In addition to the human skeletons that are ubiquitous during Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead celebrations, dogs and other animals are also represented in the colorful murals and sculptures found all over town.
Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-queen-tlee), also known as Xolos or Mexican hairless dogs, are believed to play a special role in the afterlife. They are revered as spirit guides that help us journey from this world to the next. If you’ve seen the movie Coco, you might remember Dante as the Xolo who accompanied the little boy to the land of the dead.
Here are a few of the creative representations of the animals we’ve seen on our Oaxaca wanderings.
Hop on over to Second Wind Leisure Perspectives to read about the joys of adopting older animals and to see pictures of Terri’s beloved dogs. You can also click on links to other blog posts on this week’s photo prompt, All About Pets. Feel free to join the paw-ty with your own post about the animals in your life.
70 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: Pets in this life… and the next”
Thank you. Lots of color and creativity in Oaxaca!
I’m always amazed by the color in Mexican cities.
These are great! Thanks for sharing, Janis!
Hi Jill! I was stopping every few steps to take pictures. So much to see.
I can see why!😉
You captured the beautiful essence of the spirits of humans and animals in the “skeletons” they’ve left behind, Janis! This belief fits into my eternal view of our sweet animals! Gorgeous pictures and what a cool celebration to see firsthand!
I love that there is joy in the memories, not as much sorrow. It’s nice to think we will be reunited with every one we loved in life, including our pets.
Hi, Janis – What a great take on today’s Sunday Stills theme.
And “show-low-eats-queen-tlee”….I would never have gotten that from “Xoloitzcuintli”. Not ever! 😀
Me neither… I had to look that one up. 🙃
My thought exactly!!
Very cool displays! #1 Grandson got a dog Skelly for Halloween decor a couple of years back. I think it’s cool with the other decorations they put out.
I’ve seen those in the stores (even a skeleton dog doing yoga 🙂). I may have to get one next year.
Lol😂 doing yoga!! I have not seen that one.
Please. THAT could be a whole blog post on its own. 😉
My fav is the one with the cameleons (?) on the head of a beloved ancestor…
Also, for some reason it makes more sense to me as to why the Xolos are hairless…journeying between two different worlds must be hard on the hair!
I hadn’t thought of that! Being hairless would allow them to slip through easier, that’s for sure.
Hi Janis, I have been really enjoying following you on Instagram, especially this past week. I have not yet seen, Coco, although I have heard a great deal about this movie. Your photos are vibrant, beautiful and disturbing:) I especially like the representation of the boy holding the bird. A photo? A painting? Great photos!
Coco did a great job telling the story of Dia de Muertos in a way that was easy to understand. The boy with the bird is a mural, but it would make sense that the artist used a photo as a base to create his/her art. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my photos!
What great pictures and a fascinating subject! Thanks also for the pronunciation guide. That word is daunting.
The name of the breed of dog is crazy! No wonder they shortened it to Xolos (Show-lows, I guess?). As you might imagine, I’m having a hard time with auto-correct here!
Very interesting and colorful artwork. I don’t have a pet right now, but I certainly have some wonderful memories of some devoted pets. It makes me smile just thinking about them. 🙂
We don’t either at the moment, but I imagine we will again at some time. Fortunately, I can get my furry fixes from the pets of friends.
Beautiful photos, Janis! I’ve been really enjoying them on Instagram as well. I am fascinated by the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations and loved the Coco movie. Thanks for sharing!
I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the photos, Deb! There is so much color and amazing creativity everywhere we look.
PETS in the afterlife. Cool theme. So retirement is looking good for you.
I can’t imagine a happy afterlife without animals, can you? 😇.
Sí to retirement!
I agree 100%, and I cant wait to see so of my loved pets
These are amazing photos you have here Janis – interesting how they embrace this life after death for beloved pets … makes it less sad that way.
Hi Linda! I agree… it helps process our grief when we have a belief of a reunion at some point in the future.
Yes Janis – that is why the story of Rainbow Bridge is such an inspiration.
Hi Janis! I love the Mexican imagination and their approach to the “after-life”. Making Halloween time about memories and remembrance instead of candy makes it so much more psychologically and philosophically rewarding for all people (not just kids.) And the imagination? I’ve always loved Katerina and the stories and imagines behind her….and now I have a reference for the pets! ~Kathy
Images of La Calavera Catrina can be found everywhere! I love to see the gorgeous young women dressed in period finery with their faces painted as skeletons. Although I didn’t see it, I was told that some children have adopted trick-or-treating in Mexico. I can understand the attraction of free candy, but I hope that new “tradition” is short lived.
There’s some great artistry displayed here. I wonder what it is about “hairless” dogs that makes them so special in this culture. Or maybe, those were the only dogs in that culture at one time due to the heat?
Good question… I’m not sure. Perhaps I need to do some more research. Although I’ve seen artistic images of these dogs, I haven’t seen one in real life. I guess if they are spirit guides to the next life, it’s better that I don’t see one anytime soon 🙂
For sure, you don’t need a guide for quite some time. I believe I’ve seen Mexican hairless dogs. Like hairless cats, they look…well, naked. Their skin has sort of a waxy feel. Seems like a glitch in evolution to me. In hot, sunny climates they risk sun damage, in cold climates they freeze. ;-o
As soon as I began reading this post, I thought of the movie Coco. We just re-watched it this weekend with our grandsons. Makes me cry every time! Great photos!!!
Coco was so much fun! We saw a whole family dressed as characters from the movie.
Don’t laugh but I had no idea what the Coco movie was all about … or what on earth the land of the dead had to do with Coco Chanel.
I looked up the movie.
I’m glad Coco Chanel wasn’t involved 😉
Haha! No Coco Chanel! If you get a chance, you should rent the movie. Even though it’s animated, they did a good job explaining the beliefs behind Dia de Muertos.
My eyes lit up with the capture of the boy and the bird, wonderful as it certainly for me portrays innocence and gentleness. I do believe that we should chat more about death as it is all part of the rich tapestry of life. No running away from that one, taxes, on the other hand, are another story.
That mural is so lovely… very peaceful. Do you have Death Cafes in your area? They provide a opportunity to have an open, honest discussion about our beliefs, fears, desires, and questions regarding that very subject. If you haven’t heard of them or been to one, I encourage you to seek one out.
No we haven’t any Death Cafes. I have never heard of them before. There are different organisations around that people can utilise such as a hospice. At the moment an organisation is trying to pass a Euthanasia bill through Parliament. I hope it goes through.
Great photos. I do like the colors and the bones!
Hi Ally! Lots of colors (and bones) here, for sure. (Btw, I’m having trouble leaving comments on your site. It’s probably because I’m not home… not because I don’t want to.)
Janis, thanks for the heads up. I wonder if I have, or WP has, blocked your IP addy because of something outside of our control. When this blogging stuff works, it’s great. When it doesn’t, I’m usually clueless about why.
Me too. I’m able to comment on some blogs, not on others. No rhyme or reason I can see. Oh well.
Que sera, sera! 😎
I love these photos, Janis. The colors are so vibrant. We have a 14-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He is the sweetest thing and starting to slow down. I like to think that he will always be with us in some form or another.
I really like the belief behind Dia do Muertos. Those we love are always with us, and we will be blessed with their visits back to this world once a year.
It’s interesting how your photos capture the integration of death and nature: skeletons and vivid and vibrant flowers are combined, sometimes as part of the hair or decoration of the skeleton, sometimes in their setting. Very insightful!
So different from our Halloween skeletons, which are often dark and scary. Dia do Muertos is a joyful celebration full of life… in this world and the next.
A nice spin on the theme, Janis. It looks like you and Paul are having a good time in Oaxaca. I can’t believe how fast time flies, as I remember you talking – almost a year ago – about going to Mexico for the Day of the Dead…
We definitely wanted to get back to Oaxaca and timing our visit for this celebration made sense. I’m glad we were able to experience it for ourselves.
Janis, very cool. I think I like the woman walking her dog the best. Nicely done. Keith
I thought she (and her dog) was very glamorous.
Colors explode in Oaxaca like no place I have ever been. You have confirmed that with your great photos. You probably know that the Tijuana soccer team is called the Xolos. I went to a game a few years ago and still have the hat with a mean red dog on it. Viva Mexico!
I didn’t know that! I remember that you crossed the border when you were spending your month in San Diego. I’m glad that you also have spent some time in Oaxaca. The colors, food, and, of course, the people are amazing!
One day we will get to Oaxaca…. lured by the food, the people, the colors, the culture. Love the photos especially the second one ~ that takes quite a lot of imagination and creativity! Impressive.
I hope you are able to visit! I think what is most impressive is the joyful nature of this culture, which is reflected in the music, art, and food.
This is so interesting Janis! I love how skeletons both human & pets are honoured here. Such a wonderful take on the Sunday Stills theme
I love the idea that our loved ones, included our pets, are never really gone. And, on these special nights during the Dia de Muertos celebrations, they come back to spend time with us.
What a fantastic response to Terri’s Sunday Stills. I was completely unaware of the Xolos or the reverence for which they are held. That one in that first image reminds me of my dearly departed pup Nelson (a long-legged Jack Russell). I hope he’ll be waiting for me to safely guide me to the next world when my time comes. Can’t wait to visit Oaxaca. I hope you are doing well.
I love the idea of our well-loved, departed pets leading the way when our time comes. Oaxaca is an explosion of colors, sights, sounds, and delicious food. The exchange rate is allowing us to eat very well (although I’m currently jonesing for a home-cooked meal… with no hot sauce 😄).
I love these photos – Sounds like such an interesting place to visit.
Thank you! This is our second visit, but first during Dia de Muertos. Oaxaca is known for its colorful celebrations and amazing cuisine… and it didn’t disappoint.
Janis, how cool to be in Oaxaca for Dia de Muertos! Many years ago in Guanajuato, I saw the cave of mummies honouring the dead — which I found just a bit chilling. These skeletons look quite cheerful.
The lovely thing about Dia de Muertos is that it is a joyful event… nothing spooky about it at all. We visited that mummy museum in Guanajuato last year. I found it fascinating… and, yes, a little bit creepy.
Comments are closed.