Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Hachi Ko" the movie - a problem for the breed?

I nicked this article/mission off another site (which I now can't find). Having said that I so totally agree - with SOME of what she says. This movie is going to have people running out in DROVES to acquire a loyal and noble Akita, like the nice doggie in the movie. This will only serve to send even more Akita's into the already over flowing rescues and shelters nationwide. Please spread the word. AKITAS ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE!!!!.

The story of Hachi Ko, though amazing and totally understandable among Akita owners, will send the wrong message - everyone is going to want an Akita, every pet shop is going to be over flowing with sweet (puppy mill) Akita puppies. And what's going to happen when those sweet lovely puppies grow up and don't magically turn into Hachi Ko of movie fame - right they'll be dumped, abandoned and likely killed.

The article below has some very good ideas, although I do not agree that this is a forum to promote the breed, however it is a place to start to make people understand that dogs are not just born loyal and obedient. The owner is key in how the dog turns out.

As a matter of fact I don't agree with much about this article, it worries me. On one hand I agree people need education, but truely if I go stand out front with my beautiful well trained Akitas, people will naturally think that ALL Akitas are like mine - or actually are born like mine. Now the fact is they can be - I have put substantial time and effort into these wonderful beings that I share my life with. They are a major committment in my life.

No, I don't think it is a time to promote Akitas to the impulse dog buying public. And worse - rescue Akitas to people who know nothing of the breed. What is she thinking? To rescue an Akita is a unique and wondeful thing, but it is not for just anyone. YOU MUST KNOW THE BREED to be happy with an Akita in your home! You can't just toss them out in the yard and expect them to train themselves. No, there is a commitment here that must be made, no matter what the breed.

Nope, I don't like it at all. This movie is going to cause SUCH problems for this magnificent breed. Sigh.

So read on but know that I am printing this because I disagree with a lot of what is said here although there is alot I do agree with as well - yes educate, but don't promote the breed. You're well trained Akita could spawn many untrained and homeless Akitas purely by being the fabulous pets that YOUR committment has helped them to be.

"Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to help educate our movie going public. Your deadline for the mission is December 18th. Your countdown begins now. While this current mission is targeting those who may be interested in a specific breed, it benefits anyone considering a dog. How? Because it helps to educate people about the need for breed research BEFORE getting a dog "just like the one they saw" in a movie. This in turn hopefully helps cut down on the amount of mismatched dogs to owners. Not every breed of dog is right for every home after all. What might be the best match for you may be a nightmare for your best friend and vice versa.

The steps for this mission are simple.

1) Go to this website and download and print a copy of the file "Is the Akita the right dog for you?"

2) Take the handout to your local Staples store and make a bajillion copies.

3) Take the bajillioon copies to your local movie theaters on December 17th and ask if they will share them with every ticket buyer to the movie "Hachi".

4) If you have a blog please consider passing this information on. All agents need to be activated for this one my friends.

The advanced agents, and you know who you are, may even stay to pass out the handouts personally or set up a booth at the theater (with permission of course) showing off their own well trained akita or shiba. (shibas are also featured in the movie as they used some of them in place of the akita as a puppy. Here is a link to "Is the Shiba for you" to add to the flip side of your handout: ) You can even go to your areas Akita rescue website and print off a list of Akitas needing homes to add to a poster.

A "dogs in movies" set up with other breed information for those who are extra creative to leave at the theater is also an idea. This isn't the first breed this has happened to, nor will it be the last. It is also a great opportunity to reach alot of people about positive training for trainers who want to participate with their own trained dogs. Have a pile of handouts on the akita/shiba and another on positive training. The ones we can't reach with the breed info will certainly need the training info later.

The mission is an important one. It may be met with resistance. A back up plan my be required. Consider recruiting your local pet supply stores. They may agree to passing out handouts if your theater won't participate or be willing to host a breed education table. Posters are also welcome in the fight. Ask the local theater for copies of the movie poster, take it for display to your local pet supply store, and add the akita handout. Or your local shelter would like to be involved. It never hurts to ask.

Check out the Hachi movie trailer here:

I want to thank all the DEAR members (dog education action responders) for their participation in this mission. (Psst - that's you dear reader) I look forward to all feedback. Got any other ideas to help us in this endeavor? Share them with me in the comments section.

(The photo is of the real Hachi Ko, the akita the movie is based on. Originally a Japanese story.) "

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