The life and times of Fido the Dog

When a person learns that they are going to have a child, they spend lots of their time looking for the perfect name for their baby.

They do so because a name is said to speak more about a person. Similarly, if you are a dog owner, one of the things you do when you get your pet dog is giving him or her a name. But you don’t just give her any name. Most people give their dogs names that reflect their personalities. Naming your dog gives it a sense of belonging to the family. One of the most famous names is Fido

The origin of the dog name Fido

Aldrovani Dog by Guercino Norton Simon Museum

According to, Fido is a Latin name derived from ‘fidus’ which means faithful or loyal. Generally, the name means to trust or confide in. Fido is a name that dates many centuries ago in the ’80s and Originated from the Romans. They named their dogs to mean that they trusted the dog. Though many Romans used this name, it was not popular. The name Fido gained its popularity after Abraham Lincoln named his favorite pet dog Fido.

Fido, Abraham Lincoln’s favorite dog

portrait of abraham lincoln

Before Abraham Lincoln became America’s president, he lived in Springfield and was a lawyer and a pre-commander-in-chief. He showed a love of pets and his household had several of these pets. According to William Herndon, his law partner, Lincoln would get down with a dog when exhausted as a way of recovering from his exhaustion. Five years before he became president, he had a therapeutic mixed-breed dog that became a close companion.

He named the dog Fido, and it would accompany him almost everywhere. It was a common sight for residents from Springfield to see the two walking down the streets together. Even when Lincoln stopped over at the barbershop, the dog would patiently wait for him outside as he got his hair cut.

The dog used to enjoy scraps from Abraham’s plate during meals and was good-natured. This is according to the Presidential pet museum. When he became president and was preparing to move to the white house in 1863, it became clear that the pet was too friendly and a little ill-mannered for Lincoln’s office. He also thought that the noisy life in Washington D.C. would not be appropriate and would upset the dog.

Lincoln dog Fido

His wife also played a big part in convincing him to leave the dog behind, (it is clear that his wife was not fond of dogs.) Although Abraham Lincoln could not move to the white house with his pet buddy, he ensured the dog lived and enjoyed a good and comfortable life. Lincoln left Fido under the care of his family and a local carpenter, giving them instructions on how to spoil and care for him properly.

Lincoln had a formal portrait of Fido taken using the newest photographic technology then. This was to assist him in soothing the loss he and his sons felt after separating from Fido. He also gave Roll, the local carpenter who was to look after the dog, a couch that he had made. It was Fido’s beloved sofa to sleep on.

The photo Lincoln had taken made its way in many newspapers, and slowly Fido began becoming famous. The fame of the name continued increasing during Lincoln’s presidency and even more after his assassination. During the funeral, John Roll brought the dog to Lincoln’s home for the mourners to meet him.

abraham lincolns dog fido

Just in the same manner, his master died, Fido died in the hands of another man in an unfortunate incidence. The dog was known as trusting and people-loving. But in 1866, exactly one year after his master died, Fido came across a drunk man sleeping on the roadside. He began licking the man’s face, an act that provoked the man to panic, woke up, pulled a knife and stabbed the dog in self-defense.

Although the dog met its tragic end, the name Fido remains, and it displays no signs of vanishing or losing its popularity. This was mainly influenced by technology. The rise of the dog name Fido came during a time when mass media was taking a grip on the country.

It is a norm for people to adopt names used by popular people, and that is why many followed Lincoln’s act and started naming their pets Fido. However, it didn’t gain that much popularity. It is until a particular dog that had been named Fido shocked the world after showing loyalty even to its dead master.

Fido the dog that showed loyalty to his dead master

fido written in scrabble

Just as the name Fido means, this story talks of a dog that could really be trusted. A story of a certain laborer by the name Carlo Soriani who lived in Borgo San Lorenzo. In 1941, one day as he was walking home from work, he heard a yelp and when he went to check saw it was of a young street puppy. The puppy by the road was quite injured and very weak, and Carlo decided to take him home. Mr Soriani took good care of the little puppy, and with his help, the dog recovered and was back in good health.

The mixed-breed dog became good friends with his new owner and could follow him everywhere, just like many dogs would follow their masters. Carlo named the dog Fido. Fido would follow Carlo even to the bus stop and wait for him all day till he returned. Once Carlo returned, Fido would warmly greet him and this continued strengthening their bond. The trend continued for days, months, and years, and the two became great buddies to the extent that the entire town noticed it and knew about this friendship.

Unfortunately, on the 30th December 1943, the factory where Carlo worked was bombed, and he died in that tragedy. As usual, Fido waited for his friend at the bus stop, but he didn’t show up. He went home to check if he was there but didn’t find him. The next day, Fido went back to the bus stop to wait for his friend but was suffered great disappointments when he couldn’t find him. Soriani never came back. However, Fido did not give up and went there day after day.

Watch Associated Press International News Italy VIEW OF DAMAGED BUILDING
Inhabitants of Rome, Italy dig through the debris of this building September 17,1943 which was damaged during an allied bombing raid in mid-July. This scene is from an Italian newsreel obtained through neutral sources. (AP Photo)

Days passed and turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, and years into decades, as Fido was still hoping to see his friend. For fourteen years, Fido faithfully went to the bus stop, without missing, to wait for Soriani. When the town’s people noticed the dog’s loyalty, they adopted him as their unofficial symbol. As a result of this, the town’s mayor gave Soriani’s widow a waiver on her annual tax on pets. He also allowed the dog to stroll around the town without a snout.

With news about Fido spreading fast, it attracted many people, and the dog was now becoming an international celebrity. In 1953, a journalist for an Italian national newspaper wrote a story about the loyal dog, a story that spread across all Italy. The story spread picking across all of Europe. Fido was awarded a gold medal in 1957 during a ceremony held in city hall. This story saw its place in the Tokyo, Paris, and Amsterdam newspapers.

A ceramic statue of Fido was built in his honor. It was, however, destroyed by criminals. Later, a bronze statue was made by Salvatore Cipolla and commissioned by the town. With the popularity of Fido, many people across Europe and America adopted Fido as a name for their dogs. Below is video evidence of how the lovely dog used to walk to the bus stop to wait for his master.

Fido’s death

As the years went on, Fido grew too weak to the bus stop. But one day in 1958, the dog woke up with new strength and energy, and at his usual time left for the bus station. Mrs. Soriani thought that the dog was resuming his normal routine of going to the station. Nevertheless, that day, Fido did not make it to the bus station. Two students found him on the roadside and when they recognized him, he took his body and brought it home.

The demise of the dog featured on the national news. And with its popularity, this was not unexpected. Fido was later buried right outside the cemetery where Carlos his master was buried. It’s true that two souls that are close never separate. After many years of separation, Fido and his friend were reunited. Fido’s loyalty was also celebrated by the town folk erecting a statue for him.

statue being errected for fido the dog

Final thoughts

In conclusion, the stories about these dogs, especially between Fido and Carlos Soriani is a clear and incredible bond that dog owners can have with their dog pets. It shows the kind of loyalty a dog can show to their masters. It is clear that Fido is not just a name, but many dogs that bear that name have shown the true art of loyalty.

But of course, for your dog to have that kind of loyalty, it is your responsibility as the owner to show care and love first to your dog, and you will be sure to get the reciprocal of the same. The name Fido continues to signify an ideal of a faithful, loyal, and friendly pet.

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