Dog loyalty stories: an endless love
A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about?
(John Grogan, Marley & me)
Dog loyalty stories are about true and deep love. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the love and affection a dog can give you at least once in their lifetime. These are stories of silences and glances, but also games and cheer.
These stories are about the bond between a human being and his dog, a dog and his friend for life. The meeting with your dog can be wished or fortuitous. It could happen in a pet shop as well in a kennel, but also in places where you would least expect to find a puppy. Often it is love at first sight, a swap of glances that establishes a friendship stronger than time. Sometimes this feeling takes more time to pluck a man's heartstrings, but after this it will lasts forever.
It is the 1940s, during the Second World War, in Italy times are tough for everyone. But Carlo Soriani, a furnace worker, decides to adopt the English Pointer puppy he found wounded and abandoned in a ditch. That winter evening, the puppy found a home and a friend. From that moment it was called "Fido".
Every morning, Fido would go with its owner to the coach stop, where the owner would catch the coach to go to work. Every evening Fido comes back to the coach stop waiting for his friend's return. Two years later, a terrible bombing struck the furnace where Carlo Soriani used to work and he did not survive.
The same evening, Fido waited in vain for his friend at the bus stop. And he did so for 14 years, over 5000 useless evenings waiting, with a hope that is never realized. The Mayor of the town, struck by this demonstration of faithfulness, decided to honor the dog first freeing him from holding fee and muzzle, and then giving him a gold medal and dedicating a monument. Eighteen years after that cold winter evening, in which Carlo Soriani had found the puppy abandoned, Fido died still waiting for his friend: he was buried near the cemetery where his owner rests, to join them at last.
Fido's story will surely remind you of that of Hachikō, the Akita dog that moved Japan.
In the early 20 's, a professor of the Imperial University of Tokyo adopted a puppy and called him Hachikō (Hachi meaning "eight", which is a benevolent wish; a suffix kō meaning affection). Hachikō used to go with the professor to the station from which he took the train to go to University. Every evening, the dog returned to wait for his friend to walk him home.
One day in spring of the following year, while he was in class, the professor suddenly suffered a stroke and died. That evening Hachikō came to the station to wait for him and every night, for the next ten years.
Professor lived alone, so the dog had no one to take care of him so he was adopted by stationmaster who would see him everyday waiting for someone who never seemed to come back.
Hachikō soon became known in all Japan and a lot of people used to stop in Shibuya station only to see or pet him.
When Hachikō was still alive, two statues were dedicated to him, one in Shibuya station and the other one in his native town.
Ten years after the passing of the beloved professor, Hachikō died too: that day was proclaimed national mourning in tribute to his loyalty towards his owner.
Hachikō was embalmed and is located at the National Museum of nature and science in Shibuya, but some of his bones were buried near professor's tomb to reunite them.
Fido and Hachikō are perhaps the most famous examples of a devotion that goes beyond death: less known, but equally moving are the stories of Greyfriars Bobby and Shep. The first one was a Scottish Terrier which in 1800s kept vigil near his owner's grave, until he died too. Because he was a stray, Bobby was in danger of being put to sleep, but the Mayor of Edinburgh formally adopted him in front of the City Council.
Shep was a Border Collie from Montana and belonged to an anonymous shepherd who unexpectedly died; relatives of the man, informed of his death, claimed his body but for some reason they did not take the dog with them.
Shep followed his owner to the station from which he was carried up on the train and there awaited him, with paws on the tracks until the arrival of one of the four trains which used to pass through the station.
Even though this was in the years following the great depression of '29, many moved to help the dog, which did not want to stay with anyone. Formerly old at the time of death of his owner, Shep soon became deaf. One day as he was waiting for a train, as usual with paws on the tracks, he did not hear its arrival and was hit.
A monument was erected in his memory , but he fell into oblivion after passenger trains stopped passing the station. However, in the 50th anniversary of his death a new monument was erected and two years later a sculpture was made depicting him in his typical position, with his front paws on a rail.
The best friend
Those lucky enough to have, or have had, a dog know how special these animals are: they show unique affection and dedication in exchange for almost nothing.
The link with the "pack leader" is immediate and once the dog has chosen its human reference no other human could not replace him.
The memories of our best friends are priceless, when they made us laugh, or they showed us their affection erases the times where they may have misbehaved.
Nibbled or hidden slippers; our favorite sweater taken as consolation in lonely moments; nighttime blitzes in our bed; surprise face licking; pee on the rug; conquest of the sofa; the doghouse expressly left empty because mat is more interesting; cuddling when we are upset and maybe we have not realized it yet.
Unfortunately our companions always leave us too soon as they live less than humans; we would like to keep them with us as much as possible, and defy time that cruelly divides our fates.
Passion for life
Love for dogs can go beyond adopting a puppy and bringing it home. The wonder for these smart animals, the tenderness that only puppies can inspire, their strength, their composure in some poses cause in a lot of people the desire to immortalize those attitudes.
There are those who might fill their house with pictures of their dog, and those who prefer to be surrounded by three-dimensional reproductions in various materials: from wood to glass, from plastic to ceramic. A few pieces or a mono-thematic collection undoubtedly proclaim our love for dogs.
And if instead of ready-made piece we want something unique and distinctive, it is possible to commission a faithful portrayal of our pet. There are artists who devote their work to create pieces that depict in detail our friends. Painters transform a photo into a vivid painting; sculptors immortalize puppies in their funniest poses; craftsmen can also evoke using different materials our dog in a 3D life-sized reproduction.
Every nuance of his hair, his expressions, his favorite poses: all this is possible starting from only one photo, which is transformed into an animal that lacks only the breath to be true.