I spent three weeks in Santiago, Chile surrounded by dogs. There were two dogs within the gates where I stayed serving as watch dogs and there were dogs all over the streets all around the city. Most of them just sat there and watched you go past them. I saw a lady with car trunk full of dog food feed a dog that was in the grass at the gas station. You could hear the dogs barking all night. You could hear the guard dogs barking at other dogs on the other side of the fence. It was sad and it was also bizarre that there could be so many homeless, uncared for dogs – some estimate there are 250,000 homeless dogs there.
I love dogs. I kiddingly tell people I was a latch key kid raised by four dogs and my parents would check in on us now and then. One of the main requirements when I was looking for a wife is she must love dogs. The city I live in now restricts us to only two dogs so that’s why we only have our two Australian Shepherds. Last summer I rode my bike 1,000 miles around the towns where I live and I have been chased by a lot of loose dogs – mainly farm dogs. Just yesterday a dog jumped out from behind a snow drift and was barking at me as I rode my bike past him. I have seen wild dogs roaming the farm land as a pack causing trouble killing chickens and sheep. In my experience packs of wild dogs means trouble.
It seemed that the people of Santiago just accepted the dogs roaming and laying around all over the neighborhoods and towns. There were four dogs sleeping outside the doors of a big grocery store. I wanted to take video to show my dogs how good they have it – they are loved, fed, cared for and have a safe place to be. If my dogs could talk I wonder if they would tell me they would prefer to be out exploring the world. One of the dogs where I was staying ended up on the wrong side of the gate and had to wait until morning to be let in. My parents once had a three legged German Shepherd who was adopted from the Denver Humane Society that would jump over a six foot back yard wooden privacy fence to escape only to go sit at the front door of the house and ask to be let back in.
I hope those people in Chile can figure out a way to help all those dogs become someones best friend. My dogs kept looking at the front door for the three weeks waiting for me to come home – they were quite excited to see me. Yes my family was still at home with them but they are not content until everyone is home that is supposed to be – my wife said they were sad without me home.