Dog Buries Puppy, Not “Heartbreaking” as Some Assume

    June 24, 2013

It didn’t take long for the “dog buries puppy” thing to trend.

Long story short: A dog “somewhere in [the] Middle East,” as the Daily Mail describes it, came across a deceased puppy in a ditch, then spent a few minutes burying the corpse. On a human level, it seemed poignant . . .

A dog, wandering down the road, sees a fallen child of its own species. It knows the hardships of such a life. It mourns that an innocent has fallen. It seeks to respect and honor that life. And does so conspicuously before a human camera.

According to the Daily Mail, it was a “heart-rending act of animal kindness” in which a “mongrel circled and sniffed the lifeless pup after finding it in a ditch where it had been left to rot in the midday sun.”

“Rather than leave it to scavengers, who would inevitably have torn it limb from limb,” the Daily Mail notes, “she spent more than three minutes gently raking sand over the corpse with her snout with extraordinary care.”

Fair enough. But has anyone ever seen a dog bury one of its own kind out of respect for the dead? Is there no chance this could be rampant anthropomorphizing, projecting our own habits onto man’s best friend?

Dogs, as per their hereditary training, are notorious hoarders. Dogs feel compelled to bury bones and other treats. Dogs are also known to eat their young, especially when they die soon after birth, or, live, if the adult dog senses that the pup is unhealthy.

Let’s call this spade what it is. A dog found a fallen–and tasty–soldier, and decided to store it away as a snack. Said dog was baffled to find that its snack-hoarding captured international media attention.

That’s not to say it didn’t say a prayer over the fallen pup. Only that that prayer was less requiem than grace.