Incredibly Badass Protest Pups From Around The World
They say humans are the only animals that care about issues like systemic racism or government corruption (and if they don't, we just did). That may be so, but evidence suggests that at least one other species likes to protest: dogs. Here are several dogs from around the world who are more dedicated to dismantling our rotten human institutions than most human beings themselves:
There's A Whole Lineage Of Greek "Riot Dogs"
Kanellos the Riot Dog jumped to fame when photographers noticed that the same dog kept showing up in photos of the 2008 Greek riots, like a more badass and adorable version of Where's Waldo. But, as early as 2007, he was already legendary enough in Greece to merit his own folk song:
Like most of his human friends, Kanellos first became politically active during student protests but went on to support farmers, dock workers, and basically anyone who feels inclined to hurl blunt objects at police officers. As The Guardian put it, "The hound always seems to side with the protesters, whatever the dispute." He was also "unfazed even by water cannon[s]" and "appear[s] to be immune to the effects of tear gas," raising the realistic possibility that Kanellos may have been genetically engineered in some anarchist's lab somewhere for the specific purpose of screwing with riot control officers.
According to Greek outlets, Kanellos died in 2008 after spending his final months in a doggy wheelchair his student comrades got for him. But then, as police officers in Athens breathed a sigh of relief, something happened: Kanellos appeared again.
That turned out to be a separate, yet oddly similar dog called Loukanikos (or "Sausage") who shared Kanellos' commitment to fighting the power and became a media sensation during the anti-austerity protests of 2011. Wikipedia lists a second "Kanellos-lookalike" named Thodoris, while other sites simply speak of an indeterminate number of "Kanellos doppelgangers" barking for justice in the streets of Athens.
So yeah, based on the number of lil' Kanellos running around, it looks like the original Riot Dog kept fairly busy when he wasn't protesting, and his commitment to social issues is hereditary. But this isn't a Greece-only phenomenon ...
Chile's Badass Protest Dogs, "El Vaquita" And "Cop-Killer"
Going from a random street mutt to an international icon sounds like perfect material for a Disney movie, if it wasn't for one little detail: the dog we're talking about is called "Negro Matapacos" or "Black Cop-Killer" (because he's black and dislikes cop, not because he's racist). Matapacos was first noticed during Chile's 2011 student protests, where he earned his nickname by being warm and cuddly with the young protesters and an absolute beast against Chile's infamously brutal police officers. If Kanellos has his own a folk song, Matapacos is best represented by a punk rock anthem:
According to the woman who cared for him, Matapacos simply knew when there was a protest going on and went out to join it (granted, in Chile that's every other day). And while he never actually killed any cops, we're pretty sure he caused more than a few to reconsider their calling. Matapacos passed away in 2017, reportedly leaving 32 pups (we're assuming he died of sexual exhaustion) ...
... but that was only the start of his legend. During Chile's 2019 social upheaval, Matapaco's image emerged as a symbol of defiance against state-sponsored brutality. He's since popped up in everything from murals to sculptures to comic books to full body suits to, of course, crocheted stuffed animals.
And now, that legend is spreading to other countries. Matapacos tributes have been appearing in places like Japan, Mexico, and New York, where stickers with his image were used to promote mass fare evasions following police repression. He's basically a cute animal representation of the lyrics of a certain N.W.A. song by now.
Back to Chile, Matapacos' spirit lives on in "El Vaquita" ("Little Cow"), a stray dog in the northern city of Antofagasta who never misses a protest or a march. Unfortunately, enacting your constitutional right to protest in a country like Chile means ending up with a shitload of rubber pellet wounds all over your body, and that goes for adorable cow-looking dogs too. And since El Vaquita refused to be taken to the veterinary's office, the people of Antofagasta organized a fake march leading there:
Naturally, he fell for it, because dogs may be loyal and brave and have a strong sense of justice, but they are also extremely dumb.
People Very Much Want "BLM Dogs" To Be A Thing
Feeling down due to the current, you know, everything? We've got the cure. Here's a long-ass Twitter thread of dogs devoted to ending racial injustice:
Perhaps most notable among those dozens and dozens of examples is Buddy, the woke Cincinnati dog who went viral for expertly carrying a "Black Lives Matter" sign throughout a whole march:
But ... let's be real here for a second. These dogs have no clue WTF they're doing. They might as well be carrying a sign that says "sign." Their eyes are devoid of the legitimate anti-authority rage you could see in Kanellos or Matapacos. And that's a good thing!
See, the reason dogs like those exist in countries like Greece and Chile is that violent, widespread protests are part of everyday life there. Fighting the police is practically part of the curriculum in certain universities, and some cities have been trapped in the "looting due to police brutality, police brutality due to looting" vicious cycle for decades. So it's possible for a dog to literally grow up surrounded by street violence and be indelibly shaped by it (or any type of animal, we guess, although "Fred the anarchist tortoise" doesn't sound quite so badass).
The U.S. isn't there yet. Hopefully, the causes for protesting don't become as depressingly common and widespread as they are in Greece or Chile. And if they do, we already know what animal will be standing firmly beside us the whole time. Certainly not cats, those apathetic assholes. Screw 'em.
Maxwell Yezpitelok lives in Chile and would like to apologize to the creator of that awesome Matapacos stuffed doll for saying that about cats. Check out her Etsy store!