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. Ellie Ross

    This goes deeper than loyalty. When I was working the site of Hurricane Katrina- there was a dead man in a tree (after floodwater recessed) and a black lab. The man had been dead for some time. The dog guarded this man's body with such intensity inspite of being weak and starving for two weeks. Admirable

    January 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Edson

    This scene is heartbreaking as it was that of the old lady who was holding onto a rope with her pet in her arm but was unable to save him. The following day after her rescue she said in an interview she just couldn't save him and cried a lot, because she happens to be the owner of an animal shelter here in Brazil which looks after more than 500 dogs, at least I've been told that the others are ok. The chances for this dog to be adopted are slim although people of Teresópoplis and Nova Friburgo, the destroyed cities, are doing their best to shelter the homeless survivors and the abandoned animals, but it's very difficult not to overlook one or another, the city cemetery is beyond its capacity, with people being buried even during the night. The displays of solidarity in the state of Rio de Janeiro are just touching but saving as many as we can is just a miracle, so I pray that the Lord will save this little pet as well as those who are in need, humans or not.

    January 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Patrick

    Very sad , God bless

    January 18, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    For the China-bashers here: Give the Chinese a break. If God didn't want us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat.

    January 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lh

    another reason why dogs are awesome! i hope he will be OK.

    January 18, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rebekah Wiseman

    I am interested to find out more information about this loving, loyal dog. Does she have anywhere else to go? With national publicity, I bet she could find a home. We have two dogs and two kids. For a dog that loves family that much we may have room for another dog.

    January 18, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jason

    Without reading all the comments, can anyone say if anything is being done to help Leao?

    January 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Diana

    It's such a strong emotional photo. I hope that somehow, someone will give this dog a good and loving home again.

    January 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rebecca

    I know there are so many poor Brazilians that need help through this, but I hope that someone saves that sweet dog and gives her another loving home.

    January 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. That's cold

    Alright, who buried the steak bone under the cross?

    January 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. T. Lee


    January 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. couldubanydumber?

    Why can't people look at a photo and just not say anything at all? Just shut up, all of you.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lilly Ann

      I agree.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bree

      Why did you even read the story and then make a stupid ass comment????

      January 19, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. marianna68

    And we are suppose to be the species with the most compassion. Sometimes I wonder. Hope this dog indeed finds a good home. And yes, all those graves are immensely sad to look at.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BP

    I hope the pup is adopted...this breaks my heart. Dogs are amazing.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anne

    This is so sad it is amazing what dogs will do for their owners. It makes me miss my dog.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
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