Meet Cubita, our gal pal, mascot and inspiration for our logo. We were thrilled to welcome Cubita to our team in March 2011. She provided of ongoing inspiration and companionship. We fell in love with her at first glance, and she with us. We couldn’t shake her or visa versa. Her attributes are a kind demeanor, an upbeat attitude and total cuteness. Plus she’s extra friendly. Her background embraces features of Cuban life and history spanning three millennia. She was accidentally abandoned when her family, in the sleepy village of Colón in the province of Matanzas, moved to Ciego de Ávila for new employment. Fluke rendered her without shelter and hungry – not on account of her former family’s ill intentions – she was nowhere to be found on moving day.
When Cubita’s family was all packed and their moving truck ready to roll, Cubita was absent. The kids called out for her for several hours and delayed travel. Cubita didn’t respond. As darkness approached the parents had no choice but to go. The truck was expensive and every hour’s delay added to their costs. They lived on a meager stipend.
The children cried. The parents agonized. The family left no contact information with their neighbors. Perhaps someday we’ll locate them. We’re working on it. We’d sure like those kids to reconnect with their precious Cubita. The neighbors begged us to adopt Cubita because they all had pets and weren’t able to take on another hungry mouth to feed. Dannys didn’t think twice. He hoisted Cubita into his arms. She gave him plenty of grateful licks. He rushed to get her some snacks (fried bananas and pork rinds were all available at the time). She scarfed them up. He put her on our tour bus, and took Cubita home with him to Havana. Cubita lives with Dannys now. She is his new best pal. Today Cubita is a big city dog. She fits in well as her natural colorings – a punkish orange-yellow topnotch and matching tail bob combined with an otherwise hairless beautiful blue-black look – makes her a canine fashion star among cosmopolitan pups and people alike.
Cubita descends from one of only two domesticated animals at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean islands and México (the other beast was the turkey). When Columbus arrived in Cuba in 1492 his journal entries cited the presence of strange hairless barkless dogs. This rare indigenous and endangered species of hairless dog exists only in the Americas, in the Caribbean and México, and another version in what is today Ecuador, Peru and Chile. They are exceptional in the sense that they cool themselves by sweating. All other dog breeds do so by panting. Another attribute of the Cuban hairless dog is that they don’t bark. But due to Cubita’ ancestor’s proclivity for Cubanismo (mixing colors and customs resulting in a new unique culture), she’s found a voice, albeit muffled. She is not ashamed that her predecessors combined in many forms of union and love.
Cubita’s breed is named Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced Sholo-its-kint-lee), and is sometimes shortened to Xolo. The Aztec name Xoloitzcuintli derives from Xolotl, for the Aztec God of Lightening, and was combined with “itzcuintli” (guide dog for the dead) to form the word Xoloitzcuintli. In Peru, the aboriginal version is unique. It too is hairless, and its origins are pre-Inca. But it is not to be confused with the Caribbean and Mexican Xoloitzcuintli. Perhaps when you are in Cuba, you’ll have a chance to connect with Cubita. She exudes incredible affection and warmth, so very Cuban.
Postscript: Cubita passed away at home on August 22, 2014 from complications resulting from exocrine pancreatic insuficiency. In honor of her friendship and memory we have adapted her image for our new logo. ¡Viva Cubita!