Chinese netizens invoke Richard Gere film ‘Hachi’ after dog travels 40km to search for dead owner

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A dog travelled 40km to home to live the life he had before his owner died (Screengrab/Douyin)
A dog travelled 40km to home to live the life he had before his owner died (Screengrab/Douyin)

The story of a local dog in China who travelled almost 40km to his original home in search for his first owner has invited comparisons to the Richard Gere film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale by social media users.

The owner of the eight-year-old dog, named Big Yellow, had died around the Chinese Lunar New Year in 2021 after which he was adopted by the owner’s son.

The dog apparently “sneaked out and returned to the village [where his owner lived] after about a week,” according to a post shared on Chinese social media platform Douyin by a woman identified only by her surname, Li.

The post also had a video of the dog and soon went viral, after which users commented on the incident and likened it to the Richard Gere film, that was based on the true story of a dog named Hachiko, who waited for his dead owner for nine years.

“Perhaps he does not understand what death means and why the person who loved him the most is no longer with him,” Ms Li said in the Douyin video.

The son of the first owner who had taken him to his own village decided to let the dog stay in his late father’s village.

South China Morning Post reported that the dog now wanders the streets of the village in search of his original owner and spends hours in front of the house waiting for his owner to return.

“I did not expect Big Yellow’s story to go viral. I just casually took the video because I love dogs,” Ms Li was quoted as saying.

In the Douyin video, Ms Li also said neighbours bring him food to honour his loyalty. The son of Big Yellow’s owner also occasionally visits him in the village to see how he is doing.

“He has been well cared for in the village, where most of the residents are elderly. Few outsiders come to visit. Many families have dogs and let them run around the village,” Ms Li said.

Several social media users shared their own stories about the loyalty of dogs.

“This dog has lost everything. All the dog wants to do is wait for his owner to return,” one user commented.

Another said: “He reminded me of my aunt’s dog, who was distraught when my aunt died and accompanied her by the coffin for a few days without eating and drinking.”

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