It's National Dog Day! In honor of the day, I've got a bittersweet real-life story about a dog, two kids, and a cemetery statue.
Two children, Josie Dimick (8) and her brother Eddie (5), lived in Rock Island, Illinois, not far from the Mississippi River. They had a big Newfoundland dog that would walk with them to school, play with the children at recess, and then walk back home with them.
In 1878, a diphtheria epidemic swept through town. It's said that Josie and Eddie went to school one day, were ill by the next day, and died together on the second day. At their funeral, their dog is said to have walked behind the horse-powered hearse to the cemetery.
A Faithful Dog
For days after the children died, family members walked the short distance to their graves and the Newfoundland dog went with them. Even after they stopped, the story goes that the dog continued to walk to Chippiannock Cemetery and would lay at their graves all day, before walking back home again.
Less than a year after the children died, the dog also died. Some say it was because of sadness and grief, as the dog often refused food after the children died. Whatever the cause, the dog was buried on the family's land.
But the story doesn't end there. The children's father commissioned a life-sized stone statue of the dog out of a single piece of rock. It was placed at the children's grave, where it continues to watch over them.
Today, flowers still regularly appear at the statue of the dog and the children's gave. The name of the dog has been lost to history but his marker in the cemetery is a continued reminder of the love and loyalty of our canine family members.
For more information on the story and the marker, you can visit:
If you are visiting Chippiannock Cemetey:
The cemetery is just a quick trip off Interstate 280 in Rock Island and it is listed on the National Historic Register. There are a number of interesting markers throughout the cemetery so plan on at least an hour there (I did two stops of about 45 minutes each and I didn't cover the whole cemetery). To find the Dimick gravesite and the dog, you can stop in the office to get to the location or head up the hill toward the back, center of the cemetery. There is a large angel statue to the right and the children's graves are right next to the road/path. See photos below: