”*

I’m telling you, I’ve seen this show half a dozen times before, but that was when I was a cat person. Now all it takes is a cheesy cartoon dog, and, to quote Salinger, I’m a goddamn puddle of tears.

See? See?

Then this morning I find this story among the other cheerful morning news. For six weeks after its owner’s suicide out in the grasslands north of Denver, Cash, a loyal German Shepherd (actually, “loyal German Shepherd” may be redundant) stood guard over her master’s body, surviving, apparently, on mice and rabbits. You’ll be relieved to hear that she has been reunited with the man’s family, including a 2-year old who is devoted to the dog. But . . . oy. I love my cat truly madly deeply, but would Nemo do this for one of us? Huh. Maybe until dinnertime.

There are many tales like this one. Scotland has its revered Greyfriar’s Bobby, who spent 14 years sleeping, in all kinds of weather (which says a lot, given that this was Scotland), on the grave of his deceased owner in Greyfriar’s churchyard. Bobby not only has his own web site, but is also the subject of a 1961 film. More recently, but no less intrepidly, Heidi carried on her countrydogs’ tradition when her owner died after a fall during a hike.

Japan has its own loyal dog, Hachiko, an akita who turned up every evening outside of Shibuya station to meet his owner when he came home from work. The owner died in 1925, but Hachiko continued to show up at the station every night at precisely the same time until his own death in 1935. Here’s Hachiko (copyright, Wikimedia Commons):

And here’s a rather macabre memorial to him, the dog himself, stuffed and displayed at the National Museum of Nature and Science, in Ueno, Japan.

But here’s his most famous memorial, a statue erected in Shibuya as a tribute to the faithful dog.

I rather like the statue better, and I love that it’s now a famous landmark and gathering place for people who are meeting in the busy area. When I finally get to visit Japan (one of these days), I’ll make a pilgrimage to Hachiko’s statue.

And I’ll bring my kleenex.

*Note to the YouTube commenter who wondered whether the folks who make Futurama had written that great song just for this episode . . . um. No. Check out brilliant versions by Lena Horne and Astrud Gilberto. This guy (you may have heard of him?) also manages to muddle his way through it.

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