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Dhicon_thumb By DogHeirs Team | Jun 2012

When the Japanese embrace a craze they do so with a fervour and extravagance that can baffle outsiders.So while the country’s growing trend for dog ownership might seem innocuous enough, it has spawned an £8 billion-a-year industry that offers adored pooches the sort of over-the-top luxuries usually reserved for the wealthiest humans.Families increasingly regard pets as an alternative to having children – and are lavishing all manner of privileges on them, including dog kimonos, fake fur coats, £1,000 Hermes leather tote bags, £230 designer jeans and even school uniforms.This is no CAT-walk: These pups keep it cool dressed in shades, hats and medallions Canine couture: A dog wearing a sunflower hat and another wearing a smart shirt and tie comboPooch Cassidy: This canine cowboy takes its inspiration from Toy Story's WoodySuch wardrobes are accessorised with nappies, jewellery and designer dog buggies of the type favoured by yummy mummies, all ‘must-have’ items for any image-conscious dog owner. After all, one must look one’s best when travelling to exclusive restaurants where dogs sit on chairs to eat specially prepared organic food that can be shared with their owner.And if such pampering gets too much, there are yoga classes, ‘lotions and potions’ and hot spring resorts to help the frazzled pups destress.Even in death, no expense is spared. A deluxe funeral package with full Buddhist rites and mini-temple can be bought for £7,000.As one observer admits: ‘I’ve seen owners cry more for the loss of their pet than they do for a parent or grandparent, because to many  people their pet is the child they don’t have.’

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From http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2157041...

Description : When the Japanese embrace a craze they do so with a fervour and extravagance that can baffle outsiders.So while the country’s growing trend for dog ownership might seem innocuous enough, it has spawned an £8 billion-a-year industry that offers adored pooches the sort of over-the-top luxuries usually reserved for the wealthiest humans.Families increasingly regard pets as an alternative to having children – and are lavishing all manner of privileges on them, including dog kimonos, fake fur coats, £1,000 Hermes leather tote bags, £230 designer jeans and even school uniforms.This is no CAT-walk: These pups keep it cool dressed in shades, hats and medallions Canine couture: A dog wearing a sunflower hat and another wearing a smart shirt and tie comboPooch Cassidy: This canine cowboy takes its inspiration from Toy Story's WoodySuch wardrobes are accessorised with nappies, jewellery and designer dog buggies of the type favoured by yummy mummies, all ‘must-have’ items for any image-conscious dog owner. After all, one must look one’s best when travelling to exclusive restaurants where dogs sit on chairs to eat specially prepared organic food that can be shared with their owner.And if such pampering gets too much, there are yoga classes, ‘lotions and potions’ and hot spring resorts to help the frazzled pups destress.Even in death, no expense is spared. A deluxe funeral package with full Buddhist rites and mini-temple can be bought for £7,000.As one observer admits: ‘I’ve seen owners cry more for the loss of their pet than they do for a parent or grandparent, because to many  people their pet is the child they don’t have.’

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<p>Pretty much everyone who has visited Japan knows the story of Hachiko, a dog revered for its incredible loyalty to his owner, even long after his master's death.</p>
<p>Now, a museum in Tokyo is showcasing an exhibition of a snapshot of the Akita dog taken immediately after Hachiko's death in 1935.</p>
<p>Measuring 12 centimeters by 16 centimeters, the photograph can be viewed at the Shibuya Folk and Literary Shirane Memorial Museum in Shibuya Ward until July 22 as part of the "Shin Shuzo Shiryoten" (Exhibition of newly stored materials).</p>
<p>As the story goes, the dog, whose name was Hachi, waited at Shibuya Station every day for its owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo, to return from work, and continued to do so for 10 years even after Ueno's death.</p>
<p>According to the museum, Hachiko's daily ritual was reported by The Asahi Shimbun in the early 1930s. As a result, Hachiko became arguably the most famous canine in Japan.</p>
<p>On the morning of March 8, 1935, Hachiko was found dead near Shibuya Station. His body was carried to the station’s baggage room, which had been one of his favorite places. A photo of Hachiko's body was soon taken in the baggage room. It was published in the Yamato Shimbun the next day.</p>
<p>The photo shows not only Hachiko, but also Ueno's wife, Yaeko, and staff members of the station.</p>
<p>One of the staff members, Yoshizo Osawa, gave the photo to his oldest daughter, Nobue Yamaguchi, now 78.</p>
<p>"My father loved dogs," Yamaguchi said. "He told me, 'Hachi came to our station every day and we shared our box lunches with him.'"</p>
<p>A bronze statue of Hachiko in front of Shibuya Station has become a bustling meeting place for people visiting the fashion and entertainment district.</p>
<p>"People in the photo are praying for the repose of Hachi's soul," said Keita Matsui, museum curator. "(From the photo,) we can see how beloved he was in those days."</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.destination360.com/asia/japan/tokyo/images/s/hachiko-statue.jpg" border="0" /><br /><em>Hachiko's statue at Shibuya station</em></p> Tanabe Wakayama Pref. — A dog helping students cross an intersection to get to their school in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, has become a local star.   Follow me: Sunny, a 10-year-old Shiba trained as a crossing guard, helps elementary school students to cross a street outside their school in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, on Friday. KYODO Sunny, a 10-year-old Shiba, stands at a crosswalk outside a nearby elementary school on the first and 15th day of each month with his owner, Koji Nomura, 68.  The dog leads the students across the street while carrying a flag in his mouth instructing drivers to stop. During red lights, the students typically speak to it while waiting for the signal to change.  Nomura, who has been involved in neighborhood watch activities for many years, said he consulted with a dog trainer after wondering if Sunny could become a crossing guard. They started training in April and Sunny debuted earlier this month.  "Sunny is cute," said 10-year-old Shiori Aikawa, a fifth-grader. "I think I am going to cross the street safely because he walks over the street with us."

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