Seven-year-old German Shepherd Tommy accompanied his owner, Maria Margherita Lochi, to services at Santa Maria Assunta Church in San Donaci, Italy and the gentle dog was allowed to sit at her feet. When she passed away, Tommy was allowed to "join mourners at her funeral," say the locals and "followed after Maria's coffin" as it was carried into the church.
Dogs are very loyal creatures, so even though his master has died, the Shepherd has continued to show up for Mass every day for the last two months at the church where the funeral was held. Locals say that Tommy shows up "when the bell rings out to mark the beginning of services." None of the other parishioners have complained. "He's there every time I celebrate mass and is very well behaved," explains Father Donato Panna. "He doesn't make a sound."
Tommy's owner adopted him after she found him wandering the fields behind her house near Brindisi, Italy. Known for taking strays, Lochi and the Shepherd formed a special bond. He and Lochi would walk to church from their home every day. "He used to come to Mass with Maria and he was obviously devoted to her."
The German Shepherd has become a part of the entire village since Lochi passed away. Everyone looks out for him. They give the dog food and water and allow him to sleep nearby. "I've not heard one bark from him in all the time he has been coming in," Panna added. "He waits patiently by the side of the altar and just sits there quietly."