I first had the idea to write a blog about stray dogs while visiting the Chilean port town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Valparaiso last year.
In fact, we even spent our last morning there going around taking photos of many a homeless hound for just that purpose. But then Rich’s camera got stolen during lunch that same day, and it seemed the idea would have to be shelved.
Happily, we got another shot at it (no pun intended) this year, when we returned to South America. Even better, I was able to expand the concept to take in several other Chilean cities (although Valparaiso still had my most-loved mutts).
The incredible number of stray dogs you come across wherever you go in Chile is clearly a country-wide problem. That being said, during our most recent trip, we leaned that not all the strays are uncared for, unwanted or unloved.
Apparently, owning a pet dog in Chile is a luxury most people can’t afford. As a result, many of the strays are sort of adopted by an unspoken local committee. People will often feed them as if they were there own pets, but on a part-time basis, when they are able. The rest of the time, they rely on other people in the neighbourhood doing likewise. Happily, this means that a surprising number of the strays are actually reasonably well fed.
Originally, I was going to call this post The Dogs of Valparaiso, or something like that. I have to admit to laughing out loud to myself when I came up with the name Chile Dogs! I hope you like it too!
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