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photo: Facebook of El Hospital General Universitario de Elda

Loyal dog waited six days at Spanish hospital for sick owner

ALICANTE, SPAIN - Maya, a faithful dog was finally reunited with her owner after waiting for six days patiently at the doors of Elda hospital near Alicante.

Her owner, Sandra Iniesta, 22, was rushed to the hospital a week earlier due to a ruptured appendix during their way back to their Barcelona home by car after a holiday. Maya refused to leave the hospital despite attempts by the father to bring the dog away in the car.

The father told Alicante newspaper Información that he thinks Maya knew what was happening and she was showing that she can be patient.

Even when her owner’s father, with offers of treats tempted her into the car the dog refused to budge.

Maya quickly became a favorite with hospital staff who posted a photograph of the Japanese Shiba, whose breed is famous for its loyalty, on their Facebook page and the story soon went viral on social media.

Sandra was eventually discharged on Saturday (27 August) from the hospital to discover her beloved dog had become a celebrity.

Sandra had commented to the local news, “She is just doing what she does in Barcelona,” said Sandra Iniesta, who is still recovering from the operation inside Elda hospital. “Whenever I go inside some place or another, she waits for me at the door.”

"After days of not seeing my girl Maya, the kiss and happiness at seeing me and me her is priceless," she wrote on Twitter.

The two-year-old Maya is a Japanese Shiba breed. The Shiba Inu dog breed was originally bred to flush birds and small game, and sometimes used to hunt wild boar.

They are one of Japan’s six native breeds: Akita (large), Kishu, Hokkaido, Kai, Shikoku (medium), and Shiba (small). They are known for their spirited personality, small upright ears, and cat-like agility.

The story of Hachikō is a well-known story in Japan and widely known around the world, as a hallmark of the undying loyalty displayed by this breed of dogs. Hachikō is a golden brown Akita owned by Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo in 1924.

Professor Ueno would commute daily to work, and Hachikō would leave their house to greet him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The two continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died.

However, Hachikō awaited Ueno's return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station every day for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days.

In honor of its faithfulness to his master, a statue of Hachikō was erected at Shibuya Station in April 1934 and a remake of the statue in August 1948.