Toby Jungen

June 26, 2008

Jurassic Bark

Long time no post. I was held up doing some redesigns of this site as well being busy with work.

Anyways, the topic of this post is Jurassic Bark. It is an episode of the fantastic cartoon “Futurama” created by Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons. If none of that means anything to you then you’ve been living under a rock.

The episode if viewable online in full here.

For those who don’t know what Futurama is about, it’s about an average guy named Fry who accidentally gets frozen in the year 2000 and is unfrozen in the year 3000, thus permanently trapping him in a bizarre future. This particular episode deals with him finding the fossilized remains of his former dog Seymour. Lots of hijinx ensue, but ultimately the episode ends on a sad note showing how the dog faithfully waited for Fry to come home for the rest of the dog’s life. The episode is by some critics considered one of the most sentimental things ever shown on TV.

So here’s some background on the episode. The idea of such loyalty on behalf of a pet is found in two instances: Greyfriars Bobby and Hachiko. I won’t comment on the former because I feel the latter is more closely fitting to the Futurama episode.

The story is as follows: Hachiko was owned by a Japanese professor who lived near Tokyo and taught at the University in the city. Every day, the professor would leave for work by train, and the dog would see him off. Every evening, when the professor returned, Hachiko would be waiting at the train station for his master to come home.

One day, the professor passed away. The dog came to the train station, but nobody came home. The next day, hopefully, Hachiko again went to the train station to welcome his master home. Again, to no avail. This continued for 10 years - every day, precisely when the evening train was scheduled to arrive, Hachiko would be at the station waiting for his master, until finally the loyal dog died of old age.

Nobody can exactly explain why an animal would do such a thing. I like to think that perhaps the creatures around us are more like us than we give them credit for.