Thursday, May 6, 2010


Tonight Jasper and I shared a very special experience. I have been wanting to see the film Hachi: A Dog's Tale ever since I first heard about it, so tonight, I rented it. It's a very sweet little film about a dog who waits at the train station for his owner to come home from work each day. After the owner dies, the dog continues to wait - for another nine years. It's actually based on the story of the true Hachi, who lived in Japan (and did the exact same thing).

Normally, Jasper prefers to play or chew on a bone when I watch movies. He'll come up in my lap for cuddles, but he generally shows no interest in what is on the TV. There are a few exceptions: he gets upset if he hears shooting or knocking on doors on TV, and there was an actor awhile back (the name escapes me at the moment) whom Jasper took a definite dislike to (he spent that entire film growling at the actor). Generally, however, my dog is not a cinema buff.

This film was different. I lit several candles, just because I like them, and their gentle aroma and flickering light lent a very special ambiance to the film. I was snuggled up on the couch with a few pillows, getting ready to hit "play" when Jasper decided to join me. Naturally, his favorite toy, a disgusting and raggedy stuffed mouse (at least, I think it's a mouse) had to join us as well, along with the tire toy that Jasper picked out at Petsmart a few weeks ago. For the entire film, Jasper snuggled with his toys and me, and actually watched the film! His ears perked up and twitched whenever the dog was on camera - in particular, Jasper seemed very interested in the scenes where people were throwing a ball for the dog and in the scenes when the dog was just a puppy.

The film is quite sad at the end, though not in a heartbreaking way - rather, it's a warm, touching sort of sadness. Since I'm a sap, I of course started crying. Jasper turned those large, chocolate-drop eyes of his on me and regarded me patiently for a moment. Then he licked my hand and buried his head in my chest - as if to say, "Don't cry, Mom - you've always got me!" I think Jasper actually understood the film!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"