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‘They belonged together,’ touching moment captured in photo when rescue dog says goodbye to owner at funeral

HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina – The bond between dogs and their humans is deeper than many of us can understand.

A photo taken by a 12-year-old girl in Huntersville, North Carolina captures how incredible that relationship can be.

Nina Holcolmbe took the photo while attending the funeral for her grandmother’s boyfriend.

In the photo you can see Anne Marie Sibthorp with Chief the dog in front of Bill Schiller’s casket.

Chief is leaning in close to Bill’s face.

“I’ll never forget. He stretched his neck in as far as he could, and he gave Bill just one little quick lick on his ear, and of course, Bill didn’t move,” Sibthorp told WCNC. “And Chief laid his head right down by his head, and just laid there for the longest time.”

Sibthorp rescued chief in 2014. She said Chief and Bill had a special bond.

“There’s a certain chemistry between a person and a dog when they’re really special,” said Sibthorp. “They bonded; they belonged together.”

Bill was diagnosed with dementia in 2017. Chief was an important part of his care.

Sibthorp had him certified as a therapy dog, so he could go everywhere Bill did.

He eventually went with him to a nursing home when Bill’s health declined.

“He got to say goodbye to his daddy. And that was important,” said Sibthorp. “It meant a lot to Chief to be able to do that. He knows now that daddy’s okay, and he’s stuck with me.”

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