When the bells of the Santa Maria Assunta church begin to toll each
afternoon in San Donaci near Brindisi, the 12-year-old German Shepherd sets
off from the village to get himself a front row seat next to the altar, Il
Messaggero newspaper said.
His owner, who was known in local dialect as “Maria tu lu campu” — “Maria
of the fields” — had lived alone with Tommy and three other rescue dogs,
who used to follow her faithfully on her daily rounds and have now been
adopted by the village.
After following his mistress’s coffin up to the church on the day of her
funeral, Tommy has returned daily, sitting quietly throughout masses,
baptisms and funerals, according to local priest Donato Panna, who now
wouldn’t do without him.