While Spain has been hit by a simultaneous blow of devastating floods in the southeast of the country and an explosion of coronavirus cases, a police department in the Catalonia region is remembering the heroic act of a sheepdog that was faithful to his job to the end.
Recently, the Civil Guard of the municipality of Fogars de Selva shared on Facebook the photo of a Border Collie named Piqué, remembering how he was rescued from a highway a year ago in March 2019 after he tried to follow a truck carrying the sheep he had been watching to the slaughterhouse.
“Today we remember this beautiful message that [Piqué] sent to us a year ago: of loyalty, perseverance, commitment, sacrifice, the protective instinct, and of the importance of the herd compared to the individual,” they wrote.
The whole incident began on March 8, 2019, when the police received a call about a dog that had run through a tollbooth onto the highway. Not having any idea about the backstory, Civil Guard assisted the highway maintenance in getting him off the road safely.
However, after speaking with the dog’s owner, they learned the touching story behind the incident. Piqué had been attending to the same troop of sheep for a long time in the village of Fogars. The fatal day that the sheep were rounded up and put in a truck to be taken to a slaughterhouse, Piqué refused to let them out of his sight, running after the truck as far as he could in an attempt to protect his flock to the end.
The Civil Guard wrote, “Animals never stop surprising us, and it’s worth it for these and other similar stories to make an effort to improve their lives, don’t you think?”
The Civil Guard added that it was the quick action of the drivers that helped notify emergency services. A woman from a village some 20 kilometers away commented on the Civil Guard’s post, informing readers that she along with another couple had caught this dog at the Hostalric tollbooth heading towards the highway.
While she said that they received no response when dialing the toll company’s hotline, she noted that “a highway maintenance man miraculously appeared.” The woman was glad to hear that the dog had managed to survive and to learn his “endearing” story.
Once Piqué got on the highway, he was difficult to contain, “very agitated and a little out of control,” as they put it. Eventually, the local police were able to use a catchpole to get the dog off the dangerous road and into a kennel, where he calmed down. Piqué’s worried owner got in touch with the police and managed to go reclaim him at a shelter.
Piqué’s incredible devotion to taking care of his flock even at the risk of his own life inspired many, and his story went viral around Spain in the year 2019. The Civil Guard wrote that animals like Piqué teach us a lot of things, and often we call some of these things as instinct, but in reality, these are “qualities,” that sometimes make ours look smaller.
It is worth appreciating how the Civil Guard felt that in a time of national emergency, Piqué’s story from the last year could still inspire others. They visited Piqué at his sheep farm to see how he was doing. The Civil Guard were pleased to write on Facebook that “he was still in good shape and happy.”