Mari and Her Three Puppies: A Story of a Shiba Inu’s Selflessness

Unless you live in Japan, you may not know about the movie, “Mari and Her Three Puppies,” which recounts the true story about a Shiba Inu and her loyalty to her human family and her new born pups. This movie shows why a Shiba Inu, known for its independence, can be counted on in times of need. If you see the movie, the adjectives, “devoted” and “selflessness” will quickly be imprinted on your mind. Click on this link to see the trailer to the movie. Watching the film is another reason to love the Shiba and its one-of-a-kind personality.

The true story of Mari begins with one of the deadliest tremors to hit Japan since 1995. The Heisei 16 Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake in 2004 injured 3,000 people and killed 40. Many those who were rescued or who were found were trapped beneath collapsed buildings.

A Short Synopsis of the Story

The three strongest quakes happened just under 40 minutes with epicenters covering Ojiva City, Hirokami, and the village of Yamakoshi, located in the Niigata Prefecture. An elderly man in Yamakoshi, who was trapped beneath a cabinet, was cared for and saved by his Shiba Inu, Mari, who also cared for her three puppies at the same time. Eventually, the man was able to get out from under the rubble and was safely evacuated by helicopter.

Mari and her puppies could not accompany her owner, as rescuers placed a priority on saving humans first. However, the owners did return after two weeks and found a still-alive Mari, albeit gaunt, taking care of her well-fed and plump pups. Still, this brief synopsis does not offer the full detailed account of the movie, Mari and Her Three Puppies.

How the Movie Plays Out

In the movie, the household is comprised of a grandfather, his son, and the son’s children – a boy and a girl. The little girl and boy discover Mari, abandoned and lost, who wants to follow them home. However, there is one problem – the father is afraid of dogs. Nevertheless, the father relents and takes Mari into his home when the little girl asks for a puppy for her birthday.

Eventually, the dog has puppies, then the earthquake hits, trapping the grandfather and girl in the wreckage and debris. Mari watches over the pair as well as her own puppies until she finds Jietai (Japanese Self-Defense Force military) rescue workers, who help the girl and her grandfather and helicopter them away from the scene.

As the helicopter flies over the countryside, the girl sees her beloved dog running to try to keep up with the machine. In the end, everything turns out alright, but you will feel lumps forming in your throat as you try to hold back the tears.

While you get the premise of the film, and hopefully you won’t be disappointed by the telling of this story, seeing the footage makes you realize how dogs, like the Shiba Inu, enrich our lives. Although the movie strays a bit from the truth, it still makes it point.

She Refused to Give Up

According to the Chinese Zodiac, people born in the year of the dog are loyal, selfless, and honest – much like a Shiba Inu, but they can also be critical and stubborn, again – like a Shiba Inu. These contrasting traits may confuse some Shiba parents at first. However, Mari’s perseverance may have been marked by a certain degree of stubbornness. She refused to give up.

Other Positive Qualities

Let’s look at some more of the positive traits that make Shiba Inus stand out:

Perceptiveness. Shiba Inus are highly perceptive, which make them good guard dogs. For example, one Shiba owner reported that his dog kept nudging him to follow him. When he finally did, his Shiba led him to the gate of his fence. At first perplexed, the owner took a closer look at the latch on the gate. Someone had broken it! Thanks to his Shiba Inu, the owner upgraded the security entrance to his home.

Playful. Shiba Inus are a good companion dog, as they love to play with their human owners. That is why they bring a sense of fun and joviality into a living space.

Protective. According to the Chinese, a dog is lucky to have as a canine companion because he makes a household more peaceful. This is certainly true of the Shiba Inu, whose defensive nature adds a sense of calm and harmony inside a home.

Cooperative. The Shiba, while independent, is also cooperative. The dog places the needs of its owners or own offspring ahead of its own needs. This makes it generous, hardworking, and considerate.

Another Movies that Features Shiba Inus

Another movie, closer to home, that features a Shiba Inu, is the 2008 film, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. This story, which is also based on a true account, stars Richard Gere and Joan Allen. Film producers used Shiba puppies to play the dog Hachiko as a puppy. Three Akitas were used to play the adult dog in the film. Here is the link to the trailer for “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.”

Indeed, Shibas have a special place in the heart of Shiba parents and dog lovers alike. The above films provide a great way to truly appreciate the specialness that dogs, like the Shiba Inu, lend to a person’s life.

So, What Do You Think?

Do you have a favorite Shiba Inu movie you would like to share? Have you watched either of the two movies above? If so, what did you think? What do you think about the trailers? Do you have a heartwarming story about a Shiba Inu to share?

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