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A little boy clings to his chihuahua (top photo) and winces with a smile as Cardinal Roger Mahony dashes holy water on him and his pal. In the middle photo, Pancho eyes the photographer warily.

The final photo (below, by Robyn Beck) is a standard-sized Xolo dog named Pecosa. The Xolo, like the chihuahua, is native to Mexico, and a genetically close cousin. This one belongs to Lazaro Arvisu, a member of Xipe Totec Traditional Aztec Dance Troupe established in L.A. in 1978.

The Roman Catholic event dates back to 1930, and really much earlier as that's the earliest date for the festival being anglicized. It occurs every spring, rather than autumn as with the majority of Blessing of the Animal festivals across the Americas.


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