26 October 2017

Fido

Fido was once a very popular name for a pet dog. It is hardly ever used these days, but the name has history and is sometimes used as a generic name for a good, faithful dog.

I have found several stories about famous Fido dogs. It is a great name for a dog because Fido means "faithful" from the Latin fidus.

I had originally heard about Abraham Lincoln’s dog. Fido was a yellow, mixed-breed family dog from before his presidency. Fido supposedly followed Lincoln into town and would wait faithfully for him outside stores while he ran errands.

The Lincoln family's Fido
Fido did not accompany him to the White House and remained with a neighboring family. Lincoln specified that Fido was to have the run of the house and be fed table scraps and treated well. They even left Fido's favorite horsehair sofa with the family so that he would feel at home.

The photo of Fido is considered the first photo ever taken of a Presidential dog.

Fido was still living with the neighboring Rolls family when Lincoln was assassinated. As mourners stopped in at the Lincoln family home in Springfield to pay their respects, Fido was there and the photo of Fido was reproduced and sold to souvenir collectors.

Unfortunately, Fido met a cruel end. John Roll wrote of Fido’s sad fate: “We possessed the dog for a number of years when one day the dog, in a playful manner, put his dirty paws upon a drunken man sitting on the street curbing [who] in his drunken rage, thrust a knife into the body of poor old Fido. He was buried by loving hands. So Fido, just a poor yellow dog met the fate of his illustrious master - assassination.”

Another famous Fido, who really lived up to the "faithful" name, lived in Luco di Mugello, a small town in the Tuscan Province of Florence, Italy. He was a stray found lying injured in a roadside ditch and was nursed back to health by the Soriani family.

Fido would follow Mr. Soriani to the bus stop when he went to work and would wait until he returned from work. This ritual was repeated every workday for two years.

But World War II came to Italy and on December 30, 1943, the city and factories were hit by violent allied bombardment and Soriani was one of the workers killed. But that evening Fido showed up as usual at the bus stop. His master did not appear. Fido returned home, but for the next 14 years, until his death, Fido went to the bus stop to meet his master.

Fido became pretty famous and he appeared in Italian magazines and newsreels. For his faithfulness, the mayor of Borgo San Lorenzo awarded him a gold medal in 1957 and Time magazine wrote an article about Fido in April 1957.

Fido died still waiting for his master on June 9, 1958.

Sculptor Salvatore Cipolla created a monument of the dog entitled "Monument to the dog Fido", that was placed in Piazza Dante in Borgo San Lorenzo, next to the municipal palace. Under the statue depicting the dog is the dedication: A FIDO, ESEMPIO DI FEDELTÀ (TO FIDO, EXAMPLE OF LOYALTY). The statue was vandalized and Cipolla was commissioned to make a new stronger bronze, which replaced the first one and that is still today in Piazza Dante.

Monumento al cane Fido




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