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. avillmac

    Brazilian media said that dog is the grave digger, not the dead. Always inventing stories and emotions!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. don't anthropomorphize

    The dog is just waiting for the bones

    January 18, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lilly Ann

    It breaks my heart to see it. I love animals so much. My husband wishes I loved him like my cats. I hope someone takes in the dog and gives it love and hugs everyday as his owner did. When I die, I want to go to "rainbow heaven" with all my animal friends.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ME

    This story made me go give my dog a big hug. I hope this one gets rescued by somebody and gets lots of love.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ME

    i had another dog a long time ago. When I was in the hospital 6 days after having surgery, my dog would not eat. She began eating again the day I came home from the hospital. When she died she had become blind and was suffering from kidney failure and could barely walk. I was not home at the time she died. She somehow made her way into my walk-in closet and died lying across my shoes. My heart still hurts for the dog. I cried and cried when I found her because I was not there with her when she went. Truly man's best friend.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Amar

    Heartening to see the dog besides the grave. I dont have a dog and will try hard not one in future and make its life hell by enclosing in a human home just for the sake of that loyalty and for my mental well being.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. 4Dogs

    Nicole Parks – Has anyone rescued this poor dog yet? I am sure there are many of us who want to know!

    January 19, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. animal_activist

    Stephanie (comment #9), it's "bawled" your eyes out; but I like the sentiment. Many people have said viz "how humans treat humble creatures is a testament to the state of culture." I'll go further and say that this is not a relativistic idea. All creatures are to be treated with dignity, even those ordained to be dinner.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Charlie Carter

    No greater love than that.


    January 19, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. stwebb

    I am a mail carrier, and there is a dog that has hated me from day one. I tried to befriend this animal to no avail. Obviously someone did some harm to this dog in the past and it hates me totally. Even the owner tried to introduce the dog to me to no avail. I hate stupid animals...but not all dogs are stupid. There's another dog on my route that adores me. Dogs are like people, some are just stupid!

    January 19, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. stwebb

    As a mail carrier, I hear this all the time...My dog doesn't bite! That's garbage...if your dog has will bite. Now it might not bite you...I see folks talking to each other (thinking the dog is somehow tuned in on the conversation), but the only one paying attention to me (the mail carrier) is the dog! Dog lovers are an amazing breed! I'm sure they will be offended by this nugget of truth!

    January 19, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. maary

    I just gave my loyal little buddy a extra hug~

    January 19, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mary from Louisiana

    People can learn a lot about love and devotion from dogs! An amazing photo! And to think, humans can be so cruel to them!

    January 19, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Angel

    This seriously sounds like a made up story, you just happen to come across a homeless dog that is taking a break in a random yard that happens to be a cementery. Oh btw here is a picture of the recoleta cementery in Buenos Aires.
    where bunch of cats live, they probably are waiting for their owners right ??? LOL right .

    Sorry but seems like a fake story

    January 19, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. Boris Rio

    CNN got it all wrong, from the name of the dog till it's ownership.
    'Caramelo' actually belongs to a cemetery worker, but the Associated Press photographer was clever enough to snap this picture and make news of it.

    January 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
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