When a miniature schnauzer named Carmelo needed a home, he found the answer to his prayers at the Franciscan monastery of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The once-wayward pup was a stray that had been out living on the streets, but members of the Frías Proyecto Narices (Project Cold Nose), a local animal rescue organization, took Carmelo in and made it their goal to find him a permanent home. However, no one, especially Carmelo, could have imagined how blessed he would actually be in the end.
The friars of Cochabamba welcomed little Carmelo and made him one of their own—quite literally. First, they changed his name from Carmelo to Friar Bigotón, an adjective that means “having a big mustache” in Spanish. Then, the friars designed robes and a stole that were just his size, and they knitted the outfit from cloth that looked just like their own.
Photos posted to Facebook of the canine friar with his new brethren illustrate how much better his new life is. He poses in plenty of cute pics with his fellow friars, and it’s easy to see that they enjoy having him around as much as he must enjoy living at the monastery with them.
There are pictures of Friar Bigotón leisurely strolling along the monastery’s cobblestone walkway, hunched over the edge of a fountain “preaching” to the fish below, showing off his custom-made Franciscan attire, and relaxing beside a large wooden door.
"His life is all about playing and running," fellow friar Jorge Fernandez told The Dodo. "Here, all of the brothers love him very much. He is a creature of God."
While it’s hard to imagine that a pup as cute as Carmelo would have been roughing it on his own without a family, sadly, the situation isn’t all that uncommon in his area. But the Frías Proyecto Narices would like to change all that, and they are hoping that the gracious friars who found it in their hearts to take the pup in and make him one of their own will inspire other people of faith to care for strays in the same way.
“We introduce you to Friar Bigotón, part of the fraternity of the brother monks [located in] Cochabamba, Bolivia,” the rescue group said in a post on its Facebook page. “If all the churches of our country adopt only one dog and take care of it like Friar Bigotón, we are sure that the parishioners would follow [this] example.”
Seeing how well this situation worked out for Friar Bigotón and the rest of the Cochabamba monks, we certainly share Frías Proyecto Narices’s hope that more religious institutions will take it upon themselves to provide places of refuge to animals in need. At least in the case of Friar Bigotón, it appears the love those monks freely gave to him will be returned many times over.