Lucia Helena de Souza wasn’t surprised when a dog showed up in her yard, looking for food. That happens a lot in São Carlos, Brazil, and de Souza did what she’d done many times before. She fed the dog, carving out a portion from the batch she makes for her own adopted dogs and cats. When the dog came back the next night, she fed her again, putting her food in a plastic bag.
Then the dog did something surprising: She stopped eating, picked up the bag of food, and headed back into the night. It happened again and again, and it seemed to de Souza that each time the dog had stopped eating before she was full.
“I realized that she ate and then stared at what was in the bag,” she said in a video made of the duo.
De Souza wondered what the dog was up to. So one night, she pulled on her shoes and followed her.
It was not a safe trip. They crossed roads in pitch darkness, busy highways, and finally, after four miles, ended up at a junkyard.
That’s where the dog left her plastic bag of food for all her friends, the animals of the junkyard.
It turns out the dog, Lilica, had been tasked with the job of bringing food to the other dogs, cats, and chickens who called the place home, and she had performed her job perfectly, thanks to the kindness of de Souza. Apparently she had begun her nightly foraging efforts to feed her own litter, but after they were adopted through the efforts of the junkyard’s owner, Lilica continued along with her job.
And de Souza continued to feed her — for three years and counting. Every night, she prepares the food, ties it up in a plastic bag, and waits at a nearby lot for the dog, who arrives at precisely 9 p.m. After Lilica eats, de Souza ties up the bag, and off the dog goes.
“I don’t travel, I don’t go places and stay for too long because of her, because I know she relies on me,” says de Souza. “It’s a commitment that I have with her, and a commitment she has with me, too, because she comes every day.”
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