This little guy in the two photos above followed me all the way up Maunga Terevaka (tallest point of Rapa Nui), so I gave him a bit of my sandwich and some belly rubs for the road!
As you all know from my last post, Chile is amazing! One of the most unique parts of this major country is how they treat and interact with dogs. Many dogs, with an owner or not, run freely from leashes & restraints, and the locals take great care of them. At least one park even has dog houses! Even more surprising is the lack of poop on the streets. While there is definitely some, it is not as much as one would expect for country full of liberated puppies.
This furry friend was hanging around the top of Cerro San Cristóbal--more heavy petting… haha!
Found this one lying under the bench at the hostel. I don’t think he was feeling too well, so I let him enjoy his quiet place to rest.
The dogs (los perros) also know how to use the crosswalks--often waiting for the light or other people to start crossing. While I have never seen it for myself, some say they even know how to use the buses (likely a joke but, I wouldn’t doubt it given their knowledgeable use of crosswalks).
A happy face at a empañada shop near Cajón del Maipu.
Same place as above, but this happy guy had a lot less energy on such a hot day.
As for food, the dogs don’t seem to be underfed or even overfed for that matter. One night at a bar, a dog came to our table and laid down underneath it. I thought it would be a good time to try to make a friend and gave it a french fry (papa frita). The dog sniffed it and then turned its head away, as if it knew how bad fritas are. I couldn’t help but laugh. As humans we eat and drink some really terrible things, and the dogs here know it. I think my dog (Sheila) would have gobbled it up before thinking twice, but just like people, when terrible food is always around and easy to get, it loses it luster.
Found these three amigos outside a market in Santiago. Doggy friendship runs deep!
Not all dogs are pretty, as this little dopey dog proves. He seems happy all the same!
Beyond that, the dogs of here make for some pretty great friends while exploring the city or less beaten path. I have found that when you give them a little attention they will often walk or run next to you for blocks or even miles. But in the end they eventually wander off in true doggie fashion.
On a really warm day in Cajón del Maipu, the pups in the above few photos decided a siesta was needed. I wished I could do the same... Mucho Calor!
So… how did this country full of puppy dreams happen? As the story goes, at least for Santiago, at one point the city tried to round up the stray dogs, much as the US does today. However, this didn’t work like they thought it would. People here love their furry friends so much, that they started chastising the dog catchers, and eventually the city stopped trying to round them up after all the fuss.
A happy little street beggar in Santiago!
While not the best photo, it certainly catches all the puppy action on the streets. Gotta mark that spot… and that one over there! Oh wait! That place too!
As for controlling the puppy population in Santiago, they provide a service to spay and neuter them. However, I found plenty of them still had cojones, and each was just as friendly as the next.
Taking a morning stroll… I wonder where he’s going.
Need more sleep!
And maybe some more...
The friendly dogs of Chile are a truly unique part of life here. After all, dogs didn’t ask to be bred or turned into our captives… They were bred to live, help, and work alongside us. In the US, we have seemingly forgotten this. Often fearing others pets and getting our panties in a bunch every time we see a dog off leash. I believe we could learn a lot from our neighbors to the south by bringing back a culture of acceptance for our intelligent pals on all fours. To incorporate them back into society as our allies, friends, amigos, and helpers--all while being the liberated puppies I’ve come to adore!
And finally, I had to include a snap of my dear Sheila. She made such a huge impact on my life, and I miss her dearly! Mi Amor!