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A legend about a dog’s loyalty

In summer 1992, an elderly man with a mixed-breed dog, resembling a small German Shepherd with floppy years, was crossing the busy Grunwaldzkie Roundabout in Krakow. At some point the man staggered and fell down. He was soon surrounded by passers-by. An ambulance was called. The doctor diagnosed a heart attack and the man was brought into the ambulance and the dog, which was anxiously running around, was left behind. Unfortunately, despite resuscitation, the man died in the car. The story not unheard of, but it was at this moment that quite another one began. The story of a yearlong ordeal of a dog, left behind while his dying master was driven away.

In the beginning, he wandered aimlessly in the vicinity of the site of the incident, unable to understand what had happened to his owner. Escaping from passing cars, he ran to and fro, not knowing what to do. It lasted many hours. Nobody cared about the dog, drivers cursed him. Night came, traffic eased, and the dog did not leave. Next morning the dog was there. Another day passed, and another and the dog was still there, choosing the lawn in the very middle of the roundabout as a place to sleep and rest. Hundreds of cars and tens of trams went passed him every hour. The dog remained on his post. A week passed, than another. Neither thunderstorms nor sweltering heat could make him go. At night, when the streets were quieter, he sought food in dustbins at the nearby tram stops.

Finally, Krakow Animal Shelter was called. A few attempts were made to catch the dog and take him to the shelter but they were unsuccessful. Dżok, because that is how he came to be called, cleverly evaded the pursuers and came back to his post. He became thin and dirty but he never stopped waiting for his late master to come back.

Weeks and months went by. Rainy autumn was followed by cold and snowy winter. Dżok became part of the landscape and people came to Grunwaldzkie Roundabout on purpose, just to see him. Someone built an improvised kennel for him on the lawn. Many fed him but he was careful; he snapped at the food and ran away instantly.

He trusted only one person, an elderly lady, who live in the neighbourhood and regularly brought him food. It was Mrs Maria Miller. She was not well-off, but she shared with Dżok what she had. Thanks to her help, the dog survived the frosty winter, never leaving the place where he saw his master for the last time.

Dżok became more and more popular. Newspapers wrote about him, radio programs were devoted to him, his photograph was once on the cover of a popular opinion magazine. Spring came. Dżok became even more attached to Mrs Maria, who visited him a few times a day and brought him food. She always came with her little mixed-breed dog, Kajtek, whom Dżok also befriended. Apparently, Kajtek, in their dogs’ language, convinced Dżok to trust Mrs Maria because when summer came, precisely a year since his “duty” on the roundabout started, Dżok went home with her and stayed for good.

And yet, it is not the end of the story of canine love and loyalty. Dżok lived with Mrs Maria and Kajtek for six years, and when it seemed that the old dog would live his days by the side of a loving owner, Mrs Maria died. She left nothing behind except for two mourning dogs. The flat had to be emptied immediately. Dżok and Kajtek were taken to the shelter with the intention of finding a new home for them. But Dżok did not wait. At night, he dug a tunnel under the fence and escaped. Sometime later he was found dead on railway tracks several kilometers away.

Some say that in that way Dżok wanted to meet his mistress because he did not want to ever love another human. How true this is – we will never know. The fact is that a dog’s love is boundless.

There appeared an initiative to build a Dog’s Monument, based on the story of Dżok. The location chosen was not accidental – at the foot of the Wawel Castle, by the Vistula River, only a few hundred metres from the place where Dżok spent a year, waiting in vain for his master.

The world famous sculptor, Bronisław Chromy, designed and made the monument. It represents a dog, embraced by human hands, which, in the words of the artist, shows the loving and caring relationship between the two. The monument was unveiled in spring 2001 by a dog named Kety, owned by a dog trainer, Mr Jacek Lewkowicz.

Dżok was buried on the premises of Krakow Animal Shelter at 3 Rybna Street and his grave is there till this day.

You are welcome to view a 12-minute film devoted to the most faithful of dogs, prepared by TV Krakow.