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. Morgan's Mama

    ...I actually choked back a sob. How distressing a photo and situation and yet beautiful that such love and loyalty exists. I hope that God blesses them both....and that some kind-hearted soul takes the dog and gives her a good, new home. Wow.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kristin

    The picture made me tear up. Dogs truly do share a special bond with humans. Our German Shepherd was crazy for food. The night my father passed away he wouldn't eat his dinner. Only time the dog never looked at food. Pets do grieve and I hope that dog will find another loving home.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. amanda

    i am an animal lover and do believe that they are smarter than humans and they no when something is wrong or not right...and should be treated like you want to be treated so please somebody take that dog in and care for it because you would want someone to care for you...

    January 17, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bret

    The dog in edinbough scotland was also an officer and won the rights of a human per a judgement. this story goes to show that animals are one hundred times better than the human race as a whole. they communicate we just have to learn to listen i own 4 and all are rescued. that dogs show such undevided love and loalyty to those of us that treat them with love and respect and family give it back. where have we as a race gone so wrong? there are stories of how dogs and yes wolves help us and yet we treat all animals in such poor ways. that football star should have lost everything including his life for involvment with dog fighting yet he get a slap on thr wrist and media time and his life back. this poor animal is showing us how we should live and be remorsefull at the loss of any life. where have we gone wrong?

    January 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. B. A.

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Makes me cry.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cat

    She was that dogs friend/family not owner. There is a difference. I have a siamese in my family named Bob. I do not own him, truth be told if anyone owns anyone; he owns me. He is family not a pet I treat him just like one of my kids. Smarter than most people in the ways that matter. My heart breaks cause that dog lost its mother and best friend all in one stroke. True animal lovers will undertstand exactly what I mean.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Trid

    Looks to me like he's just trying to find an out of the way place to lick his balls.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Marisol

    Dogs don't know any better. That's why they're dogs.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trid

      Wish I could be a dog.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. politically incorrect

    Many years ago our family had a male cat...maltese mix. He was as independent as they come, 'n known as the king of our street. My mother worked as a waitress, down the street from our home. Across the street from our home, was a dog that was less than friendly to his own, much less strangers. From time, to time, he would break free of his chain 'n collar restraint.One night, mom was walkin' home, and she heard something beside her. She stopped, frozen, and saw that it was LeRoy. The next day, she learned that the dog broke loose and bit a guy in the neighborhood, unprovoked. When she left for work, in the daylight hours, from that time on, LeRoy was nowhere to be found. Come time for her to get off 'n walk home, there he'd be. Cats aren't needy, so to speak, but they love deeply and honestly, too.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Shawn

    That's a kind of love that's unbeatable I hope that dog is given a good home. Maybe we should all step back and take a look at how this dogs love is for someone and maybe do the same for one another.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    They are the most loyal creatures on this planet. We don't deserve their love.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • GraceintheHills

      Well said, John.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jumpingatoms

      agreed John...and i agree with others here. I'd adopt this baby in a heartbeat – and I will, if he's still in need of a loving home

      January 17, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      Well put, John. I completely agree.

      January 18, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Li

      Most true words

      January 18, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • lipolady

      There is nothing on this earth liking having your faithful fury friend with you. I will take that loyal and loving dog in we must do this. Your Aunt have real issues. I love to have kisses by my dogs every time I come in the door good night kisses. All they want is our love nothing in return. They feel, hurt, cry, get lonely , so don't think they don't. We must be the voices of the animals.

      January 18, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • hannah01

      Saw this story on the tv news tonight. One of the saddest sights I've ever seen after a natural tragedy.

      January 18, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • 20 Year Veggie

      I also totally agree. I strive to be the person my dogs think I am.

      January 18, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      Very touching and for you animal haters.. go troll els where.. this story had me petting my own pup.. i wish i knew a way to adopt this dog.. it shows true loyalty to the owner.. although i dont think the dog wants to leave.. not yet.. i think the pup is still mourning the loss of its master.. very sad indeed.. at that thought it brings a tear to my eye

      January 18, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • noko

      In the words of my students, "true dat"

      January 18, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Percival

      When i was a kid i had a black and gold german shepherd i named smokey. This dog was the smartest animal i had ever been around. He could open the refrigerator, the front door and close it behind himself so convincingly that you would believe a person came in the house. He was a giant friendly and playful dog but for some strange reason he did not like COPS!!! I don't get into trouble, but i Always got a kick out of that!! LOL!!! I was raised a religious man and do not believe in reincarnation but when i think about this dog i question that. When he died i was devastated my mom felt sorry for me and brought me another it was not the same and soon after vowed not to have another dog it had hurt so bad. but when i seen this picture I now see what I am missing in my life... I miss him.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • ajz

      all they do is love us, and all we do is fock up 🙁 sad

      January 18, 2011 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jaysunstar

      What self deprecating nonsense. It is those that deserve love the least that often need it the most.

      January 18, 2011 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
    • stockzoo

      I hope someone in brazil will adopt him and give him/her the support that he/she needs right now....the dog is heartbroken and lonely and he shouldn't be alone.....I will even chip in to pay for his/her food and medication and all the care if someone adopted him/her
      Humans don't deserve the love and the loyalty we get from these "children of a better god" as i always say

      January 18, 2011 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Well put and i concur! what i find strange is that I feel more saddened by this article than any other news story I have read in a long time

      January 18, 2011 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
    • john sonpull

      how true. i sure hope his deceased owner did something to earn that loyalty. i hope even more someone recognizes that loyalty and adopts him...

      January 18, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
    • john sonpull

      ...sorry..adopts "her"...too quick on the keys this AM...

      January 18, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • brenbrenp

      He must have been a very good dog to that person and that person was very nice to him in return. Someone should adopt the animal before it dies of sadness. Poor puppy

      January 18, 2011 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jo

      OMG- Someone please go rescue that dog now! This pup would be loyal to it's death...much more than I can say about most people I have met.

      January 18, 2011 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      Very well said John.....this picture breaks my heart!

      January 18, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Omar Comin


      January 18, 2011 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Carioca

      Just one piece of good news: Brazilian newspaper "Folha de Sao Paulo" has reported that the poor dog, Leao, has since been adopted by another family in Rio de Janeiro.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Debbie

      I agree with you. I am floored everyday by my 2 dogs devotion to our family. I am humbled.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda Raines

      Well said, John. Very few humans are deserving of the love, loyalty and forgiveness that dogs give us. They truly are amazing beings.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      No, John, WE DO have "dominion-over-animals"–and WE DO deserve their devotion. WE feed them, WE give them homes, WE help them survive. According to a recent U.S. study, dogs "think" we're "super-beings" that can help THEM do "anything." So, YES, we DO deserve their love and devotion. Even the Bible and the Q'uran.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Mayrienne

      Beautiful sentiment John. No one can possibly love me as much as my dogs do and I very much hope they outlive me.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim from Atlanta

      I think this says it best...

      "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself."
      – Josh Billings

      January 18, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Julio

      Immediately reminded me of Hachiko, the most loyal dog in the world. I had the opportunity to visit his statue at Shibuya Station back in 1999 or so. If only we, as humans, would be so loyal.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Malakas

    Dogs are the noblest creatures on this planet. Their unconditional love and loyalty is humbling and beautiful. Why does China brutally and inhumanely torture and kill these creatures (cats too) for their fur?! This MUST end!

    January 17, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taliesin

      Don't you read the news? Many Americans torture dogs just for fun.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • jumpingatoms

      Those who do that are totally sick! China has the worst – for some reason, there are people there capable of the worst things, skinning and boiling live animals. Yes there are animals tortured everywhere, but China seems to commit the worst atrocities to animals.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • shirley

      if China has no proble torturing people I don't think they will think twice about doing it to an animal. Really....

      January 18, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • zoogoo

      how did this thread become a discussion about china? should we also bring up the european commercialization of the human slave trade, the wholesale genocide of native americans, and so forth?

      January 18, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Truthbetold

      why? for the same reason Sarah Palin promotes aerial hunting of wolves. Dogs and wolves are relatives and wolves share with dogs the sense of loyalty to their pack. We are our dogs' pack leaders. So when Sarah dear is offering a reward for a front leg of each wolf killed, she is killing wild dogs.

      January 18, 2011 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. whatswrong

    This just makes me think of all the wonderful, homeless pets at the local animal shelter. Most of them will be euthanized because no one will come and offer them a home. I recently adopted two cats, and was surprised that the five consecutive days I went to the shelter, only one other cat was adopted. Such ashame. If I had rental property, I would only rent to pet owners. A few bad people, who don't know how to raiser their animals, shouldn't ruin it for the rest.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      I completely agree! It is next to impossible to find a pet friendly home here in Missoula, MT and the ones that do allow pets have breed or size restrictions, and charge an arm and a leg for monthly pet rent and a nice large deposit that you will not get back no matter how good of a tenant you are. I would not trust anything to a person who hates animals, they have something mentally wrong with them. And as far as this particular story goes, it is very tragic. I hope this dog gets a wonderful home and I hope her owner rests in peace along with the many others who have died.

      January 18, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Leigh

      But you did something – you adopted! Be proud of doing it. We just adopted a dog from a high kill shelter and she is wonderful. Obviously, I wish I could save them all, but I can't. However, here on the East coast, it seems that every dog I encounter is a rescue – maybe we are making a change.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Lindor

    This image was a little comical at first but then it becomes so captivating and then tragic. It tell us so much of the powerful nature of animals.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • canucken

      What was comical about it? The mass graves in the background? The mud and filth? The lone dog? There's nothing remotely comical about this photo. You're sick and twisted.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      This image was a little comical at first but then it becomes so captivating and then tragic. It tell us so much of the powerful nature of animals.

      How in the F#@K is this image in any way comical? I've never heard of anyone in my 34 years on this planet say an image of a mass grave was comical. You need to checked out, dude...seriously.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • nuffsed

      Seeing a devoted animal grieve is tragedy, not comedy. A small and personal tragedy, but not funny in any way.

      January 18, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Can

      Nothing comical about it.

      Just a dog doing what they do. Just loyal, not stupid for staying there, and grieving until it's done.

      January 18, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • JCizzle

      You're a sick, sick person if you think this was comical in any way, shape, or form.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. saralinesesf

    this the true face of unrequited love. this dog is simply waiting for the person knows and loves. to her all she can smell is her scent. she does not know her beloved friend is dead. this picture is beautiful but my heart breaks for that poor dog. If only the world were this simple.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
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