Tales with Tails – Kostya

 True Stories that Inspire Us to Love our Pets as They Love Us. In 1995, a stray German Shepherd appeared in the city of Tolyatti, Russia patrolling the same stretch of highway in town. No one knew where the dog came from or who he belonged to. When residents researched his story, they found that the dog was the sole survivor of a car crash that killed his family. While rescuers took away the bodies of his family, the dog was left behind to fend for himself. He remained at the site of the crash waiting for his family to return and checking passing cars to see if they were in it. Tolyatti residents attempted to give him a forever home, but he always escaped and returned to the same road. They then built shelters for him on the side of the road, but he refused to use them even during the brutal Russian winters. All he would accept was offers of food. Residents touched by his fortitude named him Kostya, a Russian nickname for someone who is steadfast and faithful. Kostya maintained his vigil for seven years until he died of natural causes next to the road where his family died. Shortly after his death, residents of Tolyatti erected a bronze statue of Kostya in the city center. Since then, a tradition has evolved in which Tolyatti newlyweds will rub the statue’s nose in hopes that some of his devotion will rub off on them.

There are numerous websites telling Kostya’s story (search Kostya Tolyatti to find them). Most of them, including this story, source their info from Wikipedia’s Loyalty Monument entry.

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