The Dog City

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, β€œHe 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.


The Daily Post


22 thoughts on “The Dog City”

      1. Sorry for guessing at the obvious. I am so impressed by anyone who can master another language. I tried learning Spanish (which you probably know as well) and was just hopeless with the grammar!

      2. Yes, I speak Spanish, I have to πŸ™‚ I had my difficulties with it too, and I still don’t feel quite free with it, but in general it’s all a matter of time and practice.

  1. Found this very interesting and it gave me a real sense of the place.

    Our neighbor commented that he saw more dogs in our neighborhood than kids. Could be a sign of the times or just the fact that the population here is quite transient.

    Knew a Beagle who loved carrots until he stole a bag and ate the whole thing and made himself sick.

    1. Thank you for your comment. A friend of mine used to have a terrier who stole plums, one by one, to eat them, but the dog was quite moderate and never ate too many. πŸ™‚

  2. I like that the dogs belong to the neighborhood and to themselves more than to people. The grocer shares with you the eating habits of one of them. The neighbor is surprised that a dog won’t eat bread. All of your neighbors have to veer around the sleeping dogs in the street. That careless attitude about stray dogs would never fly in my city.

  3. A great post Joan! And I enjoyed finding out more about you… very cool.
    I love dogs and have to wonder if I’d have a hard time seeing them everywhere without a home. Sure sounds like the system works in your hometown! The dogs are happy. πŸ™‚

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