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.


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.


When a Crow Soars on Eagle’s Wings

At first glance it looks something like a Boeing 747 with NASA’s Space Shuttle hooked on its back. But it is much more in tune with nature than that. An ordinary black crow decides that there must be a reason why the eagle is the national bird of America and not the crow. He jumps when an opportunity presents itself–to see things from a different perspective. Have a look at when a crow soars on eagle’s wings:

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The crow swiftly swoops in for a quick landing atop the back of the eagle, rides a short distance, and then speedily lifts off to fly again on its own. Perhaps the crow wondered what life was like on the other side of the fence and decided to see for himself.

These photos were first spotted over at Mashable and are the work of amateur bird photographer Phoo Chan who has a spread of many wild bird shots over on Flickr.


“At first I thought the crow was going to chase away the eagle,” says Phoo. “I was completely awed to see the crow actually land on the back of the eagle. They both flew in different directions and it looked like they became friends.”

Perhaps the crow wanted to be friends, or perhaps it is a case of life imitating technology. Maybe there was a time when the crow saw a similar situation in real life; when the crow saw a NASA Space Shuttle flying on the back of a 747. Maybe he just wanted to know how the Space Shuttle felt.

I think the crow was going for the thrill.


Photo of Stillborn Baby Wins Aussie Photo Contest

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Judges in Australia’s most prestigious photography contest have awarded top prize to a photo of a father holding his stillborn baby. The photo in question is the first photo above on the left.

Such a photo has never won before due to the controversial nature of the subject. The other photos above were also winners in various categories in the Head On Festival competition.

The video below provides more details about the award.

If the photo of the father and his baby was taken and entered in the competition without the father’s permission, then the photographer deserves severe castigation IMO, although the video makes it sound as though the family had agreed to the photo.

It is hard to imagine why a father would agree to publicize such a personally difficult moment, but who knows?

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Gil Meydan, the photographer who took the shot of the stillborn baby freely admits in the video that he sought impact rather than beauty in his shot, and he speaks in a rather matter of fact manner when discussing the stillborn child. That is because he is a medical photographer at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, so he is used to viewing scenes of stillborn babies.

Moshe Rosenzveig, the Head On Festival Director, concurs that beauty occupies a second place goal for the photography in his festival. He too emphasizes emotional intensity as the photographer’s primary objective when shooting the photos.

Perhaps it is just me, but the two men sound somewhat like a paparazzo does when he stalks a celebrity for that hot shot that will make him a bundle of money.

Should photographic art be judged on its shock value, for beauty or for some other attribute? IMO shock value simply for the shock it imparts to the viewer has little value at all. Once people are used to photos of stillborn babies photographers will be forced to rachet up the controversial nature of their photography in order to get noticed.

What comes next, photographic art of an abortion in progress?

Editor’s Note: This post was updated 7/14/15