5 dogs hanging in the streets of Cusco (plus one behind the planter)
Profe Falconi explained that it is considered inhumane to neuter dogs here so they reproduce a lot. Additionally, many people here get dogs as pets but then once they realize how much work dogs require, they often release the dogs to the streets. The combination of these two points helps explain why there are so many stray dogs. At night it is fun to watch the dogs as they run around in little packs, waiting for each other when one stops to sniff something, like little makeshift families. In the U.S. you don't see many stray dogs and I think overall if someone did, their attitude towards the dog would be one of sadness and maybe sympathy. Here the stray dogs are often treated like rodents. When we were exploring Ollantaytambo we stopped around a few stores and several of us sat along a stone wall. While we were there a stray dog wandered over and sat at my feet. I was not going to pet it or anything but I also didn't try to scare it away. Later when we left, a nearby lady who was selling cow heart skewers went after the dog with her knife out to scare it away and it was in fact scared and left. This difference in perceptions of dogs is similar to the different perceptions of guinea pigs in the U.S. and in Peru. The idea of animals being perceived differently in different countries is something we see all around the world and something that makes each culture unique.