Tag Archives: hoax

Story of Fictitious Dog “Leao” still Draws Admirers

A story in 2011 about a Brazilian dog stirred the emotions of millions worldwide with sentiment so raw the anecdote went viral immediately. The tale spun a fictitious yarn about a pup named “Leao” who was so loyal to her former owner that the dog sat vigil for days at graveside after the owner’s funeral.

At the time everyone thought the story was real, with Leao’s chronicle revealed to be a hoax only a few weeks later. Despite that, Leao’s folktale still tugs at the heartstrings of net surfers today, 4 1/2 years later.

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People stumble across the narrative to this day and are touched by the loyalty of such an admirable dog. In fact, folks still often ask about her, remarking “Whatever became of that incredible Brazilian dog Leao?”

Leao’s reported owner was Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who supposedly died in Brazil’s 2011 catastrophic landslides caused by severe flooding. It is not even known if Santana was a real person or simply the figment of someone’s deceptive imagination.

Leao’s narration was carried by numerous media outlets including McCafferty Himself, and even CNN. The hoax revelation was first carried by the Malaysia Sun, but far fewer news organizations bothered to report the hoax.They were far more interested in the emotionalism of the original article. That is probably why so many folks still believe the story today.

Most of us want to believe that such a tale is true because it reaffirms the landmark loyalty that dogs have for their owners. Unconditional love even after death–now that really is a tale worth telling.

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The dog in the photo actually belonged to Rodolfo Júnior, a grave digger who worked at a cemetery in Teresopolis, Brazil. Júnior stated that his dog often accompanied him to work, and he did not know who took the photo of his dog at the newly dug, unmarked grave.

There were so many dead from the mudslides in Brazil that year that they resorted to burying people in an assembly line fashion, which is why they are so many fresh graves in the photos. It was reported that 655 died in Teresopolis alone.

Perceiving human like emotions in animals is not new. There are many videos on the Net of such things. Look at a video we have of a cat that appears to be trying to revive its mate by massaging its chest.

These type of tales seem to give us that warm fuzzy feeling inside, even if it’s 4 1/2 years after the fact.

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Brazilian Dog Leao is Hoax

Leao, the Brazilian dog that reportedly remained at the grave of its owner for days after the funeral, is a hoax reports the Mayasia Sun.

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The story of Leao along with the moving photos above showing the dog seemingly standing guard at graveside went viral over the Internet. It was reported widely by many media outlets and blogs including McCafferty Himself and even CNN.

It seems that Leao is a fictional name for a dog that never really existed. The dog in the photo belongs to Rodolfo Júnior, a grave digger who works at a cemetary in Teresopolis, Brazil.

In interviews with local Brazilian media, Júnior states that his dog often accompanies him to work, and he does not know who took the photo of his dog at the newly dug, unmarked grave.

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However, the photo was submitted to the media through the Getty/AFP network by a company photographer. Either the photographer misunderstood who the dog belonged to or deliberately misrepresented the story.

Hundreds of animals were displaced by the recent floods in the state of Rio de Janeiro according to the Brazilian branch of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). However, the WSPA knows of no dog named Leao among the displaced animals.

The WSPA did say that a dog named Caramelo did lose its family in the floods, but that dog has already been placed with a new owner.

Editor’s note: Post updated 7/3/2015.

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