The story of what will happen to a dog found standing guard over the corpse of his dead 'companion', in the middle of a busy road, is riveting the readers of the Rocky Mountain News. Will he find a new home, or will he have to be put down, for being 'un-adoptable'?
A male chow mix lay down in the middle of a busy street Tuesday morning to keep watch over its companion, a female German shepherd mix, after it was hit and killed by a car on Chambers Road near East 52nd Avenue.
The dogs lacked any identifying tags and had been reported running loose together for the past two days, according to Doug Kelley, director of Denver Animal Care & Control.
"When a companion animal is hit, they'll stand vigil. It's sad," Kelley said. "It's kind of uncommon to see it in the middle of the road."
He speculated the two dogs, neither of which had been spayed, had been involved in a "romance."
Denver police were called to the scene just after 6:30 a.m. to help direct traffic until animal control could respond, police said.
Patrolman Bill Tyler said two "good Samaritans" helped out at the scene.
One driver blocked the lane with a car and turned on the vehicle's flashing lights after a couple of cars narrowly missed hitting the chow.
Another person was able to get the surviving dog onto the median between the northbound and southbound lanes of Chambers, Tyler said.
"The chow didn't want me to get anywhere close to the dead dog," Tyler said. "I guess you could say (the dog was upset)."
The male dog wore no collar; the shepherd had a blue nylon collar.
Animal control had received a call about the dogs Monday because they were on the loose in the area, but officers were unable to find them when they responded.
The chow was not happy and was taken back to a local animal shelter.
A few days later, the newspaper supplied an update to the story :
The dog who kept watch over his dead female companion earlier this week began to show improvement in his behavior toward people, making it possible for the animal shelter to work with him today to determine whether he can be adopted.
"He wasn't growling anymore," Doug Kelley, director of Denver Animal Care & Control said today. "He's actually kind of bonded with me."
The department received several phone calls from people offering to adopt the dog, regardless of any issues he has with people. But despite rolling onto his back, taking some treats and letting a stranger hold his leash for a walk today, the dog still wouldn't be able to pass a behavioral test required for adoption.
The chow did make "some very small steps forward now that he's around people," said Ellen Dumm, spokeswoman for the Denver Department of Environmental Health. "We're going to wait for a few days to see if he improves."
It seems unlikely the dog will be put down now. At worst, it may be moved to a shelter where it can live out the rest of its life. But you get the feeling someone will give it a new home.