They look at you with their watery eyes and really soft nose, with their tongues sticking out and their tails wagging making you feel like you mean the world to them. Someone said it right, a dog is “God” spelled backward. Maybe that is why American humorist Josh Billings said, “A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” Known to be the most loyal of creatures, dogs have shown unimaginable gestures of fidelity and loyalty for a really long time. We have known stories of dogs who have waited for their masters to return long after their death and never give up on the hope of seeing them again, braving hunger, thirst, and even the worst weather conditions. Here are the stories of some of the most loyal dogs who have ever set foot on this planet. They are truly remarkable.
1. Waghya, Maratha king Shivaji’s pet dog, was known for his loyalty and devotion. When Shivaji died, Waghya jumped into his funeral pyre.
Waghya, a name that means “tiger” in the Marathi language, was the name of the famous Maratha Indian king Chhatrapati Shivaji’s pet dog. Waghya was a mixed breed dog and was famous for his loyalty to Shivaji. When the warrior king died in 1680 at the age of 52 after falling ill with fever and dysentery, he was being cremated according to Hindu rituals. Waghya, overwhelmed with the pain of losing him, jumped into his funeral pyre and died along with him. A statue of Waghya was erected at Raigad Fort in Maharashtra, India next to Shivaji’s tomb. The story of Waghya and Shivaji has been written in some books and adapted into a play as well. (source)
2. Hachiko, an Akita dog, met his master at the railway station every day in the 1920s and became famous for that. After his master died, he continued to make that journey for nine years. Hachiko is known in Japanese culture as an example of loyalty.
When Hachiko, a Japanese Akita dog was only one year old, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor, adopted him and brought him to live with him in Shibuya, Tokyo. Ueno would go to Shibuya Station every day to commute for work, and when he got back home, Hachiko would go there to greet him. On May 21, 1925, when Ueno passed away at work due to a cerebral hemorrhage, Hachiko went to Shibuya Station but came back home disappointed. From that day until 1935, Hachiko would make that journey every day, going there at the exact time when the train was due at the station. He waited for Ueno to return every day until his death. He died due to a filaria infection and cancer on March 8, 1935.
People began noticing Hachiko and appreciated his loyalty. Even after his death, his story continues to be narrated across the world through books, movies, plays, statues, and more. In 1994, 59 years after he died, millions of people tuned in to the radio in Japan to listen to his bark that was recorded when he was alive. Every year on the day he died, a ceremony is held in his honor at the train station. A bus is also named after him in Japan. (source)
3. When a shepherd died and his casket was taken to the train station, his dog Shep made a den at there. He would meet every train arriving at the station and sniff at the people and the train doors looking for his master for five and a half years until 1942.
Fort Benton, in Montana, United States, is known for the famous dog that once lived there who the people fondly refer to as “Old Shep.” In 1936, a sheepherder and his dog Shep came to Fort Benton for the owner’s medical treatment. But the sheepherder died in Fort Benton and his body was sent east to his relatives via a train from Fort Benton Train Depot. Shep was left behind. For the next five and a half years, he stayed at the station, greeting four trains every day, looking for his master.
Within three years of his vigil, he was featured on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and received fan mail and Christmas gifts. On January 12, 1942, Shep, who had become old and deaf, slipped on an icy rail while the 10:17 train was arriving at the station and died. His funeral, which was held with an honor guard and pallbearers two days later, was attended by hundreds of people. At his gravesite, his name “Shep” was cut out from wood and illuminated with lights which could be seen from the train station. Today, the cut out is created out of steel, and the site is well-maintained by another generation of Shep fans. (source)
4. An Italian man would take the bus to a factory where he worked, and Fido, his dog, would come to drop him off and fetch him. When he was killed during World War II, Fido continued to go to the bus stop every day for 14 years (at least 5,000 times) until his death in 1958.
Fido was a famous Italian dog whose story of loyalty was covered in several newspapers and magazines including Time. He was born in 1941 on the streets of Luco di Mugello in Borgo San Lorenzo, Italy. Carlo Soriani, a brick kiln worker, found the dog injured on a roadside. He tended to him and took him home. Soriani and his wife decided to keep the dog and named him “Fido” which is Latin for “faithful.” Fido would follow Soriani to the bus stop every day as he went to work and would be there when the bus returned in the evening to greet him. For two years, the routine went on. Fido would patiently wait in the square and go back home with Soriani.
But on December 30, 1943, the factory where Soriani worked fell victim to an allied bombardment during the Second World War and he died. But Fido’s hope for him to return lived on for the next 14 years. Fido would go to the bus stop every day and return home in the evening, disappointed. For his faithfulness, he was awarded a gold medal by the mayor of Borgo San Lorenzo. A monument stands in Borgo San Lorenzo of the dog who is not forgotten. He died on June 9, 1958. (source)
5. Ruswarp was a dog who went hiking with his master in the Welsh mountains when the man died. For 11 weeks, Ruswarp stood guard over his body, and he died shortly after his master’s funeral in 1990.
A Border Collie, Ruswarp, and the man he lived with, Graham Nuttall, loved each other too much and were inseparable. Nuttall went trekking in the Welsh mountains and bought day-return tickets for him and his dog from Burnley to Llandrindod Wells. When Graham did not return and his neighbors alerted the police, a search and rescue party was sent for him in the mountains. He went missing on January 20, 1990. The search and rescue party found nothing and came back empty-handed. It was only on April 7, 1990, that a man found Graham’s body by a mountain stream. Next to his body was Ruswarp, standing guard with whatever energy he had left. When the 14-year-old dog was rescued, he was so weak that he had to be carried off the mountain. For eleven weeks in winter, Ruswarp had not failed his master even though he was dead.
The dog was attended by a vet and given an award, but he survived only until Graham’s funeral. In 2008, an eye-witness of Graham’s funeral told The Westmorland Gazette, “Ruswarp sat patiently and silently throughout the service, but as the curtains closed on the coffin there was a long low muffled howl. It was uncanny, Ruswarp’s farewell. I shall never forget this…” In 2009, a memorial statue was made for the brave dog. (source)
6. When Kostya, a German Shepherd, was riding in the car with the family he was living with, there was an accident and everyone died. For seven years until his death in 2002, he kept coming back to the place of the crash looking for his people in snow and rain.
Residents of Tolyatti in Russia noticed a German Shepherd on the highway near their town. He stood always at the exact same point. This dog was Kostya. He was named so by the citizens of Tolyatti as no one knew his real name. In the summer of the same year, Kostya was traveling in the car with a man and his daughter who had adopted him. The car crashed, and the daughter died on the spot, and the man died in the hospital a few days later. Kostya kept returning to the spot where the accident had occurred. People’s attempts to adopt him in their homes and building him shelters were in vain. He took nothing but food from them and went back to the spot on the highway whatever was the weather. He was seen there sitting on the grass or running along with the cars.
In 2002, seven years later, Kostya was found dead in the woods. He is believed to have died a natural death as there were no signs of an injury to his body. A bronze statue was erected at that spot of the adorable dog. In the words of the town’s Rotary Club’s president, the dog’s “loyalty became a legend.” (source)
7. Canelo, a dog in Spain, would accompany his master for his frequent dialysis treatments at the hospital. One day, his master went inside the hospital and died. Canelo continued to wait for 12 years at the emergency entrance until his death in 2002.
Everywhere Canelo’s master went, he went along with him. His master whose name is not known would frequently visit a hospital in Cadiz, Spain for dialysis treatments. Canelo would wait outside the hospital near the front door for him to come out. But one day, the man died in the hospital and never came out. The innocent dog, Canelo, continued to wait for him outside the hospital. For twelve years, he stayed there at the emergency entrance of the hospital, patiently waiting even in hunger and thirst.
On December 9, 2002, he was hit by a vehicle outside the hospital and met his fate. A plaque was affixed in the city of Cadiz in his honor and a street was named after the famous dog whose love was heart-wrenching. (source)
8. In 2011, when the family who adopted Leao died in the Brazil flood, he stayed by their side and kept vigil. The rescuers found the bodies of the family when they saw Leao digging in the mud.
The 2011 Brazil floods took over 600 lives, and out of those were the lives of Cristina Cesário Maria Santana and three other family members. With Santana lived her dog Leao who was the only one in the family who survived the floods. Due to the mudslides and devastation, helping people had become difficult. That is when the rescue team saw Leao digging in the mud and was then able to find the bodies of the four people and give them a burial. Leao, became famous in the media across the globe because he refused to leave the site where Santana was buried. Amidst the stories of loss and destruction, Leao was one of the powerful stories from Brazil that spoke of love and loyalty. (1, 2)
9. In 2012, Zander, a love-sick, Samoyan-husky mix traveled two hard miles, crossing a busy highway and a stream to a hospital where he had never been before. When a hospital employee called the number on his tag, it reached his master who was lying in a room inside the hospital for several days for treatment.
In 2012, seven-year-old Zander got love-sick waiting for his master John Dolan at his home in Bay Shore while Dolan was at a hospital in Islip, New York. Zander ran away from home and navigated through tricky, complex neighborhoods to reach the hospital, two miles away from home. Zander had never been there before but had to be with Dolan and could not be away from him anymore. A hospital employee saw the white Samoyan dog and checked his name tag where Dolan’s name was written. He informed Dolan about Zander and told him to come and pick him up. The mystery of how Zander managed to find the hospital remains unsolved.
Dolan later told ABCNews.com, “He was moping around for the days I was already at the hospital, sitting in my seat and rolled up and depressed. My wife said he had water in his eyes and looked like he was really sad.” (source)
10. After an Argentinian man died, his dog Capitan ran away from home and refused to leave his gravesite. Until Capitan died in 2018, for 12 years, he would wail, heart-broken, near the grave.
Miguel Guzman brought Capitan home in 2005 and the next year, Guzman suddenly passed away. When the Argentinian’s funeral was over and the family got home, they found Capitan to be missing and thought that he had run away or had been in an accident and died. A week later when they visited Guzman’s grave, they found Capitan standing guard there. When the dog saw them he came running, wailing and barking, as if he was crying over Guzman’s death.
The dog used to go to the Guzman family and spend some time with them but would soon return to the gravesite to stand vigil. The family was surprised how Capitan had found the cemetery since he had never been there before. All attempts to remove the dog from the site failed and he kept returning to it. Until he died in 2018, he never left Guzman alone for even one night. (source)