Dog Survives Brazil Floods & Sits by Owner's Grave for Days (Video)

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The flooding and landslide devastation outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is unfathomably sad no matter how you look at it, but this photo of Leao, the mixed breed dog that refused to leave his owner Cristina Maria Cesario Santana's grave, puts a face on just what a tragedy the country is facing.

For two days, Leao sat beside his owner's grave in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro, the area hardest hit by the flooding. Brazilians are now expecting more rain and more potential landslides. It's the country's worst flood disaster on record and, according to CNN, the death toll has now reached 655 in this mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, northeast of the city.

And while countless efforts have been made to help the humans in this flood, somehow this image of the loyal dog that will never fetch a ball with his owner or sleep on her feet again is one of the most gut wrenching.

To get an idea of how bad it is, see below:

At some point, Leao, the loyal puppy, will have to leave his owner's side, but for now, any of us who have dogs can relate to this story.

Sometimes the sheer magnitude of a news story like this -- hundreds of deaths, thousands made homeless, $72 million worth of rebuilding efforts to come -- can be hard to fathom. It doesn't make it any less tragic, but it's just hard to wrap your head around the devastation in a country far away. Somehow the dog brings it home.

The loyalty of dogs can't be overstated. Even though my dog sometimes makes me insane, the sight of this dog sitting so patiently, waiting for his beloved owner to scratch his ears or rub his belly or give him food and water, is so painful and pathetic, it makes the tragedy tangible.

I remember sitting in a horror movie once and being shocked when the entire theater -- having just watched multiple scenes of mayhem committed against humans -- erupted in screams when a dog was the victim. There is something about dogs and children. They are vulnerable and loving and no one ever wants to see tragedy befall them. 

So, yes, it might seem trite to cry over a dog when so many humans have lost their lives. But anyone who has ever loved a dog knows different. Leao puts a face on this tragedy and his broken heart and undying loyalty is a symbol of all the pain and tragedy in the region.

Our hearts go out to everyone and especially to this dog that will hopefully have someone to take care of him.

Have you been following the flooding?


in the news, natural disasters

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KELLI2L KELLI2L

~  It isn't just dogs....  Last night I watched a TV movie called The Walking Dead (or something like that) and the most horrible part was when the horse the hero was riding on got eaten by the zombies !!!     Most of us are compelled to feel much sorrow for the animals who don't even have a voice so to speak.....   nor do they have human abilities to fight back (to protect themselves)......

Kathleen McBride

@purple rain - They wouldn't leave toddlers to sit at someone's grave. 

Janice Cabral

We helped rescue dogs and cats during the disaster now six months later its all forgotten but there are still 200 of the 1200 saved by one shelter to be adopted. We also have a small shelter and volunteered to help in worst hit places and we have 17 dogs. We were lucky and suffered no physical damage but our business was ruined due to the slump in tourism up here in the mountains. So now due to the flooding we are losing our home and have no idea what to do with 17 rescue dogs including one that was a flood victim. We have spent 10 years helping streetdogs and are now sending out an SOS to save our shelter. The world has forgotten but we still are suffering in other ways from it. See our blog http://www.janeiro-emmy.blogspot.com pictures of floods and the effect on dogs. We need help anyone who can help us avoid being homeless with 17 dogs please help on FB too we are still working as volunteers as the disaster is not over for many

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