Tears as Golden Retriever Runs Straight to Human Dad's Grave on First Visit

A video of a dog that managed to locate its "human dad's" grave without being shown has gone viral on TikTok, where it had chalked up 2.5 million views at the time of writing.

The video shared by Camille Griffith (@camillegriffith) showed a golden retriever walking towards a tree. A message overlaid on the video said: "My dog ran straight to my boyfriend & his human dad's grave without ever being here before."

A caption posted with the video read: "Feeling all the feels! Yes, Dogs grieve too!"

Golden retriever standing near lake outdoors.
A stock image of a golden retriever puppy standing at the edge of a woodland overlooking a lake. iStock/Getty Images Plus

Do Dogs Grieve?

In an article for VCA, one of North America's largest animal hospital chains operating over 1,000 animal hospitals, veterinarians Dr. Ryan Llera and Dr. Lynn Buzhardt said dogs do indeed mourn when they lose a companion (be it a dog or a human).

Their mourning is reflected in changes in their daily behavior, such as sleeping more, having a lower appetite and becoming listless.

However, dogs—whose minds are roughly equivalent to a human child between the ages of two and three—probably lack the intelligence to understand the permanence of death, University of British Columbia psychology professor Stanley Coren told IFLScience in September 2016.

"Prior to the age of about five, children don't understand some very basic concepts about death, and the major thing they don't understand is that death is irreversible," Coren explained.

The capacity to smell is believed to be dogs' most powerful sense, according to a January 2015 study in the peer-reviewed journal Behavioural Processes.

The study found that when dogs were presented with different scents, the part of the brain associated with positive expectations was most highly activated by the scent of a familiar human. "This speaks to the power of the dog's sense of smell, and it provides important clues about the importance of humans in dogs' lives," the study said.

It is not known if a dog is capable of detecting the smell of a dead and buried former owner, however.

The latest viral video has moved several TikTokers to tears.

In a comment that got 7,690 likes, user jsfhsf22 said: "He was calling for him [heart-shaped eyed smiley face] amazing! Sending love and prayers."

User freedom4claudiaconway said: "dogs sense of smell is unlike what we can imagine, like a radar system. he knows," in a comment that got 2,479 likes.

User Hello wrote: "That dog saw him for sure!! You can tell!! [teary-eyed, floating hearts smiling emojis] He stops to look right in front of him [red heart emoji]! They see things we can't see and they feel our pain [red cracked heart emoji]!"

User weslum620 said: "Dog's know, especially Goldens! [floating hearts smiling emojis]."

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to life@newsweek.com with some details about your best friend and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.