Saturday, 24 October 2015

The story of Canelo and Paco
by Francisco Santolaya Soriano

This is not only a story about friendship and survival; it is also about the indifference that surrounds us in our everyday life.

But I knew nothing about this until I stumbled upon a small monument a few years ago. I was focusing my attention on my mobile phone when I noticed a plaque on the ground. The text read: "To Canelo, Paco´s best friend."

After being invaded by curiosity, I immediately began to search for information. So I got to know the story of Paco, a drifter who survived on the charity from passersby and Canelo, a small mongrel dog, short haired, who used to walk with his head down. Both used to vie for the attention of the public in a shopping area by day and a gate by night. Nobody knows how but after some time they became inseparable. Some versions of the story say that Paco and Canelo never spoke, but just looked at each other and it was enough to know if the day would bring benefits or they had to shelter because of the imminent rain. Other versions discuss how Canelo started to bark the day Paco fell ill, and how he followed the ambulance all the way to the hospital, and then was long waiting for Paco to come back.

But this never happened.

Paco's life ended as soon as cancer decided to show up. Canelo waited for Paco in vain outside the hospital, gaining the attention of the medical personnel, even the media, until his strengths failed six months later.

If Canelo were alive today I wouldn´t know what to say. Maybe I could start our conversation by stating: “Canelo, until I heard about your story, I had never been so surprised in all my life.”

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