Aguilar and Citla, Guardian of the Mountain. Aguilar and Citla, Guardian of the Snow.

Liver tumor claims Guardian of the Snow

Citla, mountain-climbing dog of the Pico de Orizaba, loses battle with cancer

A mutt’s moxie made him the sole permanent inhabitant of the highest peak in Mexico over the last decade but yesterday he was defeated by liver cancer.

The memory of Citla the seasoned canine mountain climber will probably live on among the countless alpinists who had the dog as a companion on the Pico de Orizaba.

Citla arrived on the dormant volcano some 10 years ago, when he was believed to have accompanied a construction worker employed at the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano (LMT).

The mutt appears to have never really had an owner, but instead found caring companions in the guards at the LMT and in the hikers that climb the peak year round. The dog became a seasoned climber himself, and stubbornly remained above the 4,000-meter line.

Earlier this month Citla was showing signs that he wasn’t well, so climber Hilario Aguilar Aguilar, president of the Ciudad Serdán chapter of the Mexican Mountaineering Club, decided to take the dog to a veterinarian.

But Citla, also known as the Watchdog of the Mountain and Guardian of the Snow, was never to return.

After a tumor was found in his liver he was given treatment to prepare for surgery.

But the treatment had little effect and Citla died yesterday morning.

Aguilar posted on Facebook that the dog’s final resting place will be at a location on the mountain.

Source: El Universal (sp)

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story overstated the mountain’s height.

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