When animals enter our lives, they give real meaning to true friendship. Regardless of how we come across them, they make our days brighter. They evolve into family over time because they give relief from the burdens of everyday life. We rely heavily on their relentless loyalty to us and their ability to bring happiness to our life. Sometimes we even find more comfort in our animals than we do with humans because they never seem to disappoint.
People say that some animals have shorter life spans than humans because they are born knowing how to love, while humans must obtain that quality somewhere along the way of our longer lives. But what happens when owners meet their end before their animals? While animals can’t mouth their devotion or grief with words, in regards to their late owners , these specific animals’ actions speak volumes to how far the bond between animal and human really goes.
Hachiko is one of the Dog Fathers of loyal pets. His story is well renown all around the world but his fame started in Japan. A professor at Tokyo University by the name of Eizoburo Ueno very much longed for a dog. A student recommended that he adopt Hachiko, Hachi for short. They became very close. Some would even say that Hachiko was treated as the professor's son. As Hachiko got older, he started to see the professor off to work at the Shibuya Train Station and wait for his return. On May 21, 1925 Hachiko waited for the professor as usual but he never showed up. The professor had died tragically at work from a cerebral hemorrhage. For 10 years following the untimely death of his owner, Hachiko continued to wait for him at the train station. In 1932, a statue was made to commemorate Hachiko at Shibuya Train Station and Hollywood even produced a movie called Hachi: A Dog's Tale starring Richard Gere to bring his life to the big screen.
In Motagnana, Italy, a 71-year-old man by the name of Renzo Iozzelli passed away in 2011 and his cat, Toldo, continued to visit him where he was buried. Toldo followed the funeral procession to the cemetery during Renzo’s burial. Toldo even brought small trinkets to the grave like handkerchiefs, plastic cups, twigs, leaves and toothpicks. Toldo had known his owner since he was three-months-old after Renzo rescued him from a colony of feral cats and he was three years old when Renzo passed. Locals have continued to spot Toldo around his owner's grave in a sense “keeping guard”. Renzo's widow suspected it was the cat leaving items on his grave from the start and eye witnesses later verified her assumption.
While dogs are perceivably man’s best friend, all animals can certainly commit to friendship.
In the Argentinian town of Villa Carlos Paz Cordoba lies the story of Capitán. Capitán was introduced to his owner Michael Guzmán in 2005. He was initially a gift for Guzmán’s son, Damian. Immediately, Capitán formed an immense bond with Guzmán until March 24th, 2006 when Guzmán passed away. Capitán could not be found after that but when the Guzmán family went to visit Michael’s grave, Capitán was there and stayed there for six years following Michael’s death. No one is quite sure how he was able to locate the grave of his best friend but he refused to let his death keep them apart.
The image of Hawkeye and his fallen Navy SEAL owner went viral along with the grief embedded in it. Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson died at the age of 35 in a helicopter accident while in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. He left behind his chocolate Labrador, Hawkeye. This photo that went viral shows Hawkeye laying sadly by his owner’s casket. He laid there during the entire funeral service. The photo originated on Facebook after Tumilson's cousin posted the picture. Tumilson was issued a Purple Heart after his death which matched Hawkeye's loyal heart of gold. There are plenty of videos of people in military service reconnecting with their pets and their reaction is priceless. One can only imagine how distraught pets must be when they don’t return home. Hawkeye has since been taken in by Tumilson’s best friend.
When we think about law enforcement we often forget that an officer's partner isn't always another man. K-9's are a significant asset to the safety of some officers. They're trained to protect and serve just as officers are. This is Figo. He is a German Shepherd Dog, like K-9’s often are, and he is touching the casket of his human partner, 33-year-old Jason Ellis. Ellis was shot and killed on May 25, 2013. Although all funerals commemorate the life of an individual, the ceremonies of an officer are a little different. Figo is seen saying his last good-byes to his partner. The picture surfaced on Reddit and made its way to several news outlets. While dogs don't have funeral rituals like humans, Figo understood that his partner was gone.
10 Tommy aka Ciccio
These instances of loyalty between owners and pets seems to be occurring all over the world. In Italy, Maria Magherita Lochi would take her 7-year-old German Shepherd Dog, Tommy later named Ciccio, to church with her every day at San Danaci, near Brindisi. When she passed away in November of 2012, Tommy continued to visit the church where his owner’s funeral was held. The village of people have since then adopted the dog. Everyone provides him with food, shelter and water. He comes whenever the mass bells ring and waits the duration of the service. Some say he is awaiting his owner much like Hachiko and others believe he just wants to stay close to the last place he saw her.
Like humans often give their children their names, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B Bruckenthal felt the same about naming his Golden Retriever, Nathan. They both met in the beginning of service dog training. Nathan B was killed during his second tour of duty in 2004. Bruckenthal was the first Coast Guardsmen killed in combat since the Vietnam War. Since then, the pup Nathan lives on with his name and visits his friend in the Arlington Cemetery in Virginia. Nathan has increased awareness about the process of service animals that a new blog has emerged where his experiences and stories are described as a first person narrative.
Zelda was rescued by Joshua Reed in 2006 when he found her in distress after being hit by a car. Whether she felt like he owed her his life or not, she became almost inseparable from her savior. In 2009, Reed was riding his ATV four-wheeler when he was struck by a truck. He was killed instantly and died at the age of 15. Zelda anxiously waited for the boys return. She searched the families farm and even waited inside of his room. She had never run away previous to the accident but now she finds a way out any chance she gets. She can't and won't stop looking for her long lost friend.
7 The Mystery Bull Terrier
Josh Billings once said, "A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself." The story of this bull terrier exemplifies that quote. The terrier belonged to a homeless man in Oklahoma County. Pets, often strays, are commonly seen with homeless people around any city. His owner died outside in 2014 and he refused to leave his body alone. Even under scorching heat circumstances, the terrier stayed close to the body of his owner. When the dog was found he was suffering from heat exhaustion even though he was only feet away from a river. No one is sure what the name of the bull terrier is. When he was taken to a shelter he hardly ate or even barked. He was in mourning and the only time he wagged his tail was when he saw his leash. He was put up for adoption but has since been placed in a new home.This particular story shows that animals really just need one essential element and that’s love. They don’t care about what material things can be provided to them. They just want someone. Now if we could only say the same thing about humanity but that’s a whole other article
If you have reached this section and still don’t believe dogs can feel just as much grief as humans do, then you might need a reality check. This is Zozo who resides in Ordu, Turkey. His owner died in 2014 and people say he visits his tombstone every day and whines. There is even a video of Zozo laying on and beside the grave as people stop by as well. The Chopin playing during the video makes it a lot more surreal and somber.
5 Margarita's Pack
When Margarita Suárez’s funeral service was held in Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico, amongst her family and friends was a pack of dogs that saw her off as well. Suárez was known for helping stray dogs but in Merida Yucatan which is about 830 miles away from where her funeral service was held. So these dogs were not even the specific dogs that she looked after and yet they still showed up to her funeral. The behavior had never before been done by strays around the funeral home. No one can be quite sure but maybe the canines had some sort of sixth sense about her background with their kind and decided to pay their respects for the dogs she cared for at home. Like how most things go viral, this picture originated on Facebook from a post by Margarita's daughter and the story behind it fascinated many.
Whether it is suddenly or over time, a dog’s loss of its owner is tragic for them. The 1-year-old German Shepard in the picture is named Jax. His owner seen with him, Abraham Martinez, died in a car accident on May 10, 2016 at the age of 21. He is seen sitting beneath a memorial made for Abraham. Jax had been with Abraham since he was a six-week-old puppy and hasn't quite been the same since the loss of his friend, according to family.
We’ve already established that the love from an animal is pure, devoid from any irrelevant factors like money, or fame. So when Sarah Valey posted a video of Wiley the Husky at her Grandmother’s grave, it was no surprise that Wiley felt some degree of sadness. There is a debate as to whether or not Wiley is actually “crying” in the video but the encounter is still heartbreaking. It’s safe to say that mourning is a way of showing loyalty to what once was and coming into terms with the fact that that thing it isn’t there anymore. Animals have the ability of expressing loyalty in more ways than just fetching.
2 Small Yellow Dog
This heartbroken dog stole the hearts of thousands of people on social media. Even though he was all the way in China, people from around the world started sharing his story. When 68-year-old Lao Pan died, he left behind his only companion, a small yellow dog. The dog sat on Pan’s grave and people from the village started to bring him food and water. Some have even tried to lure the dog away from the grave but he has found his place next to his owner once again. A kennel may be built near the gravesite for the dog. Footage of the small yellow dog can be found at this link.
1 Greyfriar's Bobby
In a time before Hachiko, there was Bobby the Skye Terrier in in Scotland in the 1850’s. His owner was John Gray who got Bobby to accompany him on his long shifts as a police officer. Bobby was in someway his watch dog. John died of tuberculosis in 1858 and was buried in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. And just as Bobby was John's watch dog when he was living, he did the same thing when John was gone. Bobby could never be evicted from his owner's grave and soon was supplied the necessities to stay there. His fame spread all throughout Edinburgh. Bobby watched over John’s grave until his own death in 1872. A granite statue was built to commemorate the loyal dog.