Vladimir Davydov, 77, was taken to hospital in late March and died of a heart attack on April 1. The search for his pet, 11-year-old German Shepherd Yan, allegedly stolen by dog thieves, was all in vain – despite significant help from the local community.
Davydov would stand all day long, leaning on his crutch, braving the cold and wind to hold a banner that read “Help me find my friend.” His story made the rounds on the internet and touched the hearts of hundreds of people.
A social network group that initially sprang up to encourage people to look for Yan is now raising money for a funeral for Davydov, who lost his wife and job some time ago and apparently had no savings. His only relative, a sister, lives in Ukraine and finding her will be a lengthy process, the group’s leader suggests. The group is asking people to donate at least 50 rubles (currently less than a dollar) to help with the funeral arrangements.
“Let’s help his sister have a normal funeral and bury him decently. We all know how expensive it is now,” the post says, before giving bank account details where all those who are moved by Davydov’s story can transfer money.
Volunteers are planning to resume the search to establish what actually happened to the dog, as well as to erect a small monument to the old man and his pet in honor of true friendship and loyalty.
The dog, described by Davydov as his “only partner in life” kept him company for almost a decade, and was a favourite with local children. The elderly man, who had worked at a construction site and often took Yan with him, said he frequently received offers from strangers to buy the German Shepherd for good money, but always turned them down.