In 1995, residents of Tolyatti, a city in Russia, began to notice something strange. On the edge South Highway, a bypass road in the Auto Factory District of the town which leads to the AvtoVAZ car factory, was a dog. A German Shepherd, to be precise.

He was always in the same place.

The town's residents began to wonder about this dog. What was he doing there? Why didn't he go home?

Many tried to take him to a shelter. Some even tried to adopt him themselves. But the dog refused to budge.

It wasn't until later, when the town began to do research on the dog, that they realized how truly incredible he was.

In the summer of 1995, the dog was in the car with his family. A man, and his young daughter.

The car sped out of control and crashed, killing the girl instantly. The man was...

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taken to the hospital with severe injuries, and died a few hours later. The only one who survived was the dog.

The dog had refused to leave the scene of the car crash ever since.

The German Shepherd's name was not known, so people began calling him "Faithful" or "Kostya" (an affectionate diminutive of Constantine, which itself derives from "constant, steadfast")

The people of Tolyatti began to build doghouses for him. Others continued to try to adopt him into their homes, but the dog

would not budge. Even when he was physically carried away from the spot, the dog always came back, looking for his two best friends. All he would take from people was food.

He braved the blazing hot sun and the frost-biting winters. He braved the rain, thunderstorms, and commotion of passing traffic.

Sometimes, when a vehicle would pass, he would run up to it, hoping to find his friends, and would...

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sadly trot away when they turned out to be someone else.

Everyone who traveled that road saw Kostya running along the roadside or resting patiently on the grass.

For seven years, Kostya kept his post. In 2002 he was found dead in the woods. A rumor spread that...

he had been fatally hit by a truck driver who, fearing that people would be furious, hid the dog's body in the woods to conceal the evidence.

However, it was later discovered that there were no injuries to his body, so the rumor was false. Kostya died a natural death, waiting for his masters like he always had.

The loss of the popular dog was sad news for many residents. In his memory a homemade billboard was erected with the legend "Dog, teach us love and devotion", but it was often blown away by the wind and hooligans threw stones at it. So, wishing to...

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show the same loyalty that Kostya had shown, the city of Tolyatti initiated a campaign to construct a bronze statue of Kostya.

Finally, after they raised the money, a sculpture was made by Oleg Klyuyev. It measured about 1.5 metres high, and was set on a granite pedestal.

Klyuyev made the sculpture so that it seems to drivers that he is turning his head for each passing car, hoping to see once more his dead master.

It stands in the spot where Kostya stayed for 7 long years.

The memorial was dedicated on June 1, 2003. There, the deputy mayor and Rotary Club president Nikolai Renz said:

"This shall be a symbol of our city. In Copenhagen The Little Mermaid. In Brussels The Famous Boy. And here was have, in Tolyatti, a monument to the dog whose loyalty has become a legend!"

RIP Kostya. You were such a good boy.

Image by azzy_roth from Pixabay

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