Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dogs and Loyalty

Perhaps the concept that comes to mind most commonly when we think of dogs is loyalty. Dogs are known for their loyalty to humans, and for how patiently they wait for us to return home. Going back to Argos, Odyssseus' faithful dog who waited twenty years for Odysseus to return to Ithaca, before finally dying, there are countless stories in literature, myth and reality of dogs whose loyalty and faithfulness know no bounds. Many of those stories involve dogs who wait besides the graves of their guardians, or near the last place that the human and dog spent time together, waiting for them to be reunited.

The latest such story comes from Puglia in Southern Italy, where Tommy, a 12-year old German Shepherd, has been attending Mass daily at Santa Maria Assunta Church. It was at that church that his caretaker Maria Lochi had her funeral last November, and it was at that church that Maria took her own daily Mass, every day at 5:00pm. That's when Tommy, hearing the church bells, enters the church each day still, sitting quietly at the altar, and leaving once Mass is over.  The parishioners are now caring for Tommy by giving him food, but he has no home and continues to wait for his Maria to come home.

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