• Kyodo

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Mame, an Akita breed of dog, will be honored for distinguished service after coming to the rescue of an elderly woman in Senboku, Akita Prefecture, on March 23, police said Wednesday.

The 12-year-old dog alerted its owner of trouble in the distance while they were out for a walk around 1 a.m. The dog had discovered a woman slumped on the side of the road, according to police.

The woman in her 90s was wearing pajamas and unable to give the dog’s owner her name or address. The owner notified staff at a nearby convenience store of the problem and they called emergency personnel, who brought her to a hospital.

The Akita dog and its owner will be given a certificate of appreciation for their efforts on Monday.

Noting that such an honor is rarely given to a dog, police commended Mame for dealing with the situation in an appropriate manner and assisting the elderly lady.

The area around a statue of Hachiko, an Akita dog that lived in the 1920s famed for loyally waiting for his deceased master for years near Shibuya Station in Tokyo, is now a popular meeting spot in the bustling district. Hachiko’s story and the Akita breed gained further global recognition following the release of the U.S. film “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” starring Richard Gere.

Last year, during a ceremony in Moscow attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian Olympic figure skating champion Alina Zagitova received an Akita puppy from a group preserving the breed.

U.S. author and political activist Helen Keller (1880-1968) treasured the companionship of dogs throughout her life, including two Akita dogs that in the 1930s became the first of their kind known to have been brought to the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also received a dog as a gift from the Akita Prefecture governor.

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