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The Afterlife Paws: How Dogs Guided Souls in Aztec Beliefs

As Halloween approaches and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) preparations are underway, we at Fluff find it a perfect time to delve into some pet-centric folklore and history. Let's travel back in time to the Aztec civilization, where dogs held a sacred role not only in daily life but also in the afterlife.

The Aztecs, one of the most advanced and vibrant civilizations of the ancient world, had a unique relationship with dogs. They were not only companions and protectors in life, but they also served a critical spiritual role. According to Aztec beliefs, dogs served as guides for their human companions in their journey to the afterlife.

The Afterlife Journey and the Xoloitzcuintli

The Aztecs believed in a complex afterlife where the soul had to undertake a perilous journey across a river in the underworld. The soul's guide on this journey? A Xoloitzcuintli, a breed of hairless dog native to Mexico, often referred to as a Xolo.

The Xoloitzcuintli was regarded as a sacred breed by the Aztecs. They were often buried alongside their owners, a testament to the deep bond between the human and their loyal pet. The Xolo's mission was to guide the soul of their deceased owner across the dangerous river in the underworld, a pivotal step in the soul's journey to eternal rest.

A Symbol of Love and Loyalty Beyond Death

The Aztecs' belief in dogs as spiritual guides reflects the timeless bond between humans and their pets. It's a testament to the trust, love, and loyalty that our furry friends provide us every day.

In the spirit of Dia de los Muertos, we can take a moment to appreciate the Xoloitzcuintli and its symbolism. The holiday is a time to honor and remember our departed loved ones, including our beloved pets who have passed on.

Remembering Our Pets this Dia de los Muertos

In modern times, we can integrate these ancient beliefs into our Dia de los Muertos traditions. As you set up your ofrenda (offering), consider adding a token to honor your departed pets, a nod to the ancient Aztec belief of their guiding role in the afterlife.

Pet toys, collars, or even a photo of your beloved pet can be a heartwarming addition to your altar, a reminder of the love and companionship they offered during their lives.


As we approach Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, let's remember the special role that dogs play in our lives and, according to the Aztecs, in the afterlife as well. The story of the Xoloitzcuintli is a beautiful reminder of the timeless bond we share with our pets.

Here at Fluff, we cherish these bonds and the important role pets play in our lives and histories. As we celebrate this season, let's remember to honor the pets we've loved and lost, knowing that just like the Xoloitzcuintli, they continue to guide us in many ways.


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