Jacki: a dog with a mission
During recent fires that devastated parts of Galicia, one local worked around the clock to bury victims
The flames towered 30 meters above him, laying waste to the flora and fauna in the Fragoselo countryside in Coruxo, Vigo. But Jacki, a tan-colored male dog, was not to be deterred. This was his turf and, undaunted, he threw himself into an operation that left his owners and their neighbors perplexed.
With an odd sense of purpose, he picked up the charred remains of animals and carried them in his mouth to the land next to the church – the only area where the earth hadn’t been scorched by the fire. Obviously, he wasn’t driven by religious fervor but he did seem to be looking for a decent plot in which to bury the victims.
The whole of Spain is now in love with this dog, but around here we all knew him A resident of Fragoselo
The image of Jacki going about this business was captured by a photojournalist from the EFE Spanish news agency, Salvador Sas, on October 17 in Chandebrito, Nigrán, in Pontevedra. As the agency’s Photo of the Day, the shot subsequently went viral on social media networks, where it was initially surmised that Jacki was a bitch and the small animal in her mouth was, in fact, her pup.
On close examination, the animal in Jacki’s mouth certainly appears to have a muzzle, ears and paws and something that could be the remains of a curly tail. Many locals weighed in to agree that the dog was indeed carrying its own puppy but that Jacki was male and was coming from an area where he had had a litter of pups with a local bitch. “He was able to save one or two of the puppies,” said one neighbor, who preferred to remain anonymous due to concerns for the dog’s privacy and well-being.
While the debate over what was in its mouth continued online, Jacki spent Monday and Tuesday picking up more dead animals, such as rabbits, and digging holes for them by the church.
Now Jacki has come to symbolize the sense of loss in this corner of Galicia, from Fragoselo to Nigrán. The extent to which buildings, trees and animals both big and small, have been engulfed by the fire is only now emerging. “The people living up there are traumatized,” said a local from Coruxo. “They were coming down here to escape the flames that night, vomiting with the smoke.”
Jacki has come to symbolize the sense of loss in this corner of Galicia
Jacki’s photo was actually taken when he trotted past TV crews and journalists waiting for the socialist leader Pedro Sánchez to arrive in Chandebrito where Maximina Iglesias, 86, and Angelina Otero, 78, died trying to escape the fire in their white van.
In his hometown of Fragoselo, however, Jacki is already famous. “The whole of Spain is now in love with this dog, but around here we all knew him,” said one local. “He’s a very bright dog, a real gem. He’s always on the move. I’m sure what he had in his mouth when the photo was taken was in fact one of his pups because, when it comes to Jacki, anything is possible.”
A dog hell-bent on giving the dead a dignified send off or simply a zealot when it comes to burying bones?
English version by Heather Galloway.