Last month, Cristine Sardella was at the hospital for a doctor’s appointment when she noticed a dog sitting in the doorway just out front. Stray dogs sadly aren’t an uncommon sight in Brazil where she lives, but there was something peculiar about this particular pup. He just looked so forlorn — yet there was a subtle glint of hopefulness in his eyes.
The dog also seemed insistent on staying where he was.
“He would get up to let people pass by, very politely, and then lay right back down again,” Sardella explained. “He was educated and tame.”
Sardella soon learned that the dog wasn’t really a stray — but rather a faithful pet waiting for someone who would never be returning.
Touched by seeing the dog, Sardella, a lawyer from the town of Novo Horizonte, decided to ask the hospital receptionist about him. That’s when she came to know his heartbreaking story.
The dog belonged to a homeless man who, four months earlier, had been stabbed in a local park. After an ambulance came to pick the man up and rush him to the hospital, the dog chased after. When the man was wheeled inside, the dog settled down at the front door to wait for him to come back out again.
Thus, the dog’s long vigil began.
The man, who clearly meant the world to the dog, had passed away from his injuries — but the pup had no way of knowing it. So, month after month, he’s kept on waiting, gazing into the hospital for any sign of his best friend.
“It’s sad to know that he will never see his owner again and will not understand what happened,” Sardella said. “The only thing left is to wait at the last place where he saw him.”
Hospital staff has been providing food and water for the dog since then, but Sardella hoped more could be done to help him. Having taken in two dogs already, she’s unable to provide a home for him herself, so she decided instead to spread the word on social media. The response was overwhelming.
Shortly after, a local rescuer picked up the dog and carried him to a kennel while arrangements were made to find him a forever home. But before that happened, he escaped.
“He fled across the city,” Sardella said. “He walked over 3 kilometers and returned to the hospital.”
At the hospital door, it seems, is where the dog needs to be for now — but hopefully, he’ll soon realize that it’s OK to move on. In fact, the hospital’s director, Osvaldo Sobrinho, said that a staffer there has already decided to adopt him when the time is right. In the meantime, they are arranging for the dog to be seen by a veterinarian and vaccinated as they continue to earn his trust.
“He will have a very affectionate home with our employee,” Sobrinho said.
Until then, the sweet dog’s fidelity and unending love for his owner continue to reverberate far beyond the site of his tireless vigil.
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