Photos of stray dogs standing guard around an elderly woman who died in the middle of the road have gone viral. The woman was riding her bicycle along the bike path of Jiangxi Institute of Engineering in Xinyu, southeast China, when she suddenly collapsed.
The woman adopted and cared for the eight stray dogs who watched over her lifeless body before emergency services showed up after six hours, according to Daily Mail.
Photos show the dogs circling around the elderly woman, “protecting” her from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. as if she were one of their own.
In the images, the women -- wearing a burgundy blouse and black pants -- is lying face up in what appears to be a parking lot. There is a pack of eight dogs of various breeds all around her, refusing to leave her side.
In one of the pictures, a couple of dogs are seen licking her face while she lies lifeless on the ground, seemingly mourning her death. The woman had adopted all the stray dogs before her death and now they were repaying her kindness by watching over her body.
Online commenters said the woman made a living by collecting trash and recycling it from the streets, according to People’s Daily Online. Chinese Internet users flocked to 163.com to discuss the incident.
“After she died, only the eight stray dogs she had adopted in her life time accompanied her. May there be no pain in heaven,” said one commenter.
Another commenter, Hao hao guo OYTJ, said: “It’s their way to testifying their gratitude. Dogs are grateful animals, some human might not be able to do that.”
Another commenter remarked: “For dogs, the death of their owner means the end of the world. I hope some kind people would adopt them.”
User Tao bao sou stmo confessed: “I cried looking at the pictures.”
Although many users were in awe of how the dogs behaved, they were also quick to condemn the emergency medical team for its slow response. Some commenters claimed that local services checked the body but left it when they realized she was already dead, according to Daily Mail.