Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fido the Faithful

For reasons I don't quite remember, I was curious about how the association of the name 'Fido' with dogs came about. As one might expect, it goes back to a particular dog; the Fido lived in the 1940s and 50s in Italy.

He was found as a puppy, injured on the side of the road, by a man named Carlo Soriani and nursed back to health; the Sorianis decided to name him 'Fido', which means Faithful. Fido became very attached to Carlo. He would follow Carlo to the bus stop every morning, and when Carlo came back on the bus, he found Fido waiting for him. This continued for two years.

Then in December of 1943, there was a terrible bombardment of the town where Soriani lived; factories, including the one at which Soriani worked, were hit, and Carlo Soriani died in the bombardment. Fido waited for him to get off the bus. He waited and waited. Eventually he went home, but the next day, he was back at the bus stop waiting for Soriani to get off the bus. And every day for fourteen years, he went back to the bus stop and waited. He became an institution in the town, being profiled in Italian magazines and given a medal by the mayor. He became known in the English-speaking world when Time magazine did an article on his story in 1957. When Fido died on June 9, 1958, it was national front page news in Italy.

Apparently if you go to the town of Borgo San Lorenzo, in Tuscany, you can go to the Piazza Dante and find a statue that was erected to Fido while he was still alive, with the inscription in Italian:

To Fido, Example of Faithfulness

13 comments:

  1. Itinérante2:19 AM

    This is beautiful!

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  2. Enbrethiliel7:34 AM

    +JMJ+


    Poor Fido! =( I wonder what reward faithful dogs get in the end.

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  3. Whew. For a second there, I thought this was another dialogue of Plato's that history had somehow missed....

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  4. branemrys9:01 AM

    Maybe it's why all dogs go to heaven.

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  5. branemrys9:02 AM

    Actually, it turns out we've been misspelling it as 'Phaedo' all these centuries.

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  6. branemrys9:05 AM

    It's easy to see why people started calling their dogs 'Fido'.

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  7. Enbrethiliel12:25 PM

    +JMJ+


    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

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  8. Wow. Derrida (I think following Ryle or Austin) says a lot about Fido and "Fido" in The Post Card, but he never said any of that.


    However, given that the emblematic association of dogs with fidelity goes back to Pliny, Homer, and probably the neolithic (I'm guessing), surely dogs were named Fido before the 1930's in Italy?

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  9. branemrys2:59 PM

    I wouldn't be surprised; but it doesn't seem to have been itself a paradigmatic dog's name; one would imagine that there have been dogs named 'Loyal', for instance, but it's not so obviously doggish as Fido has become.

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  10. Robert Lennon8:54 PM

    There's a similar story in Japan with the dog Hachikou: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hachik%C5%8D
    Dogs are the best, that's plain to see!

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  11. Itinérante1:37 AM

    Hihi!! ^.^

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  12. Itinérante1:40 AM

    Ahhh!! I knew this one! My sister told me the story and when I read Fido I thought, wow, I know I have a silly memory but this time I got the names seriously mixed up, but now I see I did not! Thanks!

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  13. cdogzilla7:48 AM

    Hachiko also leapt to mind for me. Makes me wonder how many other towns have or had a Fido/Hachiko of their own ...

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