Sudden worldwide fame has left Paco, the crime-fighting Chihuahua, unimpressed.
“Smile, Paco!” cooed Lynda Alvarado as she snapped pictures of the sleepy pooch resting in his dog bed behind the counter of the Ace Smoke Shop in Altadena, Calif.
“I’ve been coming here for years, and when I saw Paco in the paper, I had to come down and see him—he’s famous! He’s awesome—a tiny crime fighter!”
Paco became an Internet sensation after the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department posted a surveillance video on YouTube of two robbers—one armed with a shotgun—being chased off the premises by the 10-pound pup during a bungled hold-up.
“Paco saved my life,” says Alfred, the smoke shop clerk who survived the robbery. “He’s an amazing dog. He’s small, but he has a big heart.”
Now, Hollywood is calling.
“Paco’s been on Good Morning America, Inside Edition and made the front page of the Pasadena-Star News,” shop owner Erik Knight tells Fox News Latino. “I’ve been getting calls about Paco from Switzerland, Japan and London.”
Paco was a hit with “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” star George Lopez.
“He and Paco really hit it off” says Paco’s owner, Duane Dier, of his pup’s star turn on Lopez Tonight. “It was a lot of fun! He told Paco, ‘Do you know who I am? I’m your Chihuahua friend from the movie.’ It was great!”
With Hollywood hounding Paco, the mutt’s minders are carefully crafting his brand—with a Facebook page, Twitter account—and merchandise.
“People have been clamoring for Paco t-shirts—literally begging me to do t-shirts, so I’m launching a web site, bravepaco.com, to help raise awareness of rescue animals,” explains Knight. “I will be selling Paco t-shirts on the site, and a portion of the proceeds will go to either the Humane Society or an animal rescue organization.”
But Paco’s public is demanding more than just t-shirts.
“I would love to see him in some kind of super dog show, chasing gangsters and bad guys,” says Robert Foley, who stopped by the 400-square-foot shop to pick up some rolling papers. “He’s cute!”
But with fame comes problems—including the possibility of kidnapping.
“I’m a little concerned about Paco, because he’s so small,” admits Dier. “So now I’m keeping a close eye on him.”
Fortunately, fame won’t spoil Paco. “If Paco does make it big, he’ll probably be the most laid back star ever in Hollywood,” says bartender Leah Harbison. “He’s just a cool, chill dog.”
Meaghan Murphy is a freelance writer and regular contributor to FOX411.com.