This article originally appeared on VICE Spain
Last Friday, thousands of people gathered in Madrid for the annual parade to celebrate Spain's national day, the 12th of October, which marks the time Christopher Columbus first arrived in the Americas.
Arguably, the star of the event was Odín, the Spanish Legion's official pet goat – or La cabra de la Legión – who, actually, is not a goat, but a ram, as one legionary told me. It's not easy upstaging the army unit – what with their chanting and absurdly tight uniforms – but Odín can't help but stand out, strapped in an embroidered flag, with his horns painted gold.
The two-year-old ram doesn't have any special talents that would assist the regiment in battle. He's just fun to be around. "Odín has been with us since he was little," another legionary said. "He hasn't received any specific training. In the end, he's more like a pet dog – someone to keep us company around the barracks and while we're rehearsing for parades." The Spanish Legion – a unit of the army that was originally established as the Spanish equivalent of the French Foreign Legion – has kept many different pets throughout its 98-year history. The animals are normally picked from a region the Legion is deployed in. There have been monkeys, gazelles, parrots and, rumour has it, a bear named Magan, back in 1954. Later on Friday afternoon, after many selfies and several changes of caretaker, Odín joined the Legion to parade past King Felipe VI and Spain's Head of Government, Pedro Sanchez.
Scroll down to see more photos of Odín on National Day.