Two months after his owner died, a dog in Italy keeps turning up each day at the church she used to attend.
Ciccio, a 12-year-old German shepherd, waits in vain in front of the altar of
the Santa Maria Assunta church in the village of San Donaci in the southern
region of Puglia. He heads to the church as soon as the bells begin to ring each afternoon,
just as he did for years when his owner was alive.
The woman, who was known in local dialect as "Maria tu lu campu" - "Maria of
the fields" – died suddenly in November. Ciccio attended the funeral, following his mistress's coffin as it was
carried into the church.
The dog's devotion has so impressed villagers that they have adopted him as
their own, giving him food and water and letting him sleep in a covered area
outside the church. The local priest, Donato Panna, allows him to sit in front of the altar
during Masses, baptisms and other services. He is now hoping to find a new home for the faithful hound.