Soldier breaks down in tears at his late sniffer dog’s funeral after working with the loyal spaniel for 12 years
- Officer Wang started training Tianbao the spaniel when it was a puppy in China
- The pair completed dozens of major rescuing tasks together, saving many lives
- Decorated Tianbao died of multiple organ failure and was buried on Wednesday
- Touching footage shows his handler cried inconsolably while bidding it farewell
This is the heart-breaking moment a Chinese soldier cried inconsolably at the funeral of his late detection dog.
Animal handler Wang Rujian had worked with Tianbao the spaniel for 12 years before it died of multiple organ failure last month.
At the dog’s farewell ceremony this week, Mr Wang grabbed onto Tianbao’s gravestone tightly and broke down in tears.
Chinese soldier Wang Rujian wipes clean the grave of his late detection dog Tianbao before crying inconsolably during the spaniel’s farewell ceremony on August 19 in Jinan, Shandong
Tianbao (pictured) was born in 2008 and trained to be a sniffer dog by Mr Wang from a puppy
‘Tianbao, it was worth having you all the way. May you rest in peace,’ the grief-stricken officer said at the funeral in eastern China’s Shandong Province on Wednesday.
Touching footage shows Mr Wang wiping clean Tianbao’s grave and cried on its tombstone to give the faithful hound a final send-off.
Tianbao, a decorated English Springer Spaniel, was born in 2008. His name can be translated as ‘treasure from heaven’ in English.
It was sent to be trained by Mr Wang at the Shandong Search and Rescue Dog Professional Mobile Detachment in the same year to be a sniffer dog for the provincial firefighting department.
Described by Mr Wang as ‘timid’ by nature but ‘courageous’ as a rescuer, Tianbao completed more than 30 major tasks together with the handler during its lifetime, according to Shandong Firefighting Department.
It was awarded the title of a ‘meritorious dog’ in 2011 after rescuing survivors at a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous County in north-western China the year before.
Tianbao completed more than 30 major tasks alongside Mr Wang before its retirement in 2016
It saved survivors at a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous County in 2010
Recalling Tianbao’s performance in the devastating disaster, which left 2,698 dead, Mr Wang said the brave animal saved not only the locals, but also him.
The officer collapsed while searching for trapped residents in the debris for a lengthy period. Tianbao immediately barked and bit his legs gently to prevent him from losing consciousness. Tianbao’s barks drew the attention of other officers, who rushed over and took Mr Wang for medical care.
‘After that, Tianbao and I became partners of life and death,’ Mr Wang told state media.
Devoted as well as talented, Tianbao became a national blood-hunting champion at a rescue dog competition in 2010.
In 2015, it joined the rescue efforts of a massive chemical blast in Tianjin, which killed 173 people and injured hundreds.
Mr Wang said he and Tianbao were ‘partners of life and death’ after being a team for so long
Tianbao died of multiple organ failure on July 26 and was buried in a cemetery in Jinan city
Tianbao retired in 2016 after eight dutiful years. It was initially separated from Mr Wang and taken to a kennel to be looked after.
But Mr Wang sent an application letter to his supervisors insisting on taking care of his retired canine colleague after seeing Tianbao appearing sad at the kennel.
Tianbao lived the following four years under Mr Wang’s meticulous care until it died on July 26.
The Shandong Firefighting Department held a special farewell ceremony for the heroic dog on August 19 and buried it in the Meritorious Dogs Cemetery in the provincial capital Jinan.
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