The Dog Who Thought the Parade Was for Him (because it was)

by: Candy Pilar Godoy and Matt Nelson
a little white dog trots happily along a cobblestone path. people are cheering and waving flags on either side of them. confetti is covering parts of the path. the dog is holding their head high, as if to greet all the people

Photo Credit: Yuri Cortez

This is the story of the dog who thought a parade was for him and pupstaged the pope. 

"I feel that dogs are present in all parts of life. A dog appears where you least expect it. Those dogs sometimes add a special touch to different situations."

In March 2012, Pope Benedict XVI was on a three-day trip to Mexico, his first visit to Spanish-speaking Latin America. He was set to give mass in Guanajuato, which is where Yuri Cortez, the photographer of the legendary shot, was staying. 

Yuri is from El Salvador. He works for Agence France-Presse (AFP) and has been a photojournalist for over 30 years. He works throughout Latin America, and his photography usually focuses on war and conflict. But on March 24, 2012, it was just the opposite. 

We had the pleasure of interviewing Yuri for WeRateDogs. He gets noticeably animated when reminiscing about that day. All quotes are translated from Spanish.

"I was in Guanajuato staked out on a platform, since [the pope] was going to make his tour in the Popemobile," Yuri explained. As he waited, someone else decided to make a grand entrance. "As we waited we looked for signs that he was about to show up or not, watching his security’s movements to try to guess if he was going to appear. That's what was happening when I saw that a dog had come across. ... I imagine that in that moment he was impressed by the people who cheered with flags, who threw confetti, and all that, and he began to run. He started running in the center of the street. I focus on him and start to take photos. I shoot photos of him, and I shoot and shoot and shoot, following him until he’s out of the way. Later I discover the photo where he turns to see the crowd and he looks up, and… it gives the impression that he's greeting the crowd." A careful look at the photo shows that the dog absolutely seems to be greeting the crowd, soaking in the attention. 

a zoomed in version of the previous photo, detailing just how happy the little dog was

Yuri knew that the photo was unique and guessed it may be published in newspapers, but he had no idea how obsessed social media would become. The image went viral on Twitter and Reddit and became a fairly popular meme. The story was always accompanied by comments from passionate dog lovers claiming that the parade was actually for him and to not dare say otherwise. 

This is not the only time one of Yuri’s photographs has gone viral. He gained over 25,000 Instagram followers after photographing the World Cup in 2018; he shot a bunch of Croatian players celebrating their second goal against England during the semifinal, and they promptly knocked him over.

Not much is known about the dog in the photo. It is speculated that he may have been a street dog, but one thing is certain: That parade WAS for him. 14/10


@weratedogs The Dog Who Thought the Parade Was for Him (because it was) 14/10 #weratedogs ♬ Metamorphosis - Danilo Stankovic

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