Four awe-inspiring stories of dogs so loyal, they waited years or traveled a great number of miles to be with their owners again. Full disclosure: most of today’s content was provided by various sources edited by yours truly. Featured photos are internet grabs, and not from the archives of Eric’s Pet Sitting. Thank you and have a doggie day.
Fido (1941 – Jun 9, 1958)
Fido (Latin fidus, meaning “faithful”) was an Italian dog that came to public attention in 1943 through his demonstration of unwavering loyalty to his deceased owner. Fido began life in the autumn of 1941 as a street dog in a small town in the Tuscan Province of Florence, Italy. One night in November 1941, a brick kiln worker in Borgo San Lorenzo named Carlo Soriani, on his way home from the bus stop, found the dog lying injured in a roadside ditch. Soriani took him home and nursed him back to health. Soriani and his wife adopted the dog and named him Fido. After Fido recovered, he followed Soriani to the bus stop in the central square of Luco di Mugello and watched him board the bus for work. When the bus returned in the evening, Fido greeted Soriani and followed him home.
Two years later, on December 30, 1943, Carlo Soriani was killed when the Allies bombed Borgo San Lorenzo. That evening, Fido showed up as usual at the bus stop, but did not see Soriani. Fido later returned home, but for 14 years thereafter, until the day of his death, he went daily to the stop, waiting for Soriani to get off the bus. Media interest in Fido grew during his lifetime, and Time magazine wrote an article about Fido in April 1957. Many readers were struck by the remarkable devotion Fido exhibited, including the mayor of Borgo San Lorenzo, who awarded him a gold medal in the presence of local citizens including Soriani’s moved widow (Nov 9, 1957).
At the end of 1957, the Comune of Borgo San Lorenzo commissioned the sculptor Salvatore Cipolla to create a monument of Fido as a testimony to his exemplary love and fidelity. The work, entitled “Monument to the dog Fido,” was placed in Borgo San Lorenzo, next to the municipal palace.
Fido died on June 9, 1958. The news of his death was announced to the public by the newspaper on a four-column front-page story in La Nazione. Fido was buried outside the cemetery of Luco di Mugello beside his master, Carlo Soriani.
Baekgu (1986 – 2000)
In 1993, a 7-year-old female Jindo named Baekgu (White Dog), raised by Park Bok-dan, an 83-year-old woman on Jindo Island, was sold to a new owner in the city of Daejeon which is located about 180 miles away. After seven months, the dog escaped her new home and returned, haggard and exhausted, to her original owner, Park. Baekgu remained with her original owner until the dog died of natural causes seven years later. The story became a national sensation in South Korea and was adapted as an animated series, a documentary, and a children’s storybook. In 2004, Jindo County dedicated a statue of Baekgu in her hometown to honor the dog.
Bobbie (1921 – 1927)
Bobbie the Wonder Dog traveled over 2,500 miles on his own to return home to Silverton, Oregon, after he was lost when his owners were visiting family in Wolcott, Indiana.
In August 1923, Frank and Elizabeth Brazier, with their daughters Leona and Nova, were visiting relatives in Wolcott, Indiana. Their two-year-old Scotch Collie and English Shepherd mix Bobbie was attacked by three other dogs and ran away. After an exhaustive search, the heartbroken Brazier family were unable to find Bobbie and soon returned home to Oregon, expecting never to see their dog again.
In February 1924, six months later, Bobbie returned to Silverton mangy, dirty, and scrawny. He showed all the signs of having walked the entire distance, including swimming rivers and crossing the Continental Divide during the coldest part of winter. During his ordeal, he crossed at least 2,500 miles of plains, desert, and mountains (an average of 14 miles per day). After his return to Silverton, he experienced a meteoric rise to fame. His story drew national attention and was featured in numerous newspapers.
Bobbie played himself in the 1924 silent film The Call of the West. He received hundreds of letters from people around the world, including several from people who had fed and sheltered Bobbie on his journey. In Portland, an Irish woman helped him recover from serious injuries to his legs and paws.
Upon his death in 1927, he was buried with honors at the Oregon Humane Society’s pet cemetery in Portland. A week later, German Shepherd film star Rin Tin Tin laid a wreath at his grave.
Bobbie’s demonstration of loyalty is celebrated during Silverton’s annual children’s pet parade that serves as a reminder of the special place animals and pets have in people’s lives. The event was started several years after Bobbie’s death and the first parade was led by his son, Pal. A 70-foot-long outdoor painting featuring Bobbie’s story is part of a series of murals that decorate the walls of businesses in Silverton.
Dżok (1990 – 1998)
Dżok (aka “Jock”), was a black hound mix in Krakow, Poland. From 1990–1991, Dżok was seen waiting at the Rondo Grunwaldzkie roundabout to be reunited with his owner, who had been taken away in an ambulance after suffering a fatal heart attack. Dżok didn’t understand his owner had died, so he remained on the spot for his return. Dżok was fed by various inhabitants of Krakow, and after a year of waiting, he accepted one of those citizens as his new owner (Maria Müller). Seven years later, she passed away and Dżok was taken to an animal shelter. He escaped the shelter and attempted to return to the Grunwald roundabout but was killed by a moving train.
The Krakow Society for the Care of Animals, and inhabitants of Krakow, contributed to the creation of a monument for Dżok. The monument was unveiled on May 26, 2001, by a German Shepherd named Kety. The small monument depicts a dog inside a pair of human hands, extending his left paw to the viewer. Symbolizing dog fidelity and the bond of an animal with a human, the monument reads: “The most faithful canine friend ever, epitomizing a dog’s boundless devotion to his master. Throughout the entire year / 1990-1991 / Dżok was seen waiting in vain at the Grunwaldzkie roundabout to be fetched back by his master.”