WCBT Pet Memorial Service, February 1999

by Rev. Ken Kawawata

On February 21, we observed a Memorial Service for the pets we had lost this year. I know that you really loved your pets and took care of them. And now you still remember them. That is why you brought their pictures to observe this memorial service. They were your good friends.

Eric Okune's pet turtle

Kevin Kawawata's many pets
Animals don't speak but they can be your good friends. They can also be good family members. You get to know your pets so well, you can guess what they want. When your dog barks, you guess that he is hungry or wants play with you. When my dog barks, she wants food or wants to go out for a walk or to play. When I pet her, she looks so happy. We know what they want and what they feel because we share the same life. Animals cannot express their feelings and thoughts in human language, but we can understand each other.
Some people treat their pets much better than people. There is a real story about Faithful dog called Hachi-ko in Japan. Hachi-ko was an Akita dog who belonged to a professor. Every day Hachi-ko would walk to the train station to see his owner off on his way to the university. Every evening, at the same time Hachi-ko would go to the train station and wait for his master to come home. Even if it was raining or snowing Hachi-ko was always at the train station.

Wesley Kawaguchi's pet dog, "Mozart"

Kevin Maekawa's pet fish(es)
When the professor passed away Hachi-ko continued to wait for his master to come home every night. He would wait until the last train came and left every night. He did not know his master died. Hachi-ko continued to wait for his master at the station every evening until he died.

After Hach-ko died, the station officer and people who took the train from this station remembered this faithful dog. They made a statue of Hachi-ko in front of the train station in memory of him and his faithfulness to his master. If you go to the Shibuya Station in Tokyo, Japan, you can see the statue of Hachi-ko.

This story tells us that we can have a real love and trust with our animal friends. The lives of animals give us teaching that Buddha taught us.

The Pledge (Kokun) says, "We will all be friendly to everyone." "Everyone" doesn't mean just people. It includes other lives too. The Golden Chain also says, "I will try to be kind and gentle to every living thing, and protect all who are weaker than my self." We have to try to live harmoniously with all lives. Through your memories of your pets, please think about the importance of life, love and trust.

Brandon Kawaguchi's pet dog, "Maddie