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Stray dogs stand guard over fallen comrade

Stray dogs make their way to pay tribute to their dead friend. dog-sad
© Video Breakin - YouTube

A squadron of loyal strays have paid tribute to a fallen friend by standing guard by his corpse for nearly a month.

By G. John Cole , 22 Mar 2019

The deceased appears to have been hit by a motor vehicle, in the village of Qingyang, in the Gansu Province of north-west China.

Thoughtless motorists

Video footage shows local hounds loitering in the area of the hit-and-run crime, where they apparently mourned their comrade for several weeks. 

Pear Video released the footage, which includes an interview with a villager who had been disturbed by the dogs’ barking. It seems she had walked too close to their deceased friend and they were barking to warn her away. The dogs finally stayed for so long that they left ‘vigil’ marks where they had remained in the same spot over weeks of changing weather.

The dog has now been buried by that same woman, Pear reports.

Good grief

Bereaved dogs standing guard over their fallen friends have become something of a regular news item recently, with footage of such tributes emerging from China, Texas, and beyond.

In a study of domestic pets who lost their furry roommates, “One of the most common behaviors observed in dogs was to continually check the places where their lost housemate normally napped or rested,” writes dog shrink Stanley Coren on Pyschology Today.

But when dogs are allowed to ‘grieve’ properly, they may heal more quickly:

“One particularly interesting finding,” continues Coren, “is that some animal behaviourists believe that the grief response in dogs can be reduced if the animal has a chance to view their deceased companion's body.”

And it’s not just other dogs for whom surviving animals grieve. Stories of bereaved pets loitering near their human companions’ graves are commonplace.

“When an owner passes away before her pet, it can be a confusing, sad, and difficult period, even if arrangements have been made for the animal to be taken care of by someone else,” certified dog behaviourist Russell Hartstein tells the American Kennel Club.

“Dogs are highly intuitive and sensitive, more than people give them credit for,” agrees Jme Thomas, executive director at Motley Zoo Animal Rescue.