More Chile dogs (and some cats)

In my previous post I mentioned how the dogs we encountered in Santiago, Chile, seemed solitary animals who occasionally moved in groups. In Valparaiso, a very colourful city on the Pacific coast, about 100 k from Santiago, we saw a striking exception to this rule.

We noticed a dog lying on the sidewalk, not looking very well. Beside her stood another dog who looked healthy and strong. We watched for a while and it became obvious that he was standing guard over his friend. He did not leave her side. We don’t know what was wrong with the dog, but clearly her friend understood that she could not look after herself. So he stayed with her, in close proximity. It was both sad and uplifting to see.

Apart from the usual array of dogs, we also saw some cats in Valparaiso. They looked pretty good, but I don’t know if they ‘belonged’ to anyone. Cats generally seem more capable of looking after themselves, finding food everywhere and, if healthy, grooming themselves.

I have also included a few pictures we took on San Pedro de Atacama, a remote town in the desert. Here too, dogs were everywhere. And they like to be with people. On one photograph you can see a man sitting on a bench, with ‘his’ dog curled up below the bench. Of course it’s not his dog, he may not even know it’s there. But the dog knows that the man is there.
In Valparaiso a dog chose us as his temporary family while we strolled through the area. Very friendly, very close. And from a distance you’d have thought he belonged to us.
But, in general, they don’t belong to anyone.
I think many of them like it that way.


Chile dogs

Having seen how the dogs in Dahab live alongside the human population, without being ‘pets’ as we think of pets, made me think of our trip to Chile, and the many dogs we encountered there.

We travelled around a bit, and everywhere we went we saw dogs – lying on the pavement, next to the road, in the dust, on a rock, beneath a bench etc. Some of them wore collars, quite a few of them, especially in Santiago, wore a scarf or jacket, or some item of clothing. Yet most (nearly all) of these dogs, like in Dahab, lived alongside, not with, the people. We only saw a few pets.

As you can see from the photos, the attitude towards dogs is pretty relaxed. We never encountered a dog being mistreated, although some of them bore scars or limped badly – the result, we think, of fights and traffic-accidents.

I think it’s interesting to see how dogs form relationships with people, even if these relationships are casual. Most dogs we saw seemed solitary animals. Some moved in groups (barely ‘packs’), but the make-up of the groups seemed random and impermanent.

We encountered a striking exception to this in Valparaiso (on the coast), of which more later.

Today I’ve enclosed some photos we took in Santiago. Later I’ll post some more, taken in the Atacama desert and Valparaiso.


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Back home from Dahab

Quite a temperature drop!
Our final few days in Dahab were relatively relaxed. Visited Leni at Karin’s house up in the wadi. He thinks he is in heaven. Two cats had issues with their wounds which we have hopefully sorted. Ruben has kindly checked all the dogs he could find and all seems well.
I bought a boat for 10 quid from a very sweet Bedouin boy who was desperately trying to help me by advising me NOT to buy it, but to go for a smaller one. Being the wise one, I insisted on the boat and then felt robbed when it deflated after 10 minutes in the pool. My minion, Lisa, very kindly inflated it up for me, using her own precious breath!
The raft race was a big success. There were a lot of entries and the whole thing was very reminiscent of the Bedouin camel race. False start, debate about the result, mild chaos but good fun. The AWD/Sea dancer  Dive Centre raft came 3rd. Chris collected the bronze medal. The winner was a little kid on a lilo and the 2nd place was taken by a raft that had a head start. We will say no more!
We are hoping to go back to Dahab for a week in September. A lot can be improved – for example Lisa and I would like to have some kennels built so that we can keep the animals in longer for monitoring post surgery. Hopefully we are making a difference. At the moment we know that we have helped the individual animals. To make a real change we will need to do more training and  ‘keep on the case’.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement. It means a lot to us and the animals in Dahab.
Good to be home – aren’t we a lucky bunch!