The story goes that many years ago, at an undetermined date, a man admitted himself into Hartford Hospital after a heart attack. He told his dog, right outside of the door to the hospital, to “Stay.” The dog sat and waited.
The man eventually died in the hospital (according to one version of the story, at least), but his faithful dog, named Rover, never moved from the spot. Although various hospital staff attempted to cajole, tempt, or bribe the loyal pup, he refused to move.
Many of the staff grew to love the dog and tried to take him home out of the rain and wind and hard cement spot he sat and lay on day after day, but he never moved.
In the version of the story where the man died the dog remained waiting outside the hospital until the day that he too died, never moving from the spot. In the version where the man stayed in the hospital for over a month and finally left, the dog was overjoyed at the man’s return after his long, agonizing wait. In another version the dog came to the hospital with the man weekly and waited at the spot each time, never distracted by the cars, pigeons, or children passing by tempting him with excitement or bites from sandwiches.
Regardless of the true story, Hartford Hospital erected a statue to the memory of Rover outside the hospital entrance. According to the hospital, the story of Rover represents love, devotion, and commitment. Keeping the story alive inspires the hospital to exhibit these same qualities in treating its patients, families, and community.
Know Before You Go
When facing the front entrance to the main Hartford Hospital go to the left side of the entrance. The statue is close to the wall near the windows.