I think it’s safe to say I made a lot of friends in Peru. The question at hand, however, is whether I made friends of the human or canine species. That being said, my interaction with Peruvian pups led to some interesting observations about how Peruvians (and South Americans in general) treat wild dogs and their pets.
|Me and Chico!!|
Although I suspected there would be lots of strays, I was surprised by the amount of pet dogs I saw who were treated more or less the same as the strays I saw. I learned that in most places outside the U.S. and Europe, pets are seen solely as domesticated animals, rather than as parts of the family. In all my time in Cusco and on our weekend trips I never saw a dog on a leash. Pets roamed free and were in my opinion more loyal to their owners. One dog we met was particularly loyal to our guide Almicar in Maras. His name was Chico and although we became fast friends, any time Almicar appeared he would bound over to him and not leave his side. Even during our hike to Moray, Chico stayed faithfully by his owner’s side instead of forging ahead to sniff and explore. While I can’t be sure how such a strong bond was formed, especially when dogs in Peru don’t sleep on peoples’ beds or receive as much attention as pets in the States, I do know that Almicar and Chico have a connection as deep (and probably deeper) as mine with my own dog at home.