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In Coco, Miguel's stray dog Dante goes with him into the spirit world. I thought at first that he become a spirit too because he stole food from offerings in the graveyard, thus stealing from the dead, thus becoming cursed.

However, later in the movie he becomes a full-fledged Spirit Guide, and in the end of the movie, he and Innelda's guide, a stray cat, are shown alive and well in the living world.

How and why did Dante become a Spirit Guide, while still being in the living world?

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    Initially, I thought he was already a spirit guide due to Frida's hypothesis that he is one earlier in the movie. But according to Disney Wikia: "Miguel declares him as a spirit guide for reuniting him and Héctor (his real great-great-grandfather) and Dante becomes an alebrije from Miguel's declaration" and "He would retain this [new] appearance only in the Land of the Dead. When he returned to Santa Cecilia, he resumed his Xoloitzcuintle form." – ibrahim mahrir Feb 18 '18 at 19:04
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Dante is a hairless breed of dog known as Xoloitzcuintli ("Xolo" for short) also known as a Mexican hairless. This breed of dog is one of the oldest breeds in North America, raised in pre-Columbian times by the Aztecs, Toltec, Zapotec, and also in the areas of Colima.

From Wikipedia:

Long regarded as guardians and protectors, the indigenous peoples believed that the Xolo would safeguard the home from evil spirits as well as intruders. In ancient times the Xolos were often sacrificed and then buried with their owners to act as guide to the soul on its journey to the underworld.

This breed of dog was considered to have supernatural abilities of being able to see spirits and also to help guide their owners in their journey through the underworlds in death. For the movie, they extrapolated this to have Dante have the ability to move back and forth from the physical world to the underworld with ease, acting as Miguel's guardian in both worlds.

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