A German Shepherd Dog who was adopted by a woman as a stray, has been attending the church they visited together every day since she died. The loyal dog named Ciccio was rescued by 57-year-old Maria Margherita Lochi after she found him abandoned in a field near her home in San Donaci near Brindisi, Italy.
The 7-year-old dog was her faithful companion. Locals said that Maria spent her life adopting stray animals but she was particularly close to Ciccio who would walk with her to church every day. The priest allowed Ciccio to sit and wait by Maria's feet during service.
So when she died two months ago, Ciccio joined mourners at her funeral service. He followed after Maria's coffin as it was carried into the Santa Maria Assunta church. Since then he appears at the same church, arriving when the bell rings out to mark the beginning of services, as he did for years with Maria.
According to the Daily Mail, Father Donato Panna said: ''He's there every time I celebrate Mass and is very well behaved - he doesn't make a sound, I've not heard one bark from him in all the time he has been coming in."
"He used to come to Mass with Maria and he was obviously devoted to her - I let him stay inside as he was always so well behaved and none of the other parishoners ever complained to me."
"He's still coming to Mass even after Maria's funeral, he waits patiently by the side of the altar and just sits there quietly. I didn't have the heart to throw him out - I've just recently lost my own dog so I leave him there until Mass finishes and then I let him out."
Villagers have been moved by the dog's devotion and give him food and water and let him sleep in the covered area outside of the church. Father Panna said, "Everyone looks out for him and leaves food for him - although it would be nice to find a proper home for him." He is hoping to find a new home for the loyal dog.
Photos via Facebook
Ciccio died in his sleep at 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. According to Maria Lochi’s son, 13-year-old Tommy was taken to the veterinarian on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013. Italian newspapers reported that Ciccio died in order to be with Maria Margherita Lochi.
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