A dog who watched over his owner's grave for more than a decade has died in the same cemetery where he stood guard for so long. It is hoped authorities will also allow for him to be buried near his master.
Capitan, a 16-year-old German Shepherd mix, was found dead after a period of declining health, local media reported on Tuesday (20 February). He had been well-known in the Argentine town of Villa Carlos Paz for his undying loyalty to owner Miguel Guzmán, who passed away in 2006.
Guzmán gifted the dog to his 13-year-old son Damien in 2005 but, upon his death, Capitan went missing from the family home. He was seemingly gone for good, until a week later when the family went to pay their respects at Guzmán's grave and found Capitan.
Guzmán's widow Veronica previously told the Cordoba newspaper she did not know how the dog found her husband's grave.
"We searched for him but he had vanished," she said. "We thought he must have got run over and died. The following Sunday we went to the cemetery and Damian recognized his pet. Capitan came up to us, barking and wailing, as if he were crying.
"We had never taken him to the cemetery so it is a mystery how he managed to find the place. We went back the next Sunday, and he was there again. This time, he followed us home and spent a bit of time with us, but then went back to the cemetery before it started getting dark... I don't think he wanted to leave Miguel on his own at night."
Damian tried to take the dog home several times but he always went straight back to the cemetery to "look after" his father.
According to cemetery director Hector Baccega, Capitan just turned up one day and wandered around until stopping at his master's tomb. He often strolled around the cemetery during the day but was always back at the grave by 6pm, and stayed there all through the night.
Capitan guarded the grave for almost 12 years. Cemetery florist Maria Clot told local media: "I never saw such loyalty."
The canine was found dead this week in a bathroom at the cemetery after a period of struggle with his health, including poor vision. Clot, who was in charge of giving him medication towards the end of his life, said: "He used to sleep in his master's grave, but at the end he almost did not go up because of the problem with his hip, he was very weak."