Stray Dog Killed in Hit and Run. 4 Grieving Dogs Block Traffic to Protect His Body


Stray dogs are a common sight in many places. Whether they’re the castoffs of bored humans, the products of castoffs, or pets who have merely gotten out and lost their way, they’re familiar.

In some other countries they’re seen as a nuisance more than anything else. In the states, if you see a little fluffy thing running along the street, there’s a pretty good bet it’s a wayward domestic.

You’ve probably even encountered a few yourself. Maybe you keep a leash and some dog food handy in your car, just in case.

Dogs are loyal animals to begin with, so seeing them out on their own, on the streets, is doubly sad: you worry for their safety, and you worry for their family.

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But when family is not available, they make their own. In the absence of a comforting human presence, they turn to one another for comfort, and their loyalty is intense.

Five dogs in Lanzhou, China, illustrated this recently when one of the five was hit and left in the street. Though the other four had made it across safely, they turned back, unwilling to leave their companion alone, even if he had already passed.

Many people find these displays proof that dogs grieve and feel loss — they look like mourners, attending the funeral of a friend. They’re loyal, compassionate, and steadfast.

Others, including some witnesses of this scene, are of a different opinion. They believe that dogs simply do not have the capacity to understand death, and are instead waiting for their friend to get up so they can continue.

The sight is a haunting one, either way. They are clearly not ready to leave their friend’s side, whether they understand the finality of death or not. They refused to move, even when cars drove dangerously close to them.

Despite their best efforts to revive their companion, he was gone. They finally got out of the road when someone moved the body to the side, out of the way, where they’d be in less danger.

This sort of behavior is not limited to dogs. There are other well-documented cases of larger animals doing what can only be described as mourning their lost loved ones.

One woman recently came across a similarly haunting scene one morning as she came across a pony that had been hit by a car, and she witnessed its herd gathered around.

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The mare had been hit by a car Jan. 8 in New Forest National Park in England. The ponies’ owner said they were unable to move the body until morning due to a lack of light.

The dead pony, Hazelhill Scrap, was mourned all night by her tightknit herd, which included her mother and half-sister.

Simmons, the woman who happened across the scene, reminded people that these ponies have more rights to the roads than most and motorists need to slow down as they drive through the park.

Barbara King, an emerita professor in anthropology, said it was correct to assume the horses were grieving. “Horses feel deeply — joy as well as grief — and they think about their lives.”

Many have commented in both cases that the animals are acting better than some humans, and that we could learn a lesson or two from the devotion that animals show one another.

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