Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Stories About Faithful Dogs
Many dogs are faithful, and I have been fortunate enough to know many of them in my life. But what does it mean to be faithful?
Part of being faithful is caring about family. Some dogs will save the children in their family even if it costs them their lives. Wild dogs will feed their puppies before they eat themselves, and if there is not enough to go around, will actually go hungry. Not a lot of other animals are like that.
Another part of being faithful is a willingness to return home, no matter what the cost. There have been many stories about dogs traveling to return home, and I mention Bobbie here in this article.
Loyalty is an important part of faithfulness. Some dogs are loyal and would protect their families even if it meant giving up their own lives. I do not think that loyalty and faithfulness are the same thing, but sometimes the dog breeds that are loyal are also faithful.
And of course, sometimes faithfulness is just a dog’s willingness to stay next to his owner, even after the owner is gone. There are a few stories like that here:
1. Hachiko the Akita
Long before the 2009 Richard Gere movie made this dog famous, most dog fanciers knew about him and his faithfulness. Hachiko was an Akita, a large Japanese breed, which had been adopted by a professor in Japan back in 1924 when the breed was almost extinct.
Hachiko went to the Shibuya train station each day when Professor Ueno left for work and went back in the afternoon to wait for his arrival. One day in 1925 the professor did not come back. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at work and died later.
For nine years Hachiko went to the train station each afternoon and waited for his owner to come home from work. Of course, he never did, and Hachi died in Shibuya in 1935. The Japanese remember Hachiko as a symbol of faithfulness. He was a special dog, but many others have been just as faithful.
2. Shelby and Capitán: German Shepherd Dogs
There are so many stories about the faithfulness of this breed that I can really only pick a few. Shelby is one of the great ones. In the winter of 1999, John and Janet Walderbach went to bed after putting their kids to bed, assuming everything was okay in their house.
The kids woke up crying and complaining of headaches, but Janet put them back to bed and went back herself, ignoring Shelby's attempts to get her up and moving about. The dog went next to John and stood by the side of the bed barking until the man finally got up to let her out.
Shelby would not leave the house. Her owner tried to force her, and it was not until he made it outside and breathed in the clean air that he realized that he had been disoriented when still in the house.
John went back into the house and got his family out. The furnace was leaking carbon monoxide and if they had stayed in bed they would have died. Shelby could have gone outside and abandoned them, but instead, she stayed and saved their lives.
One of the more recent stories of faithfulness I have heard was about a dog that somehow found his owner's grave and has kept a vigil over him.
In 2006, Manuel Guzman died in Cordoba, Argentina. He was buried and soon after his dog, Capitán, ran away. When Veronica Guzman, the widow, visited her husband´s grave a week later she found the German Shepherd sitting next to it.
The director of the cemetery feeds the dog and he sometimes even goes home, although he always returns by evening and sleeps next to his dead owner. Like Hachiko the Akita, the dog, Capitán, is waiting.
3. Bobbie the Collie Mix
This is an old story and anyone familiar with dogs has probably already heard it. The Brazier family from Silverton, Oregon, had a dog who liked to ride in the car and travel. Bobbie, a young Collie/English shepherd cross, was with his family in 1923 when they went to visit relatives in the Midwest.
When the family stopped at a garage, the dog was attacked by a pack of stray dogs—he ran off and was lost. The family put ads in the paper, offered a reward, and drove around searching. Bobbie was lost in unfamiliar territory.
They thought he was gone for good, but just six months later he showed up on their doorstep. The pads on his feet were worn to the bone, and although he was thin they were able to identify him by scars he had picked up as a puppy.
Bobbie had traveled over 4000 kilometers (2551 miles) to reach his home in Silverton, Oregon. He died in 1927.
4. Dorado and Golly the Labrador Retrievers
Dorado the Hero
This amazing dog breed has been replacing the German Shepherd in most seeing eye programs. When the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11th, a blind computer technician was working alongside his Lab guide dog, Dorado.
Omar, the technician, heard the noise and figured he would never make it out of the building alive so he released his dog. Dorado obeyed the command to leave but came back a few minutes later.
It took Dorado and Omar an hour to make it down the steps and escape from the building. It collapsed soon after they got out. Only Dorado's faithfulness had saved Omar's life.
Three Labradors Save a Life
Another lab owner was saved by her dogs Golly, Lily, and Double. Tammy Ogle was with her dogs when she flipped her SUV over in 2003. She was thrown from the vehicle, her head was smashed, and she lost consciousness.
The dogs were not injured. Double stayed with her and Lily and Golly ran to the closest house, almost 1 km away (about ½ mile). The dogs stood on the porch barking and scratching until they were noticed.
Since the homeowner could not see the wreck, Golly pulled on his sleeve until he could see the SUV. He called for help and the rescue team determined that it was only the dogs' prompt actions that saved Tammy's life. Tammy Ogle's faithful dogs were inducted into the Hero Hall of Fame by the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association.
5. Delta the Cane Corso
The body of a large dog was found in the ashes of Pompeii. There is no evidence that this dog was a Canis pugnax, the Roman War dog, but from the evidence about her life it seems likely.
When Delta was found she was wearing a silver collar engraved with her name and three of her previous heroic deeds. Delta had pulled her owner Severinus from the sea when he was drowning, fought off attackers who had tried to rob him, and also protected him from an attack by a wolf.
Only a personal protection dog like the Cane Corso would be close to her master all of the time. Delta's final act was to throw her body over a young child when the volcano Mt. Vesuvius began to erupt. She could not protect him from the ash, of course, and she died that day. She died faithful.
A lot of great dog breeds are faithful. Some are purebred, some are mixed. In Brazil, the Fila Brasileiro, a purebred local guard dog, is so famous for his faithfulness that a common saying is “As faithful as a Fila”.
There are many great stories about the faithfulness of Golden Retrievers. One of my favorites is about “Blaze”, the dog who saved his family after an electrical short started a fire in his home. My own Pit Bull cross, with no special training, alerts me if I am about to seizure. (She is not only faithful, she is persistent. The first time she alerted me I thought she was just wanted attention, so I took her out and went back to my desk. She came back in and wouldn't leave me alone until I relaxed.)
Some smaller breeds have amazing stories of faithfulness, too, and a lot of stories are about mixed breed dogs where the dog is identified as a “Shepherd mix”, “Lab mix”, “Terrier mix”, etc.
There are a lot of faithful dogs out there. All you need to do is go out and find a companion. If you are interested, visit your local animal shelter or look at Petfinder.com. Do not buy a puppy from a pet shop or an internet puppy wholesaler, as you will most likely be supporting a puppy mill.
More About Dogs
- Five Dog Breeds With The Longest Life Expectancy
Are you looking for a breed of dog that will live a long and healthy life?Photos, videos, and a description of the best five will help you choose a companion for many years to come.
- Most Loyal Dog Breeds
Almost all dogs are loyal. A few breeds are more loyal than others. Find out why and how to choose one of the best.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 20, 2013:
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, Writer Fox. I am a big fan of all your contributions on SEO discussions on the forum pages. Thanks for all your help!
Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on July 20, 2013:
Very interesting article. I enjoyed the video you made so much! You really captured the highlights.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 03, 2013:
Hi Rachel I am sorry to hear about your loss. How is your BC/ACD doing with Cujo? I got a new dog since we last talked and Ajej is terribly jealous--dogs really do become so attached to one person.
Thanks for leaving a note. Take care of yourself and stop by again!
Farmer rachel on July 03, 2013:
Wonderful stories, brought tears to my eyes. My father died suddenly at the end of March, and I inherited his pit bill mix, Cujo. Cujo was visibly depressed for weeks after losing his owner. He waited at the front door all afternoon for him to come home, and continued to sleep in front of my dad's bedroom door until I convinced him to sleep with me instead.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 03, 2013:
I was really surprised when you mentioned that book. I read "Beautiful Joe" when I was very young, maybe 7 or 8. My grandmother gave me her copy. I know the story, of course, but read it again just a few weeks ago. (Actually I downloaded the audio version on Librivox and listened to it on my MP3 as I walked my dog on the beach.)
Akitas are a "tough guy" dog so who knows how many are mistreated? I don´t think I would ever worry about one being disloyal, but then again I do not look at them as just a piece of property, like some tough guys do. Thanks for reading . I enjoyed your comment.
Mary Craig from New York on July 03, 2013:
I don't know whether to praise you or curse you for this one. It took me at least five minutes to stop crying and every time I think of that dog at the train station I start all over again!
You probably never heard of it but when I was a kid my favorite book was called "Beautiful Joe". The book was first published in the late 1800s and was based on the true story of an abused dog...so you see, I loved these four legged creatures for a very long time and seeing one of them hurt in any way just breaks my heart.
Is the Akita dangerous to strangers? I have heard of at least one turning on its owner. They are truly beautiful animals.
Voted all but funny and shared.