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. Sharp

    The perfect answer to those who are mean to animals.

    January 18, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. SJ

    Heartbreaking. I hope someone takes that loyal dog in and loves her like the owner would have.

    January 18, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    ....I just gave my 7 month old golden a hug 🙂

    January 18, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    This heart felt story of loyalty reminds me of a dog my sister and brother in-law acquired years ago from the home of their parish priest after he had passed away. Months after the priests funeral and buriel ,they went to viisit the out of town gravesite for the fiirst time and took their new dog Pat (named after St Patrick and the church the deceased priest had presided over) with them. The dog was let out of the car and he bollted right to the gravesite of the dead priest and started whimpering.. My sister and brother-in-law would have had to check around to find the gravesite if Pat the dog had not gone directly to it.

    January 18, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. mark m

    why dosent someone dig her up,ive heard of dogs returnig to graves when the person was not really dead

    January 18, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jacknyd

    Now if only people would be as Loyal as that dog.! Makes me believe that the Animal is more human than most Humans.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Sue W

      You took the words right out of my mouth! We could learn a LOT from the animal kingdom. Loyalty, kindness, unconditional love...the list goes on and on.

      January 18, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • SueRH

      Animals are BETTER than humans!

      January 18, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Gizelle

      Animals are more human than humans

      January 18, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • rhismom

      Human beings....worst. species. ever.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason M

      you gota problem with recycling duh?

      January 18, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Nan

      duh – your dog's s**t is probably healthier to eat than much of the food at some fast food places.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      My sentiments exactly. Peace. ♥

      January 18, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      Pets are forever... Dogs know when you are sad, hurt or happy and their loyalty is something we should all strive for. There is a movie out called Haichi – For dog lovers, who know their dog "understands" them. Balled my eyes out – BUT what a movie.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • saganhill

      Thats why I have more respect for animals than most humans.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • sandra

      The relationship I have had with all my dogs throughout my life I will cherish in my heart. I have treated my dogs as my friends, as well as my kids. Just the same as one might treat a 5 year old kid. I love them all so much. I get excited to open my door when I get home, as they will make me feel like a queen. My friends admire this in me. Dogs rule..... I feel so sorry for that dog.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • heitzmidan

      Not all animals are this loyal. Trying living with baboons. They can be so cruel to each other. The loyalty of dogs for the alpha has been passed down from wolves.

      January 18, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • zaira silvia

      PLEASE SEND FOOD TO: ONG Combina (Companhia dos Bichos e da Natureza)

      Rua José Eugênio Muller, 36, Centro –
      CEP: 28610-010
      ...Friburgo – Rio de Janeiro;

      January 19, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • stacell

      They are more humane than us...

      January 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jerry

    I wish my wife loved me and showed me half the compassion that my dogs do. They are all forgiving and don't complain constantly about every little meaningless thing.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • JC-VA

      Maybe you need to get another wife.

      January 18, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • jerry


      January 18, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • CCM

      The book ALL should read is "Who Moved Mt Cheese" If you are in an unhappy relationship, spot in your life, unemployment, what have you, WHY?? WHAT are you waiting for?? No one is going to bring you cheese, you HAVE to go get it yourself

      January 18, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • CCM

      Then Jerry, OBVIOUSLY you need a better lawyer than she has.

      January 18, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • SueRH

      Life is too short, cut her loose. You won't lose your business, that's ridiculous.

      January 18, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |

      Plan ahead Jerry. Start hiding funds now. Plan your escape. The threat of insolvency is no reason to stay in a relationship. Are you happy?

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

      plant a good looking guy to seduce your wife. then divorce her on the grounds of infidelity.

      January 18, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • bobkat

      REally? Do you show HER the same? The love you take is equal to the love you make.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • w frampton

      Jerry, buy a dog 🙂

      January 18, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Ames Wolff

      Jerry, if you live in a community property state you may have to split your assets 50/50. You may have to pay alimony. Go seek the advice of a good civil attorney. Don't live in a loveless marriage. Life is too short...get out while you can and then perhaps re-evaluate your motivation towards relationships. Good Luck! PS...then get a Golden Retriever.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • ApeHanger


      If I were you I'd sleep with one eye open. Any spouse who says something like that is up to no good.

      As for companionship, may I recommend a dog? A pooch will love you as much as you love him/her, will never take you for all s/he can get, and will never be judgmental or constantly complain.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • kwag

      Maybe you treat the dogs better than you do your wife. Think of all the compliments you give your dogs, how happy you are to see them, how you'd do anything for them, etc. Politically incorrect, but accurate anyway, 'don't blame the arrow.' It takes two to make it bad or good. You choose.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Sleeping Beauty

      Jerry, After reading your comment I can see what she sees.You shouldnt air your dirty laundry for all to see. No marriage is perfect and no one person is perfect either. So instead of taking the time and energy to vent on here to complete strangers who are only hearing one side of the story, wont you try to work on your marriage or get the divorce so you will both be happy. You can always build up your practice again. If your good at it, it will not take you long at all. And no, I am not a divorced woman. I am happily married to a wonderful man of 17 years.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Kelly


      If you've had your practice for 25 years and only been married to your wife for 6 years, there is no way she can take your practice and she cannot get EVERYTHING! Please seek the advice of a good divorce attorney and move on.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      Generally it takes two to make a bad marriage, but there are rotten people out there from both genders. Like other posters said, plan ahead, seek a good attorney, and get out.

      Life is WAY to short to be miserable.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • jerry

      No Kwag, I give her everything, do housework, cook, feed her horses , take her on trips, constantly tell her how beautiful she is, give her foot and back rubs,etc etc, Maybe that's the reason she is so miserable. I guess women love rednecks who treat them like garbage.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Be Quiet

      I really don't think this is the proper place to work on Jerry's marriage problems.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Pimp Hand


      Open an offshore corporation, and start sending monthly "advising fees" that way. Be sure to invoice yourself from offshore, to have all docs ready when the storm begins. Slowly drain all funds away. After a while you can either bankrupt your firm, or make zero income. Even if you get a divorce, she'll get 1/2 of nothing. Once the smoke clears and she remarries the next idiot, you open new practice with offshore funds. Easy? no, but better than wasting away the only 1 life we get pleasing that horrible wife of yours.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry's Wife

      Stop your whining you little b!t@h and grow some balls.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry's Lawyer

      Call me – We gotta talk.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • charlie Holman

      Lock your dog in the trunk of your car for an hour and she will be so happy to see you when you let her out. Try that with your wife!

      January 19, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry's future sister-in-law

      My sissy feels the same way Jerry. Her dogs are her everything. She says she'd rather spend time with those dogs then any man. I think you two might make the perfect match! She's out there Jerry. Don't give up hope!

      January 19, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. JC-VA

    This picture breaks my heart.....

    January 18, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Michelle


      January 18, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Yes it does.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Mine, too. I'm trying not to cry because I'm at work.

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

      Very sad, heart breaking.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Marti

      I agree 🙁

      January 18, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. Hockeyson

    I love dogs! I watched some footage of a Brazilian woman being rescued from on top of a roof, desperately clinging to her medium sized dog. The floodwaters were flowing like rapids. As she was being pulled off the roof she lost her grip on the dog. My heart broke as I watched her dog wash away. This picture of "Leao" breaks my heart even more. So many people and animals lost in these floods.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • mastablasta

      To all of the animal lovers on here, rent the movie 'Hachi' w/ Richard Gere. Talk about loyalty, and its based on a true story. Very touching movie.

      January 18, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • ja

      I saw the movie "Hatchi". It was so moving. I couldn't stop crying.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Eleanor

      I saw that piece of film too. I was in tears. She tried so hard to hold on to that little dog.

      January 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ro

      I saw "Hachi" as well. Love it and I saw it way before it became popular. Not all great films are show in theaters.

      January 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff Wilson

    It does provide proof to people that believe dogs and cats don't have feelings.

    This dog probably doesn't understand what is going on..or why his/her Mom has died...but the dog realizes that he/she that his/her Mom has died...and the dog has nowhere else to go but stay with his/her Mom. And will probably be sad the remaining years of the dog's life.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Reply'd

      Don't lump dogs and cats into the same category. Dogs show emotion, house-cats have no feelings...and smell terrible.

      January 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BlondeVeo_2

    This picture just makes my eyes tear up. What a loyal creature; Mans Best Friend.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    I saw a quote some time ago.. ...... I hope to become as good of a person as my dog believes I already am. All of the phsyc doctors and all of their education and studies combined can not help a person more than a dogs love.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • kwag

      or a cat's love. I'm not a dog fan, but I do like them. But, over the years, my various cats have saved my life twice (gas leak and earthquake), loved me no matter what, given me incredible joy and hilarious memories and are quite happy to just stay next to me. The picture of this dog is the epitome of how we should treat each other. Unconditional love and a desire to please. We get what we give. The owner clearly gave her puppy everything.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Peaches

    People on here just need to shut up already. This is a touching photo and the situation in Brazil is both tragic and sad for the humans and the pets.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • LS

      What happened in Brazil is a terrible tragedy with so many human lives lost in the landslides, but I don't know if you notice, the focus of the story is about Leao the dog loyalty to her owner, loyalty is a trait reserved for humans, and your lack of compassion and understanding is appalling.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • stacell

      Tragic for mostly pets. People choose to live where they live, not the pets

      January 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Teresa

    So heartbreaking.... :*(***

    January 18, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. steve

    I would trust a dog before any human being. Those who dislike dogs are weird. I distance myself from such people.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |

      Me too!

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

      I totally agree with you, Steve. If a person has no compassion for animals, you can be sure those people are not the kind you want in your life.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      I've always been a little afraid of people who didn't like animals.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • JB

      So I'm guessing that those kinds of people also include most muslims

      January 18, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Pink

      I agree. In my opinion, if someone doesn't like animals, then they have no compassion.

      January 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
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