Nothing to see here, just a four-legged monk.
Carmelo – more formally known as Friar Bigotón (meaning moustache in Spanish) – is a totally legitimate canine member of the St. Francis monastery in Cochamba, Bolivia. After local animal rescue group Proyecto Narices Frias uploaded photos to Facebook introducing the friary’s latest member, the post went viral, clocking up over 39,000 shares.
Life for Carmelo did not have a blessed beginning. Rescued from the streets, he was taken into the monastery’s care. Carmelo quickly recovered after being welcomed into the sacred fold and is now an irreplaceable part of the family. Fun fact: St. Francis, the monastery’s namesake, was the patron saint of animals.
When he is not donning the religious habit worn by his Franciscan brothers, Carmelo the sanctified schnauzer runs around the grounds, plays with and cuddles other monks and “preaches” to the fish in the monastery pond.
Source: The Dodo
But it’s not always easy to live with the fluffy Friar; fellow monks admit that Carmelo has a naughty streak and is guilty of “biting everything and hiding things in the garden” (BBC). Despite his puppy sins, Carmelo is helping the monastery to preach a much bigger message.
“If all the churches in the country adopted just one dog and cared for it like Friar Bigotón, we are sure that the parishioners would follow his excellent example,” Proyecto Narices Frias said in a Facebook post. The monastery is working closely with the rescue group to promote the adoption and rehabilitation of strays across South America.
In the meantime, Carmelo continues to win the hearts of monks, monastery visitors and some very blessed fish.