Jurong’s ‘Hachiko’ caught, to be re-homed

Jurong’s ‘Hachiko’ caught, to be re-homed (Photo courtesy of Rajaa)
Jurong’s ‘Hachiko’ caught, to be re-homed (Photo courtesy of Rajaa)

The dog that's been catching the imagination of Singaporeans islandwide as the 'Hachiko' of Jurong East for months is set to finally find a new home.

Its new owner if all goes to plan? 36-year-old Jurong resident Kevin Teo.

Teo, along with the owner of Tigrris Pet Services, 42-year-old S. Rajaa Shegarran, caught the homeless labrador at around 5:45am Sunday morning at Block 287 Toh Guan Road .

According to Shegarran, the dog was lying down when he secured it with a net by surprise from behind after a seven-hour search that began on late on Saturday night. The pair were alerted to the dog's whereabouts by helpful members of the public.

The dog will be re-homed with Teo and his wife, who want to take care of the dog. Teo, who works at the National Computer Systems, was involved in helping to track the dog.

The couple, sometimes with other volunteers, took 47 days of many unsuccessful attempts before eventually succeeding.

The collarless labrador, who first made headlines in local forums in May for returning to the same spot in Jurong East day after day to wait for its mystery owner, quickly earned the nickname of "Hachiko" in reference to the dog in 1920s Japan who returned to the exact same spot outside Shibuya station in Tokyo for 10 years to wait for his master even after his death.

The dog became a familiar sight at Jurong East St 31 where Yahoo! Singapore last week reported it was being fed daily by a local newspaper vendor.

To this day, mystery surrounds the dog's actual owner but as it turns out, Shegarran told Yahoo! Singapore that he saw the same dog wandering Block 408 Sin Ming Avenue in February this year, where residents of that area fed it.

Employed by a lady who wanted to adopt the dog at that point in time, Shegarran tried in vain then to catch the dog, which disappeared after two days.

It remains a mystery how the dog found his way from the Sin Ming area to Jurong East.

So far, no-one has owned up to being his owner.

In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore, Teo said he first tried to catch the dog in May and then again tried again unsuccessfully later on.

He eventually decided to engage the services of a professional dog catcher.

Thereafter, Teo and Shegarran would come in the middle of the night, hoping to catch the dog off guard when he was asleep but did not succeed.

Teo said that he had no intention of adopting Jurong's 'Hachiko' when he first saw him. A Jurong resident himself, he monitored his movement for a few weeks before realising the dog's innate intelligence.

According to him, the dog would make his way by himself between Block 345 of Jurong East St 31 and IMM almost every day. He noticed the dog knew how to navigate his way and he walked behind people whenever he wanted to cross the road.

According to Shegarran who presently has custody of the dog, the canine will be sent to a groomer to rid him of ticks. After which, the dog would be sent to a vet for a health check-up before Teo takes him home.