The "movie" dog effect


There is a new movie coming out soon with Richard Gere that is a remake of the story of Hachi Ko. For those that are unfamiliar, Hachi-Ko was an akita in Japan that faithfully went to the train station every morning to see his master off, and every afternoon was there to meet the train when he came home. Unfortunantly his master passed away while at work one day and never came home again. For the next 10 years Hachi Ko went to the station looking for his master until he passed away there himself. They have even erected a statue at the station to memorialize his faithfulness. The photo I have included is of the dog star in the movie, an akita named Forrest, giving pawprint autographs to raise money for akita rescue at an event.

As an akita owner I am interested to see what they have done with the story. And it doesn't hurt to know Richard Gere will be included. He cerainly is easy on the eyes. I have a copy of the original movie in Japanese with english subtitles and it is wonderful. (Well considering no one took the dog in to live after his owners passing, another topic entirely.) However as a rescue person involved in the breed I cringe to think what this may do for them. Most Akitas simply aren't the breed for just anyone. I'm sure every akita rescue is geearing up mentally as well.

The trouble with stories like this is that I believe it presents an unrealistic portrayal to the average owner. Yes some dogs can be loyal beyond the average, but to paint a whole breed as exceptional because of one individual just seems unfair to the real dogs out there.

It isn't just this movie, there are many other examples along the way as well. Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Petey, Eddie, Benji, Wishbone and Yellow Dog also come to mind just to name a few. People forget that those dogs are trained actors to act a certain way for their roles. They are not automaticly so. Sure there have been other examples, like Beethoven, Hooch,and now Marley as the opposite picture of dogs and their behavior. However as movie dogs it is "cute" to see their misbehavior and antics. And no one ever gives the dog over to a shelter for bad behavior in those movies do they?

It made me wonder, is part of the reason some owners have seemingly unrealistic expectations because of what they see on TV and in movies? What do you think, food for thought?