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 愛情ゆえの「忠犬」

 忠犬といえば、映画にもなった忠犬ハチ公が最も有名だが、「忠犬」と呼ばれたハチ公について長い間、引っかかるものがあった。ハチ公は、上野英三郎博士亡き後、帰らぬ博士を待ちながら渋谷駅の改札口前に、真夏も真冬も座り続けたことで知られる。そのいじらしく、けなげな姿が「忠犬」と評された。それを「忠犬」というのだろうか、とハチ公の古里、大館に住みつつ疑問に思い続けた。忠犬というのは、身を挺して主人の命を救ったりする犬こそが、そう呼ばれて然るべきではないかと。

 その疑問は今も心のどこかでちりちりと消えずにいるのだが、そんな折、大館市に本社を置く地方紙が2004年8月、興味深い記事を掲載した。同市内で飼われている2歳半の秋田犬(オス)が、迫り来る車に体当たりして飼い主の命を救ったというのである。要点をかいつまんでみると、こうなる。2003年10月29日夕方のこと。同市花岡町に住むYさん(当時73歳)は、1歳8カ月だった琥珀(こはく)号と、小型犬の2頭をつれて散歩をしようと自宅前の横断歩道を渡りかけたところ、左側から乗用車が突っ込んできた。

 小型犬は一目散に逃げたが、秋田犬の琥珀は吠えながら車に体当たりしたという。車にはね飛ばされたYさんは意識を失い、頭部外傷や首の捻挫、腰の打撲などで病院に運ばれた。同時に琥珀もはね飛ばされたが、奇跡的に無傷だった。琥珀がとっさに車と主人との間でクッションの役割を果たしてくれたおかげで、Yさんは軽傷で済んだ。命を救ってくれた琥珀に、Yさんは主人を思うハチ公の姿を重ね合わせたという。

 その小型犬のように、主人もそっちのけで逃げ出してしまうのが犬の本来の姿なのか。あるいは、琥珀のように危険をかえりみず、主人を護ろうとするのが本来の姿なのか。もちろんこれは、犬個々によって異なるであろう。雑種だから劣っていることは当然なかろうし、雑種が主人の命を救ったというニュースは時おり耳にする。

 関心を誘うのは、とっさの行動に出たとき、琥珀は何を思ってそうしたのかという点。文字どおり、とっさのことなので何も考えずに自然と体が動いたのかも知れない。70を過ぎていたYさんは、琥珀との散歩が体力的にきつくなり手放すことも考えていたが、10歳(当時)になる孫の反対で飼い続け、結果的に命を救われた。無論推測の域を出ないが、手元に置きたくないがゆえに琥珀を粗末に扱っていたとしたら、琥珀は身を挺して車に体当たりなどしなかったのではないか。Yさんが限りない愛情を注ぎ続けたからこそ、琥珀は主人であるYさんを護らなくては、と瞬時に判断したのではないか。つまり、Yさんの愛情ゆえに琥珀は「忠犬」になり得たのではないか。

 上野博士を出迎えるために渋谷駅の改札口前で待ち続けたハチ公は、何度も野犬狩りに捕獲されたという。野犬狩りの担当者は保健所などの行政職員で、彼らはハチ公を捕獲する際に、「あの馬鹿犬、またいるよ」と悪態をついたかも知れない。そうなると、ハチ公は「忠犬」どころか「飼い主がもういないことも自覚できぬ愚かな犬」との見方も可能だ。とどのつまり、どう解釈するかによって、その犬に対する評価はまったく違ってくるのではなかろうか。純粋な眼で見れば、ハチ公の行動はやはり「美談」となり、飼い主に忠実だった「忠犬」と評価できる。また、琥珀も主人の命を救った「忠犬」といえる。いずれも「忠犬」だが、その根底にはそれぞれの飼い主の限りない愛情があった、との解釈が最もふさわしいのではないかと思える。

 大館市のあるベテランオーナーが、こんな話をしてくれた。4、5頭の秋田犬を引き連れて山に入ったところ、10数頭もの野犬が現れ、オーナーや秋田犬たちに襲いかかろうとした。その時、秋田犬たちは主人を護るべく野犬の群れと闘い、ことごとく駆逐したという。長時間にわたる"激闘"だったが、オーナーは傷一つ負わなかった。これも、秋田犬が飼い主の命を救った一例である。秋田犬は、マタギ(熊獲りの猟師)の供(とも)をしていた時代があり、主人を護るべく熊と闘うこともあったろう。秋田犬にはまぎれもなく野性の血が残っており、琥珀が熊に立ち向かうようにして車に体当たりしたとしても不思議ではない。

 また、こんな話もあった。ベテランオーナーがやはり4、5頭を雪原で運動させていたとき、滑って転倒した。少しの間、起き上がれずにいたところ、秋田犬たちは心配そうな顔でオーナーの周りを規則正しく回り続けたという。そうした行動から察するに、秋田犬の中には主人を慕う心が存在する。家族の一員だった大切な秋田犬が亡くなった後、当クラブに秋田犬の譲渡を依頼する皆さんのほとんどがこう語る。「秋田犬以外、迎える気がしません」と。それは、秋田犬が自分たち家族にかけがえのないものを与えてくれたことを、飼育者の皆さんが強く記憶しているからではないか。つまりは、それぞれの秋田犬はそれぞれの家族にとって、皆「忠犬」なのである。ハチ公が「忠犬」だったのと、何ら変わることなく。

 

"Faithful dog" because of the love
It was translated by translation's web site. So it isn't right translation. We are sorry.
We hope the essay's meaning will spread you however few.

The faithful Akita dog "Hachiko" which became the movie is the most famous. But, speaking of a faithful dog, there was a thing caught about Hachiko called "the faithful dog" for a long time. Hachiko is known after death of Dr. Eizaburo Ueno in front of a wicket of Shibuya Station while waiting for the doctor who does not return by having continued sitting down in both midsummer and the depth of winters. The touching and an admirable figure was described as "a faithful dog". I continued thinking of it in a question while living in hometown of Hachiko, Odate with "a faithful dog". Should the dog which the faithful dog risks its life, and relieves a life of the master be called so? The question does not still fade away sizzlingly somewhere of my heart.

A local news paper which put the head office in Odate city such an occasion placed an interesting article in August, 2004. It is to hurl itself at the car which an Akita (male) of the 2 years old and a half kept in the city approaches, and comes, and to have saved the life of the owner. It can happen when I summarize the main point. It is the evening of October 29, 2003. After being about to cross the pedestrian crossing in front of the home to take a walk with amber (amber) which was 1 year, 8 months old and two of the small dog, a car shoved Y (73 years old) who lived in city Hanaoka town from the left side.

The small dog escaped in at full speed, but it is said that the amber of the Akita threw itself into a car while barking. Y knocked down by a car lost consciousness and was carried to the hospital by a head injury and the sprain of the neck, the blow of the waist. The amber was splashed at the same time, too, but was unhurt miraculously. Y got off with a slight wound because amber played a role as the cushion between a car and the master at once. It is said that Y superimposed a figure of Hachiko yearning for the master on the amber which relieved a life.
Like the small dog, is neglect his master that it is the original figure of the dog to run away? Or is it an original figure regardless of danger like amber to be going to protect the master? Of course this will vary according to a dog individual. Because it is a mongrel, naturally there will not be that I am inferior and occasionally hears the news that a mongrel saved a life of the master.

A point whether the amber thought of what as for provoking interest when you went for a momentary action and did so. Nature and a body might move without thinking about anything literally because it was emergency. A walk with the amber became physically hard, and Y who was over 70 thought about parting, but I continued keeping 10 years old by the objection of the grandchild that it became, and, as a result, a life was saved. Of course, it was not over the level of the guess, but the amber risked its life and might not hurl myself at a car if I sold amber rudely because I did not want to put it at hand. I might judge the amber to have to protect Y who was the master instantly simply because Y continued pouring limitless love. In other words the amber might become "the faithful dog" because of love of Y.

It is said that Hachiko which waited on in front of a wicket of Shibuya Station to meet Dr. Ueno was captured many times by rounding up stray dogs. The person in charge of the rounding up stray dogs was a member of administrative occupation such as public health centers, and they might curse when they captured Hachiko when "there was that stupid dog again". Then, as for Hachiko, the viewpoint with "the stupid dog which cannot be aware that there is not an owner anymore" is possible let alone "a faithful dog". End-all, how are the evaluations for the dog not different at all whether you interpret it? After all it becomes "a beautiful story" and can evaluate the action of Hachiko with "the faithful dog" which was faithful to an owner if I look with pure eyes. In addition, the amber can be called "the faithful dog" which relieved a life of the master. "It is a faithful dog," but thinks all that interpretation that there was the limitless love of each owner may deserve to be the root most.

Owner veteran with Odate city had such a talk. After taking four or five Akitas, and entering the mountain, the stray dog of 10 several appeared and was going to attack an owner and Akitas. The Akitas fight against the group of the stray dog in order to protect the master, and it is said that I all expelled it then. It was "fierce battle" for the long time, but the owner did not bear one wound. This is example that an Akita relieved the life of the owner. There are the times when I worked as an attendant of "Matagi" (hunter of the bear collecting), and the Akita may fight against a bear in order to protect the master. Wild blood is obviously left to the Akita and is not mysterious even if I threw myself into a car as if amber confronting a bear.

In addition, there was such a story, too. When owner veteran let after all four or five of them exercise in a snowy field, I slipped and fell down. After not being able to get up while there is few it, it is said that the Akitas continued turning around with a worried face around an owner regularly. A heart to love the master exists in the Akita if I sympathize from such an action. After the important Akita which was the member of the family died, the most of everybody who asks our club for the transfer of the Akita talk in this way. When, other than "an Akita, I do not feel like meeting you." It may be because it is strong, and breeders memorizes that an Akita gave all in all to a oneself family. In other words each Akita "is that everybody is a faithful dog" for each family. Without changing with Hachiko "having been a faithful dog" at all.

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