Capitán, a dog who has remained by his deceased owner’s graveside for the last six years, proves an animal’s love and loyalty transcend the boundaries of life and death. Although he still has a family to go back to, the canine simply refuses to leave his master’s side.
Dogs’ devotion to their human owners never ceases to amaze me. In early 2011, when Brazil was devastated by floods and landslides, we posted the story of Leao, who made international headlines when photos of him lying next to his deceased master’s grave went viral. Later that year there was the story of a Chinese dog who wouldn’t leave his owner’s graveside even when other villagers tried to feed him, and today I came across another heartbreaking tale of canine loyalty. Capitán, a German shepherd from the Argentinian town of Villa Carlos Paz Cordoba, has chosen to remain close to his master, even though he died over six years ago. The man’s wife told La Voz that Capitán disappeared from their home soon after her husband died, and after searching for him, she and her son believed he was either killed by a car or adopted by another family. But when they went to visit her husband at the cemetery, there was Capitán. They couldn’t explain how he had managed to locate the right grave, but there he was, by his master’s graveside.
Photo: La Voz
Capitán’s incredible tale of undying loyalty began in 2005, when Miguel Guzmán brought the small German shepherd home, as a present for his son, Damian. During the short time they spent together, the pup developed a special relationship with Miguel, but on March 24, 2006, disaster struck. Miguel passed away, but apparently Capitán wasn’t going to let a thing like death pull him away from his best friend. He left his home, somehow managed to find Miguel’s grave in the local cemetery, and decided nothing was going to separate them ever again. Although Miguel’s wife Veronica, and his son Damian tried to take Capitán home with them repeatedly during the last six years, it soon became clear he wanted to stay by his owner’s graveside. He would sometimes follow them home a short distance, but eventually he turned back and returned to the cemetery he now considered his home. Damian, now 13, admits he would love to have Capitán return home, but says he understands his immense love for his father.
Photo: La Voz
Hector Baccega, the administrator of the Villa Carlos Paz Cordoba cemetery, told the press that Capitán has won the affection and respect of all the cemetery caretakers, who always make sure he’s properly fed and up-to-date with his immunizations. At one point they even brought in a vet, after Capitán showed up with a broken leg. Baccega says Capitán walks with him through the cemetery every day, but as night approaches, he always returns to Miguel’s graveside and lays his head down next to the headstone. He feels this amazing dog is teaching humans a valuable lesson about cherishing the memory of their loved ones.
Photo: La Voz
This reminds me of the heartbreaking story of Hachiko, the famous Akita Inu who waited for his Japanese owner until the day he died. His story inspired the heartbreaking film “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale“, starring Richard Gere and Joan Allen. The first time I saw this movie, it was dubbed in Spanish, and although I hardly understood a word, it still made me cry like a baby, it’s that powerful. “A wait that lasts a lifetime. Cruel is the fate that allows a creature to yearn reunion but yet not understand the mortality which separates them.” This is a comment posted on a YouTube clip from Hachi that I think best describes the film and Capitán’s story.