The Story of Vaguito, the Peruvian Hachiko

The Story of Vaguito, the Peruvian Hachiko
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 11 January, 2023

We all know the sad story of Hachiko, the Japanese Akita dog who waited for Professor Hidesaburō Ueno every day at Shibuya station, even though he’d been dead for nine years. The bond created between the two had been extremely intense, full of affection and complicity.

Every day, Hachiko waited for his owner at the railway station in the city of Odate. That was until May 21, 1925, when the professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo suffered a stroke. That afternoon, like every other day, Hachiko, went to meet his adoptive father, but to no avail. He never appeared again. However, the animal remained there for almost a decade, faithful and sad, maintaining a cast iron hope that deeply moved everyone who heard the story.

In the end, when the Akita passed away, a bronze figure was erected in his honor at the station. His story was made into a movie. Over time, hundreds of stories have shared similar heartbreaking scenes where a dog waits for someone who no longer exists. The most recent Hachiko lives in Lima and involves a really touching story. No one can remain unmoved when they hear it.

Every day, Vaguito goes to the coast of Punta Negra, in Lima, Peru, waiting for the return of his owner, a sailor who died six years ago.

vaguito
Dogs also suffer the losses of their owners and experience grief.

Vaguito, the dog that waits by the sea

Every day, Vaguito waits for his owner to appear on the beach after a long day fishing at sea. He’s an adult dog, with an intelligent look, but you only have to look at him for a few seconds to sense his sadness and bewilderment. He doesn’t understand why the person who used to scratch his head, say nice words to him, and take him home every evening no longer meets him as he used to.

The owner of Vaguito was taken by the sea. He died years ago when fishing, the kind of work in which life is always at the mercy of the inclemencies of the vast ocean. Vaguito still wears his owner’s necklace and scarf, and still keeps in his heart the love he professed for his owner who, not so long ago, adopted him and gave him his affection.

It was Jolie Mejía who became interested in this dog. She was walking along the Punta Negra beach in Lima, Peru when she came across him. His solitude and concentrated attitude caught her attention. Indeed, he was looking at the sea like someone waiting and hoping for the return of someone they love. And so he was. When this woman found out about his story from the locals, she posted it on social media.

Within a few hours, Vaguito’s image went viral.

Everyone takes care of the dog that waits for his owner

Those who frequently visit Punta Negra beach see Vaguito as a part of the landscape. Sometimes, he lies down on the sand, other times he stands to attention, with his gaze fixed on the emptiness of the horizon. He waits and despairs. No one can make him understand that his owner has passed away, but everyone tries their best to take care of him.

They feed him, give him shelter, stroke him, and even get him veterinary assistance when he needs it. He isn’t alone, many people care for him every day. However, this animal with his unwavering loyalty and sad expression longs for the presence and company of a single being. Someone who’ll never return to his side.

The bond built between dogs and human beings was established centuries ago. It’s a link that’s a part of our own evolution.

woman with dog
Dogs, like us, are social creatures that form strong emotional bonds with those they feel safe with.

The loyalty of dogs toward humans

Vaguito can’t grieve for his owner because he simply doesn’t know that his adoptive father passed away a long time ago. Undoubtedly, he’ll continue to wait for the figure with whom he established such a significant emotional bond. His loyalty, like that of Hachiko and many other dogs, is a clear sign of the social character and bonding capacity of these animals.

As human beings, our alliance with dogs goes back throughout our evolutionary past. These hunting companions and protectors of their social groups were the first animals we tamed. They’re pack animals which explains their loyalty. It’s a psycho-emotional anchorage from which they can’t easily escape.

An investigation conducted by the Uppsala University of Veterinary Medicine (Sweden) speaks of the bond between humans and dogs as an emotional imprint built through interaction, shared time, and mutual care. In addition, we can’t forget that animals work via routines, and it’s those habits that configure the imprint of their alliances and affection.

Hachiko walked to the station every day to meet his owner. Vaguito goes to the beach every day to meet his human companion. These customs became established in both dogs’ brains and configured their existence with attachment figures who, suddenly, fate snatched away.

This adorable dog from Lima is likely to be on the beach for years, watching the horizon. His figure, his story, and his sadness, once again demonstrate the capacity of animals to love.

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