A GERMAN shepherd mix, Capitán, has stood guard over his master’s grave for six years. He ran away from home after his master Miguel Guzman, died in 2006. When Guzman’s family visited the grave after the funeral, they found the dog sitting on it. According to The Daily Mail, Capitán has grieved his dead master for six years at the cemetery in the Villa Carlos Paz in central Argentina, The Kuala Lumpur Post quoted several media reports.
Guzman’s family says he brought Capitán home as a surprise present for his 13-year-old son Damian, in 2005. Although the dog was meant as gift for Damian, a special relationship soon blossomed between the dog and Guzman, who died suddenly in March 2006. Guzman’s wife and son say the dog disappeared from home before they returned home from the funeral.
According to the newspaper La Voz, Veronica, Guzman’s widow, said: “We searched for him but he had vanished. We thought he must have got run over and died. The following Sunday we went to the cemetery and Damian recognised his pet. Capitán came up to us, barking and wailing, as if he were crying.”
Veronica continued: “We had never taken him to the cemetery so it is a mystery how he managed to find the place. We went back the next Sunday, and he was there again. This time, he followed us home and spent a bit of time with us, but then went back to the cemetery before it started getting dark. I don’t think he wanted to leave Miguel on his own at night.”
La Voz reports that the cemetery’s director Hector Baccega, said, “He turned up here one day, all on his own, and started wandering all around the cemetery until he eventually found the tomb of his master. During the day he sometimes has a walk around the cemetery, but always rushes back to the grave. And every day, at six o’clock sharp, he lies down on top of the grave stays there all night.”
According to The Sun, Baccega said staff at the cemetery began feeding the dog out of compassion. Dog Heirs reports Baccega said Capitán walks with him through the cemetery during the day but retires to his master’s tomb in the evening and spends the night next to the headstone.
TNT reports that Guzman’s relatives have tried to bring Capitán back home, but each time the dog returns to his master’s grave. According to Oddity Central, the dog follows them home a short distance before he returns to the cemetery. Guzman’s family say they would love to have Capitán return home, but it is clear that he would rather remain by his dead master’s side.
The son of the deceased, Damian, 13, said: ‘I’ve tried to bring Capitán home several times, but he always comes straight back to the cemetery. I think he’s going to be there until he dies too. He’s looking after my dad.”
Oddity Central recalls a similar incident in early 2011 after Brazil was devastated by floods and landslides. A dog, Leao, made headlines when a photo showing him lying next to his dead master’s grave went viral online. The website also recalls the story of a Chinese dog who rebuffed all efforts to make him leave his owner’s graveside.
The Sun reports the famous story of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier, who reportedly guarded the grave of John Gray, his master, for 14 years before he died in January 1872. According to The Sun, a statue and commemorative fountain were built in Edinburgh in honor of the dog. However, “recent Cardiff University research claims Bobby was a publicity stunt by local businesses to drum up tourist revenue…using TWO trained dogs to ‘stand guard’ in the graveyard,” The Sun reports.
The Daily Mail also notes that Capitan’s story is similar that of a Japanese Akita dog, Hachiko, who waited at a Tokyo train station for his master to return home for nine years, beginning in May 1925, after his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, died at work.
Stories of loyalty and devotion of “man’s best friend” never cease to amaze. Dog Heirs reports that Baccega thinks Capitán provides a lesson for humans in loyalty.