November 7, 1929
Rowe, New Mexico
15-year-old Alfonso Sedillo becomes lost in the mountains, eventually succumbing to the elements
Sedillo and two friends had gone into the mountains about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Santa Fe to pick piñon nuts. Sedillo’s companions left their campsite to retrieve some water from a nearby spring, at which point it is suspected Sedillo wandered off and became lost.
Eight days later, a man picking piñons in the area noticed Sedillo’s dog Fido, described as “a tiny nondescript cur” or a small, brown spaniel. The man approached to find the dog was guarding Sedillo’s frozen body which was positioned face-down in the snow. Fido was emancipated and near death but had seemingly refused to leave Sedillo’s side for over a week. Examinations suggested Sedillo had died the same night he disappeared, likely from exposure to the elements.
Fido remained by Sedillo’s side as the body was held in Rowe awaiting transportation to his hometown of Albuquerque. Sedillo’s mother also brought Fido to her son’s memorial service. The dog’s constant urge to stay by Sedillo’s side led many to comment on his name being especially apt — Fido comes from the Latin Fides which means faithful.
The story of Sedillo and Fido drew the attention of the public and a fundraiser was created to supply a bronze statue to commemorate the faithful dog. Dr. C.H. Williamson, pastor of the church which held Sedillo’s funeral service, told reporters, “We can think of nothing more appropriate than that a bronze cast of the dog should be made to lie upon the grave of his young master, where through the long years he will guard the sleeping dust of the lad he loved so well.” While not enough money was raised to supply a bronze statue, a grave marker made of stone was commissioned. It was inscribed: “Fido. For seven days and nights he guarded the frozen body of his little master in a mountain wilderness.”
Artist Eugene Sloane completed the piece in February 1930. That same month, Fido died and was buried next to Sedillo. Vandals have since broken off the head of Fido’s statue, but the remainder still stands as a testament to one dog’s devotion.
Alfonso Sedillo. Find a Grave. Accessed: November 7, 2020. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/25471039/alfonso-sedillo
Saltzstein, Katherine. “Ancestors’ Graves Prompt Woman’s Restoration Work.” Albuquerque Journal. August 4, 1990
Dobberstein, Barbara B. “The Cemetery Vandals.” Albuquerque Journal. April 12, 1983
“Model of Heroic Dog, Standing Watch Over Dead Master, Shows Skill of Young Local Artist.” Albuquerque Journal. December 7, 1929
“First Donation for Statue to be Placed on Sedillo’s Grave is Given by Crippled Youngster.” Albuquerque Journal. November 25, 1929
“Dog Guarded the Body of Dead Master.” The Daily Sentinel [Grand Junction, Colorado]. November 17, 1929
“Lost Boy Found Frozen to Death.” Albuquerque Journal. November 16, 1929
“Albuquerque Boy Missing in Hills.” Albuquerque Journal. November 9, 1929