Human Interest

Dog in Vietnam keeps vigil at owner’s grave for 3 years

By Eric San Juan

Long An, Vietnam, Jan 5 (efe-epa).- Four-year-old Mino has spent the last three years at the grave of her owner, a two-year-old boy who drowned in a canal near his home in southern Vietnam.

The dog and the boy were inseparable during the one year they were together.

Mino’s jet-black fur has lightened to a muddy brown color on the lower part of her back, which the family attributes to the long hours she spends out in the sun and rain lying on the grave of the little boy, who died in Long An province, located in the Mekong River delta region.

Nguyen Thi Ut, the child’s grandmother, told EFE how three days after the burial, held at the back of the house, the dog settled on the grave and there was no way to make her leave.

“I tried to stop her from going because it didn’t seem right to me but she always ended up going back. In the end I decided to leave her,” said the 57-year-old woman.

Mino came to the family as a puppy when little Khet was just a year old and they became friends right from the start, Ut recounts.

The two spent the day playing together while the parents worked and the grandparents took care of the house.

The special bond between the child and the puppy was broken by Khet’s tragic death at the age of two.

One day, while his mother was cooking, Khet wandered out of the house, crossed the dirt road that separates the house from the adjacent canal, and fell into the water without anyone arriving in time to save him.

He was buried behind his house, as is customary in rural Vietnam, and three days after the burial, Minus settled on the tombstone, the place where she has spent most of her time since the tragedy occurred three years ago.

Friendly by nature, Mino comes to greet visitors and stays for a few minutes, lying beside the table at the entrance of the precarious dwelling.

But after a while, she resumes her position on the tombstone, which she will only leave hours after the sun has set.

“She always comes home for a couple of hours at noon and then leaves again, even if it is very sunny or raining. Sometimes she even spends the entire night (on the tombstone),” said Ut, convinced that the animal knows what happened to the child and that his body is buried down there.

A quiet dog, Mino does not bark or howl over the grave but simply lies on it and remains there for most of the day.

“Sometimes, she grabs some food or fruit and leaves it by the grave,” Khet’s father, Nguyen Thanh Go, said.

Khet’s older sister, who is six, plays around the house while Go attends to the eleven-month-old baby, born two years after the tragedy.

The dog is affectionate to them but Ut says that she has not developed as close a bond with any of her grandchildren as the one she had with Khet.

Aware of the long hours Mino was spending out in the sun and rain, a friend of the family gave them a shed to shelter her, but they had to remove it within a few days after a relative claiming ownership of the land complained.

In response to the relative’s request, the family will hold a ceremony in March to move the grave closer to the house.

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