I live in Santiago, Chile. When I first moved in here I was shocked by the amount of street dogs. They are big and small, they are everywhere and they seem to own the city.
If I ride my bicycle and there is a dog, sleeping on the road right in front of me, he won’t move. He won’t even open his eyes to see who is it coming to run over him. He knows I will have to go around trying not to disturb his sweet dreams. He’s sure of his power, he knows his rights.
Dogs here, almost all of them, remind me of Dude Lebowski, so relaxed and lazy they appear. They don’t even seem to seek food, ever. They just wait for it to be brought to them. Once I witnessed a funny scene. A woman was staring at a dirty spaniel and repeating in surprise, “He won’t eat bread! He won’t! And he’s a street dog!” The simple truth is that dog lives at the corner next to a Chinese restaurant. He thinks he guards it and thus earns a living. Why should he eat bread as if he were a panhandler?
Santiago is full of restaurants, and, apparently, every dog has its feeding spot. The owner of the green grocery where I buy fruit told me that the huge black dog that lives at their corner eats apples and cucumbers. Obviously, some dogs in Santiago are vegetarians. Maybe they even organize meetings and manifestations to attract attention to the high level of cholesterol in the dogs’ blood. Who knows what they talk about when they gather in groups and run around the city?
In general, dogs are friendly or simply indifferent to people. Only once a dog barked at me, and it wasn’t a street pooch. It was one of those hairless angry pets that are so small you can hide them in the pocket; they always show off to impress their owner. Thank god, he was kept on a short leash.
The street dogs are not like that, they are usually peaceful like Tibetan monks. They have some quarrels between them, of course, but they don’t provoke conflicts with humans; they don’t mind us to live near them. And they teach us to look under our feet, constantly, since their shit is everywhere, and if you don’t want it on your shoes, you have to be careful.