They were friends until the end — and then afterward.
A small dog stood vigil beside the dead body of its owner after the latter was killed by a hit-and-run driver while cycling on the California coast last Thursday.
The victim — as yet identified only as a white male aged about 50 — rode a black bicycle north on gorgeous Highway 1 near Santa Cruz that night. In a crate affixed to the bike was his dog, which Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter officials have identified as most likely a Cairn Terrier mix.
Sometime that night, “the victim and his bicycle were pushed off the right shoulder and down an embankment where he suffered fatal injuries,” according to the CHP, as reported by NBC-Bay Area.
A passerby spotted the man’s body, the damaged bike, and the dog in the underbrush on Friday morning and called 911, according to the Silicon Valley Mercury News. Broken headlight debris indicated that the man had been struck by a vehicle, which officials believe might have been a green sedan or SUV. Investigators arrived to find the dog standing vigil by the dead man’s side after having stayed there loyally all night.
Finally separated from his friend, the dog was picked up by the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter for evaluation.
Do dogs in these situations know that their beloved people are not simply asleep? Can they smell death? What do they think about while waiting for some kind of help to arrive?
Last October, a mixed breed named Lucky accompanied hiker Joseph Quen into California’s Trinity Mountains for what was supposed to be a five-day hunting trip. Nearly two weeks later, rescuers found Lucky protecting Quen’s dead body deep in the woods, according to KSDK-TV.
That same month, a boater went missing on a South Carolina lake. Russell Sandlin was last seen alive “getting into his boat with his dog” at Lake Murray, according to WXII-TV.
Sandlin’s boss asked the Sheriff’s Office to perform a welfare check after Sandlin failed to show up for a meeting or answer his phone. Searchers found his body among some tree limbs, where he was apparently thrown after his boat ran aground in a shallow cove. There were no signs of foul play.
“Searchers said Sandlin’s Weimaraner, Sadie, was trying to remove the branches and was licking her owner’s face.”
If that’s not love, what is?
California bike lane by Shutterstock.com