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It’s the life of an archeological site guard dog that’s far more special than a workshop dog or guarding a parking lot. For some, especially those with a street background, it can be like winning the lottery. This is what happened to Illayuq who arrived at Huaca Pucllana last year. The little animal was rescued by a person in 2021 when it was a puppy and got lost among the cars of the Panamericana Sur. His first foster home turned him away because he was too scared and didn’t want to go outside. Fortunately, at Huaca Pucllana, he got a second chance when the company took him in, following an old 2001 rule requiring museums and archaeological sites to have a hairless dog from Peru.
If there is such a thing as dog fulfillment, Illaluk has experienced it to the fullest. From being homeless, he is now the proud lord of a huaca who watches over and protects his croquettes when his caretaker Mrs. Delia isn’t waiting to deliver them. When she asks him to pose for the lens, her voice is an authority that both he and Sumek respect and attend to. There are. As if the dogs themselves said that it was not in their contract to appear in the press.
Another case of a Peruvian hairless dog rescued from a poor life can be found at the Tucum site museum, 33 kilometers north of Sigleo. Here, Rooster is a crossbreed dog, with the characteristics of a Peruvian hairless dog, similar to a Siberian dog called Celeste with her impressive blue and white eyes. “We found Celeste at a mechanic shop. They tied her up, so we went after we received the complaint, and she lived with us after that,” says Manuel Escudero, an archaeologist from the Túcume Museum.
“What characterizes these animals is that they don’t have complete teeth, they have very good hearing and are great with children and tourists,” he adds. In Túcume they strive to preserve their heritage through educational workshops. They have a small cemetery where all nine of their guard dogs are laid to rest. This place is greatly appreciated by tourists because of the small tombs and chapels that they will discover if they leave the complex and head towards the pyramids in the area.
Although the rule states that all coastal huacacas must have a Peruvian hairless dog, this is more strictly enforced in the north of the country. These animals can be found in the archaeological sites of San San, Huaca Sotuna, and the National Museum of Chican, while in Lima they are found in the Huacacas of Puclana and Pachacamac. In this last place, they still remember Túpac, a small dog that was their symbol for many years. Today, they have three Peruvian dogs, but they have passed; All of them are the result of donations.
At the National Museum of Chican in Ferreñafe, we met a small dog who crossed borders, whom the workers there call the ‘King of Tiktok’. It is a chican, long-tongued and strange-looking mutt, reminiscent of the xoloitzcuintli from the movie “Coco”. “Children see him pass by and shout ‘Coco, Coco,'” says the museum director.
Archaeologist Carlos Elera. “Tourists sometimes think it’s a sick animal because of its skin, which is usually the case with this breed for centuries. People disliked them because they found them ugly. “It was on the verge of disappearing,” Elera says.
To promote the space, the museum created a video with Chicon that became a hit on TikTok. It has been a remarkable journey for these little animals, who have gone from being despised and misunderstood to becoming a national heritage today. Nothing bad.