CORRIERE FIORENTINO, LA STAMPA, LA REPUBBLICA (Italy)
ROME - Meet Tommy and Toldo, two Italian pets deeply attached to their owners. In fact, they're still searching for them, months after they died.
Tommy is a German Shepard who lives in the town of San Donaci in the southern region of Puglia. He goes to Mass every day in search of his owner, Maria, because that’s the place he last saw her, reports La Stampa.
Ever since sneaking in to her funeral in the parish last November, Tommy has come back to the church every day since -- perhaps hoping to see Maria again.
Affectionately known by the congregation as “Ciccio” (pudgy), he comes to the church each morning and lies at the alter beside the priest, also attending weekend weddings and baptisms. When he sees a hearse go by, he follows along as part of the procession.
The priest Donato Panna looks after him, but they are looking for someone to give him a permanent home because at the rectory they can’t keep him.
Maria loved her companion and they went everywhere together. He waited outside shops for her -- and outside the church, too. La Repubblica writes that the first time Ciccio went into the church was at her funeral and he crossed the threshold sadly and slowly. The priest did not have the heart to chase him away.
"I had just lost my dog -- he was hit by a car," said Mayor Dominico Serio "and a few days ago while I was walking with my wife, we came across Ciccio and we immediately thought of adopting him. When we called him, he came and gave us his paw- he is so friendly. On the way home we discovered that everyone in town had already adopted him, feeding him what they could! I didn’t have the heart to take him away from the community. He’s everyone’s dog.”
Toldo, a cat from the Tuscan town of Pistoia, is another pet who also misses his dearly departed owner, Renzo -- and indeed, visits his grave every day, often leaving tokens of affection.
Renzo’s widow, Ida, told Corriere Fiorentino that often she would go in the afternoon to see her husband’s grave with Toldo and people would tell her that Toldo had already been there that morning, carrying acacia branches in his mouth to the grave.