The Loyalty Of Dogs

If dogs don’t go to Heaven, then when I die I want to be where they are.

–Will Rogers

  • Baekgu, a 4-year-old male Korean Jindo, lived alone with owner. After the owner died in June 2000, accompanied his dead owner for three days until other people came to find the body. Followed the owner’s body to his funeral, came back home, not eating anything for four days, until The Korean Jindo Dog Research Institute (진돗개 시험연구소) brought him under its care. The dog would not interact with anyone except for his feeder as of 2005.
  • Captain, a German Shepard, ran away from his home after the death of his owner Miguel Guzman in 2006. About a week later, Guzman’s family found Captain standing guard at Guzman’s grave after finding the cemetery on his own. When brought home, Captain again ran away back to the grave of his former owner. As of 2012, he continues to stand vigil over his owner’s grave and receives provisions from the cemetery staff so he does not need to leave.
  • Fido, a mixed-breed dog, whose master, Carlo Soriani, had died in an air raid over Borgo San Lorenzo (near Florence, in Italy) in 1943, during World War II. Fido waited in vain, for the following 14 years, for Soriani’s return, going daily to the bus stop in Luco del Mugello (a frazione of Borgo) where the man used to get off after coming home from work.
  • Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier in Edinburgh, Scotland, was loyal to his master long after his master’s death in 1858. Until Bobby’s death 14 years later, he reportedly spent every night at his master’s grave. A statue in memorial of Greyfriars Bobby was erected near the graveyard.
  • Hachikō, an Akita who became a symbol of loyalty in Japan, is now honored by a statue in Tokyo. Hachikō is famous for his loyalty to his long dead master Hidesaburō Ueno, by returning to the train station and waiting for his return, every day for the next nine years during the time the train was scheduled to arrive.
  • Hawkeye, a Labrador retriever, stayed by the coffin of his owner, Jon Tumilson, a Navy Seal who was killed in Afghanistan in 6 August 2011 when the CH-47 Chinook he was riding on was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade.
  • Heidi, a Jack Russell Terrier from Scotland, made her way down a 500-foot (150 m) vertical drop to get to the body of her owner (after he fell to his death while hiking) and stood guard over his body for days in 2001.
  • Leao, a mix breed who stayed by the side of her owner who died on January 2011 during Brazil’s flood. His owner was Cristina Cesário Maria Santana. Her body (along with other 3 bodies of members of the family) was retrieved by the rescuers after looking at the dog digging over some mud.
  • Shep, a Border Collie, who – after seeing the coffin of his master loaded onto a train in Fort Benton, Montana in 1936 – maintained a vigil at the station for six years.
  • Spot: In November 2010, five months after his owner, Wayne Giroux of Lone Oak, Texas, was killed by a drunk driver, a local television station reported that Giroux’s Great Dane-mix, Spot, was still traveling daily to wait for Giroux at a spot on a country lane where Giroux used to meet him. The story was quickly picked up and disseminated by international media outlets such as CNN.
  • Squeak, a Jack Russell Terrier who would not leave the body of his owner, Zimbabwean farmer Terry Ford, after Ford was murdered in 2002 by a violent mob carrying out Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe‘s land seizure programs. The photo of little Squeak guarding Ford’s bloody body raised worldwide awareness of land-related violence in Zimbabwe.
Squeak. Guarding the body of his murdered owner.

Squeak. Guarding the body of his murdered owner.

  • Theo, an English Springer Spaniel belonging to Lance Corporal Liam Tasker of the British Army. Theo was used to sniff out roadside bombs in Afghanistan. In 2010, Theo and Tasker were in a firefight with insurgents, killing Tasker. Theo died later at a British army base from a fatal seizure, although many believe he died from a broken heart. Tasker’s body and Theo’s ashes were returned to England where Tasker’s family was presented with Theo’s ashes in a private ceremony. In October 2012, Theo was posthumously honored with the Dickin Medal, Britain’s highest award for bravery by animals.
  • Waghya, Chhatrapati Shivaji‘s pet dog. Waghya is known as the epitome of loyalty and eternal devotion. After Shivaji’s death, the dog mourned and jumped into his master’s funeral pyre and immolated himself. A statue was put up on a pedestal next to Shivaji’s tomb at Raigad Fort.

    Statue of Waghya, symbol of pure loyalty and devotion in India

    Sources disagree about whether Waghya was an actual dog or a fictional dog.[32]

  • The yellow dog of Lao Pan. After Lao Pan, a poor 68-year-old Shandong villager who lived alone, died in November 2011, his home was cleared, and his unnamed yellow Spitz-type dog disappeared. Villagers later noticed the dog had found Lao Pan’s grave and tried to bring it back to the village, but the dog refused to leave. They tried luring the hungry dog back to the village with some buns, but he took the food and ran back to the site again. Villagers felt touched by the dog’s behavior, arranged to provision him daily at the grave, and as of a week later when the first reports appeared, had decided to build him a shelter there. The story broke locally, was picked up by national media, and was being run by many international media outlets by mid-December.

Further Reading: