I made a fool out of myself!

Well that in itself is not really newsworthy – it happens. But this time, I’m kind of proud of it, because at least I tried.

Let me set the stage: here in Cusco stray dogs are everywhere. A handful have made their home in the little park in our complex. Most of the stray dogs are male, but a few are female – hembra as they say here in Peru. Most of the hembritas are not fixed, and when one of them is in heat, a whole pack of stray dogs gathers around the little park and they all bark and argue about who gets to be the next one to make chuculún with the horny bitch. This is kind of a nuisance, and a bit dangerous since there are so many kids around.

Stray dogs hanging around the park.

Stray dogs hanging around the park.

When I take Roxi and Manchita for a walk I can usually chase the whole pack of because Roxi is mean, and dogs on a leash with their owner seem to have a level of intimidation over stray dogs. So I typically wait for one of the stray dogs to give Roxi a look she doesn’t like and then she flies of in a mad rage and sends the whole pack running, at least temporarily.

The other night a group of stray dogs got in a big fight over one of the hembritas in the park. Since I didn’t have Roxi with me I figured to break up the fight by yelling at the stray Peruvian dogs in my meanest English, spiced up with an occasional Dutch “maakt u weg gij dommen hond”. I didn’t really accomplish anything since there were about a dozen of them, and only one of me. I would succeed in running one dog of, only to have another one sneak around back to the horny bitch.

Stray Peruvian dog, hurt his eye in a fight.

Stray Peruvian dog, hurt his eye in a fight.

Stray pup in Cusco, Peru.  This one is hembrita.

Stray pup in Cusco, Peru. This one is hembrita.

Point being that Peru is not very good at organizational behavior, and needs better institutions. There is no real animal control here in Cusco – although there are public campaigns to fight rabies. I can make a fool out of myself, but I can’t feed and watch a dozen stray dogs. At least 2 of the dogs in our little park have bitten people that I know of (people sometimes do treat them badly), and occasionally they get in fights with one another.

So while all the locals were staring out their windows thinking “look at that crazy gringo”, I at least felt some satisfaction of knowing that I tried

12 thoughts on “I made a fool out of myself!

  1. Ouch, Ward! Sounds like a wild scene.

    Be careful with those biting dogs. There’s lots of rabies in Peru.

    Another American expat — Wendy Weeks, of El Albergue hostal, in Ollantaytambo — knows the consecuences of stray dog bits all too well. Tragically, her husband was bit by a stray dog with rabies in the early ’90s and he died of it.

  2. I’ve heard an older gentleman curse out two dogs in a fight. The dogs just looked over at him like he was crazy.

    Dog fights over bitches in heat are not uncommon. I stayed at a cousins house and there were a pack of stray dogs that lived in the neighborhood. Every night you would hear them running around and fighting.

    You are not the only one to try to break up a fight. In the cousin’s neighborhood I saw other neighbors chase off a larger dog harming a smaller dog. Words may not work, but sticks and stones do.

    Not only are stray dogs a potential health hazard, but they are a safety hazard for both children and adults.

  3. I love these dogs, they are usually so quiet, except when they start fighting; it can certainly be dangerous. Some districts and towns in Peru, and especially Lima, have laws that no dogs are allowed to be in the streets. So, when authorities from the municipalities see one, they would take them out of the streets.

  4. Well I have never seen a stray dog in Miraflores, San Isidro, La Molina, Jesus Maria, San Borja among other districts in Lima.

    Jesus Maria district in Lima has the toughest laws for pets and animals. They even have a limit on how many dogs you can have if I am not mistaking. Jesus Maria has many other good laws, I think all the others districts and towns should follow the Jesus Maria way 😉

  5. interesting web site I am really happy to hear that some americans like you really got in to like peru so much that make very proud,I am a returning peruvian-american citizen trying to adjust into the system again and one of my interest is to teach english for fun because money as a priority is not in place due to other enterprises i have in lima.

  6. Hi, I’m an American veterinarian with specialty training in “Shelter Medicine” from the University of California, Davis. In the US this means mostly caring for animals in shelters, but I am also interested in applying my skills & knowledge to promote humane and sustainable strategies for managing stray animal populations in developing countries. I am planning a short trip to Peru to trek Machu Picchu (only a week) but I would like to take at least a day or two to volunteer with an animal welfare organization either in Cusco or in Lima. I have been able to find several organizations in Lima but haven’t found any in Cusco. Do you have any contacts you could share with me?
    Thanks very much
    Barb

  7. Pingback: Bad dog « Life in Peru

  8. Pingback: Misunderstanding the Canines of Cuzco - Cuzco Eats

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