As a dog lover, one of the first things I did when I arrived in Tokyo was head to Shibuya and visit the Hachiko statue just outside the station.

The story of Hachiko, a dog who waited for his owner on the same spot even after his master passed away, has won the hearts of dog lovers around the world and I was definitely one of them.

There were so many people at the statue, and it made me think about how human fondness for dogs is largely universal. Indeed, a recent study found that dogs are humans’ oldest companions. It’s not hard to think of reasons why this is true. A dog’s unlimited love and loyalty will win over almost anyone, but I have to say, speaking from personal experience, the relationship takes on greater significance when you also rely on your dog for mobility and independence.