Paquito the chihuahua shared an unbreakable bond with his owner – the dog even rode around in his pocket as a young pup. Their time together was curtailed when the man died unexpectedly in 2012, but Paquito never forgot him. A full six years later, the loyal companion sniffed something strangely familiar…
Once upon a time, a chihuahua named Paquito was a puppy in the care of Evlyn Castro’s uncle. She reported that his relationship with his dog went above and beyond the usual connection between owner and man’s best friend.
“My uncle always brought him everywhere. They were very attached,” Castro recalled to animal news website The Dodo. Indeed, her uncle used to transport him by slipping Paquito into a shirt pocket. He even referred to himself and his dog as a father-and-son duo.
But in 2012, that close relationship would be shattered by an unexpected malady. Castro said that her uncle fell ill that year, and tragically his complaint proved terminal. Everyone in the family was shocked by what happened, Paquito included.
According to online magazine Slate, “The only way to surmise a dog’s emotional state is through its behavior, which is variable and open to interpretation. [It] has more to do with your preferred view of the inner lives of dogs than the evidence itself, which is inconclusive.” Nonetheless, there are plenty of stories that appear to show that dogs do, indeed, grieve the loss of their owners.
For sure, many dogs have displayed what has been perceived as sadness at their owners’ absence. One example is a police dog named Figo, which had witnessed the death of his partner, officer Jason Ellis, in 2013. Media website Little Things related how at Ellis’s funeral, Figo went to the casket and appeared to bow his head to it before placing his paw onto it.
Then, of course, there is the famous story about an Akita named Hachiko, who lived in Japan. Slate related how in spite of the loss of his master, the loyal dog walked his ex-owner’s daily commute to and from the train station for a decade after his passing.
As for Paquito, his family did all they could to help the bereaved pet get through without his owner and best friend. By 2018, the chihuahua had survived six years without him, but it became clear that year that he had emphatically not forgotten his master.
Castro, who lives in Sinaloa, Mexico, said that a rainstorm had caused some of her aunt’s belongings to get wet in September, 2018. So, she helped her to sort through the boxes and salvage the soaked items.
In some of the containers, they found some of Castro’s uncle’s clothes. So, she and her aunt laid his wardrobe out to dry. That’s when Paquito put on a touching display.
“We took out all the clothes and put them on the floor to finish drying. As soon as we did, Paquito ran in. He laid down on top of the clothes and spent a long time smelling and snuggling them,” Castro told The Dodo.
Slate might claim a canine’s emotions are “a mystery,” but for her part Castro was convinced about just what Paquito was feeling. She said smelling his master’s scent after six years made the pet feel like he was back by his side – or perhaps even riding in his shirt pocket again.
Castro added that Paquito didn’t want to move from the spot he’d claimed upon his owner’s drying wardrobe. “He felt his smell after years. He did not want to move away from the clothes. It was very emotional,” she said.
Fortunately, Castro was able to capture two videos of her uncle’s dog blissfully laying amid his old clothes. She shared the clips to Twitter, and the initial tweet rapidly went viral. As of November 2018, the September 21 post had garnered nearly 4,000 retweets and more than 19,000 likes.
Many who subsequently commented on the story agreed with Castro – they said it seemed as though the dog was grieving in a way similar to humans. Anna H. Thompson wrote, “Just like losing a loved one. My dad passed away and the only thing that my Ma kept was his hat and wallet. It gives her comfort.”
Shirley Wagner agreed. She wrote on The Dodo article, too, saying, “So sad. Animals grieve as well as people do.” On top of that, many people wrote to find out whether or not the Castro family had given Paquito a piece of his owner’s wardrobe to have all the time.
“I really hope they kept some of the clothes for the dog to snuggle in…” wrote Coby van den Heuvel on The Dodo article. Ed Alicia Sanchez added that one of Castro’s uncle’s articles of clothing would probably help the pooch sleep, too.
And then there were plenty of commentators who declared that Paquito’s undying love was entirely typical of how dogs everywhere cared for their owners. Mara Colon wrote, “How cute. Pets give us a true love.” Que Ti responded, “That is pure truth and pure love from a dog.”
Because Paquito appeared to still have such strong feelings for his best friend, the scene was a poignant one, according to Castro. The chihuahua apparently missed his master, but he also remembered him after six years and loved him just the same.
And Castro promised The Dodo her uncle’s pooch would always be given the same care he gave them and their family member who had passed on. “Paquito is a super loved dog. We love him very much and are here to give him all that he needs,” she said.