Lao Pan, 68, lived alone in a small house in the village of Panjiatun, China. His only companion: a yellow dog. Pan died earlier this month, and although he had no close relatives, he has been visited constantly. His lone visitor: his trusty dog.
The dog went without eating for seven days as he watched over his owner’s grave. Only once has the dog been lured away, and it was just for a quick bite.
“I saw the dog when I was working on the field, and I called him, and wanted to bring him back home, because I also have a dog,” a man said in an interview that ran on the BBC. “I gave him a steamed bun when he came to my home. The dog caught the dog and ran back. I caught him, but he ran even faster to the tomb, and stayed there.”
It’s a touching display of loyalty, and perhaps hope that his owner will come back from the ground where he last saw him, or where his scent lingers. I wonder what is going through this loyal dog’s mind. Does he know Lao Pan is never coming back? Does he just want to be near, to be next to his best friend? Does he hope Pan will return from under all that dirt?
Fortunately, villagers have started bringing the dog food and water. They’re planning on building him a kennel at the site. It doesn’t sound like he wants to be adopted any time soon.
What a story. It’s reminiscent of Hachiko waiting at the train station for years after his master died, and more so of Greyfriars Bobby, the Edinburgh dog who was reported to have kept a 14-year vigil at his owner’s graveside. (The Greyfriars Bobby story has recently been labeled a marketing scam designed to attract tourists 150 years ago. I hate to believe that’s true. If it is, as least this Chinese dog shows that loyalty really can transcend life.)
The video below shows the dog in action, but a more detailed video, showing Pan’s very modest home, and more of the dog, appears on BBC News China but is not embeddable so I can’t include it here.