Visitors to this cemetary think they’re seeing a ghost dog – but it’s actually a real-life Hachiko immortalised in marble on its beloved master’s tomb.
The pooch was once the loyal pet of Australian merchant Andrew Duncan who lived in Penang, Malaysia, until he died suddenly aged 43 in 1931.
Just like the famous Japanese dog which waited for its owner, Andrew’s grieving pet used to spend all day and night stretched out on his beloved master’s grave in sweltering heat.
Tragically, the mutt passed away a couple of years later. However, Andrew’s widow, Evelyn, commissioned a hand-carved life-size statue of the dog made from Italian marble, which was shipped from the continent to the yard.
For almost a century, the dog has been laid out on the tomb in the Western Road Cemetery former British outpost of George Town – looking over its master for eternity.
Grave yard caretaker V. Kumar, 31, said: ‘’The story of the dog and its owner was told to me by by father, who was also a caretaker here. The dog loved his master very much and when he passed away, the family ordered a statue.
‘’It is made from Italian marble, the only headstone here. It came over from Italy on a boat. People often mistake it for a real dog.’’
The worker said that superstitious locals have told stories that the grave is haunted by the spirit of the dog, because the statue moves.
But V. Kumar explained that gardeners at the cemetery rotate the dog once a year. He said: ‘’The dog can be moved so that it’s facing the lettering towards its master or looking out over the area.
‘’We change the position once a year, as this was the request of Andrew’s family which has been carried out even though none of his relatives have visited the grave for a long time.’’
Andrew married Evelyn in 1931 but he passed away just six months later. They had no children and she later returned to Australia.
Evelyn is believed to have last visited the grave in 1974 for ‘’sentimental reasons’’, during which she told the local newspaper the details of the story. It is not known if she is still living.