Loyal dog waits at Italian church for dead owner

Emily O'Keefe, ninemsn
8:14am January 18, 2013
Tommy waits at the church for his owner.
Tommy waits at the church for his owner.

A faithful dog whose owner died months ago still turns up everyday at her church hoping she will return.

Tommy, a 12-year-old German shepherd, has become a local fixture at the Santa Maria Assunta church in Puglia, southern Italy, the Ill Messaggero newspaper reports.

Every afternoon at 5pm when the church bells chime Tommy heads to the church, as he did with his owner, and goes and lies down at the altar.

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His mistress, who was known locally as Maria tu lu campu – "Maria of the fields" – died suddenly in November.

Tommy was there at her funeral, following her coffin into the church.

The church's priest, Donato Panna, has grown accustomed to the unusual member of his flock and allows Tommy to sit at the altar during his sermons.

Local residents have adopted Tommy as their own and often leave food and water for him.

Tommy was one of four rescue dogs kept by his owner, who lived alone.

All of the dogs, but in particular Tommy, used to follow their mistress as she went about her shopping and daily errands.

Source: Ill Messaggero

Author: Emily O'Keefe, Approving editor: Matthew Henry

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