After Brazil flooding, loyalty to the dead
January 17th, 2011
06:10 PM ET

After Brazil flooding, loyalty to the dead

As the death toll from devastating flooding in Brazil continues to rise, a single picture drives home the sense of loss.

Leao, a medium-sized brown mutt,  lies next to the grave of her owner, Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died in the catastrophic landslides caused by heavy rain.  This AFP/Getty picture was taken on Saturday, the second consecutive day that the dog refused to leave the woman's grave at the cemetery in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janiero.

Brazilians are bracing for more rain, fearing more landslides after waves of muddy water swallowed towns in the country's worst flood disaster on record.

At least 655 deaths were reported in a mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, northeast of the city of Rio.

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Filed under: Animals • Brazil • Weather
soundoff (563 Responses)
  1. Bob

    A modern day version of Greyfriars Bobby. Tell me that Dogs don't have a heart and soul. Michael Vick can go to..........!

    January 18, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I was thinking just the same thing.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • christine

      he sure should!!

      January 18, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      absolutely

      January 18, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. whatever

    There is no one in that grave. It is the pile of dirt from the last hole dug by the backhoe. Someone stuck a cross in the pile of dirt and snapped the pic. Look at the piles to the right... no markers. look in the photo to the opposite side of the pile of dirt – the direction the dog is facing... no more holes. I hate it when people do crap like this... what a farce

    January 18, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • adnor11

      Look again, dope. There is another grave in the upper middle of the photo that has flowers on it.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • EK

      Not much of a detective are you? The holes are dug by a machine, in a straight line. This may be the first hole dug and filled in, then they probably stopped with burying the dead with the dog hanging around. You can see all the dirt piles are off to the sides of the other holes, none are directly in front. This is a great story, don't post stupid stuff to detract from it!

      January 18, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • kwag

      Dogs can follow scents for miles, so this one probably could smell his owner's scent. Humans are so skeptical about everything. Everything has to have an angle or a ulterior motive. Dogs and cats just accept. Their loyalty can kill them, but they'd rather die than be disloyal. As far as the posts by people who don't trust people who don't like animals, that's pretty narrow thinking. I was attached by a bull dog as a child and chewed up pretty badly. It took me years to not be afraid of dogs. You have to want to.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Adam

    Evidence of a sentient being mourning the loss of a loved one. Next time you refer to a being as an "animal," remember that humans are animals too.

    Humans are not the only beings on this planet that can feel love, loss, joy and pain.

    Sad but also beautiful story.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Angie

    I'd adopt that dog if only I knew how. My 15 year old golden retriever passed away recently and I would love to give this sad dog a happy home.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Angie, your thoughts and heart are in the right place. Adopt a dog locally from your local shelter or Pet Finders, that way you honor your dog that died, and in honor of this one and pray that somebody in Brazil, amidst the chaos they are still facing, takes pity on that poor dog and takes it in.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Shannon

      Please try! Call Oprah, call Ellen, call the international SPCA, call Cesar Millan.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • insane1

      Trying to bring pets from overseas requires long waiting periods at customs. They have to check for various diseases and such. In the meantime the dog might be locked up in a holding facility with any number of other animals for 6 months or more. I suggest you adopt from your local shelter.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Bree

      Look on the internet for Pet Finders and there should be local listings that foster abused and homeless animals. That is where I got mine and she is so sweet.

      January 19, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Visualale

    I just read this morning the pup was adopted by a family in Rio. But he ended up escaping and now he is lost in the big city...

    January 18, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Roberto Lucena

    Just to explain, "Leao"(leão) means Lion, the animal.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. juanita

    such an human emotion, that was very touching from a dog showing such felling for a lost love one.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. TRH

    This heartbreaking scene is what I remind myself of everytime a pet of mine dies. They live shorter lives than us because they can't understand our deaths. As sad as it is to lose a pet at least we can understand. This is so sad to me.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jeffrey

    Reminds me of this: http://progressiveboink.com/justin/Futurama/futurama-bark30.jpg

    The only time I ever cried over a cartoon.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. charlsie

    WOW...Dogs are GREAT!!!! What a wonderful / sad story! Humans could learn from this. Please support the animal shelters. I have adopted 3 dogs and they were ALL wonderful, loyal, loving dogs. God Bless This Dog!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. TOO MANY JERKS!

    TO JEN

    I DON'T LIKE WHEN PEOPLE SHOVE THEIR KIDS AT ME BUT I DON'T HATE THEM AND DON'T KNOCK PEOPLE WHO DO – SOME PEOPLE LIKE CHICKEN SOME LIKE FISH WE ARE NOT ALL ALIKE I WOULDN'T HURT ANYONE EXCEPT IF THEY WERE HURTING AN ANIMAL ESPECIALLY A DOG OR A HUMAN – YOU I WOULD LET ROT IN HELL YOU HAVE NO COMPASSION OR FEELING THAT YOU WOULD SAY SUCH ROTTEN THINGS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO "CARE" AND "LOVE" THEIR ANUMALS- OH BUT I BET YOU DONT YOU ARE A LONELY LOSER!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. Debra

    I feel bad for the dog.. wonder if someone will give it a great home as it deserves.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. PeterD

    We are not Human but Humanimals.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. PeterD

    Do not get fooled by the picture. This is just a Photo Op by CNN reporter purposely taken for Humanimals Debate.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • whatever

      a fake photo t that... there is no one in that grave. It is the pile of dirt from the last hole dug by the backhoe. Someone stuck a cross in the pile of dirt and snapped the pic. Look at the piles to the right... no markers. look in the photo to the opposite side of the pile of dirt – the direction the dog is facing... no more holes. I hate it when people do crap like this... what a farce

      January 18, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Carrie

    If there was any way to get the dog to me, I would love to adopt it.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Papy

      You've GOT to be my daughter in Norman. Let me know.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Patricia

      I'm sorry to say but you're a idiot, this dog was rescued
      and adopted, it took more than 1 person to take this dog
      out of this grave, he cried when people tried, the 305 in
      the cross is the number of victim Maria Cristina Cesario
      Santana , the owner, she and other 3 people died and
      Leao the dog help the firefighter to recover the bodies.
      If you have watched , Brazils national television, you
      would be able to see the dog, not wanting to leave
      it's owner.
      Besides, lets get real amonsgt all this tragedy, who would
      care for faking a dog in a grave, only a person like you
      would think you something like that.I'm sorry for you.
      Also for you to know, there are thousands of people, helping
      humans and animals at this moment.Amen.

      January 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patricia

      I'm sorry this email was not ment to you but sent by
      mistake, was to someone called Peter, that said the
      photo was fake, it's not, the ones who have follow
      the story , know that, anyway, he is not adopted and
      well.
      Best

      January 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
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