Seems like most people I know here in Peru have gotten bit by a dog at least once, and now I’ve joined those ranks myself 😦
Here in Cusco, like in much of Latin America, many dogs roam freely in city streets and parks. Many are strays and others are simply allowed to run free by their owners. People who walk their dog on a leash are an exception here in Cusco. Most of the stray dogs are actually quite nice, but unfortunately some are skittish or defensive because people often throw rocks at them and kids play rough with them, pull their tails and things of that nature.
I usually do good with dogs, I say hello to them, play nice, all that good stuff. Occasionally if a loose dog growls or barks at me, I stare it down or just stay out of the way. Rabies is still big here in Peru, so you really don’t want to get into a fight with a dog you don’t know.
A while ago a new dog moved into the neighborhood, and we pass by his house between our home and that of my suegra. Seems like the dog had already barked and nipped at other people, but I just kept going by his house since he never paid attention to me. However, a few days ago I walked by and the darn mutt came flying out of his little yard, ran up behind me barking and fussing at me. Typically I would have yelled at him but for some reason I didn’t feel like making a scene and just kept walking. The dog stopped for a second, and then ran up and nipped my calf. Ouch. At that point I did yell at him and his owner, who happened to be in the yard, threw water at the darn dog – like that’s gonna help.
When I got to my suegra’s house and told them the story my wife and her mom immediately ran down to the house to complain to the owner. I kind of felt like a dumbass having 2 women defend my honor, so to speak, but I guess since dog bites are so common here they are much better prepared to go and complain about the whole ordeal.
Long story short, the owner was quite apologetic about it and a day or so later he put up a better fence to keep the dog inside his yard.
We have 2 strong and protective mutts as well, but they don’t run loose.