Dog: Man’s best friend?

Did you know in some countries like Chile in South America, there are over 80 thousand abandoned dogs and 1.2 million that are still living on the streets but have some kind of owner?

As soon as you get off the plane and drive around Santiago you will see the hundreds and hundreds of “Quiltros” (street dogs). They might look different, after all that crossbreeding between them, but inside they are the same selfless animals looking for love and affection.

Truth is, that “undeveloped countries” or “third world countries” involve an ugly reality of lack of education and resources. I was born in Chile and there are lots of things I could tell you about it that are beautiful but also some things that are not so pretty.  I would like to write about the forgotten and mistreated dogs and cats that are embedded in the culture like milk, bread and butter.

Unfortunately Chileans do not know any better. I grew up thinking it was OK to breed your dogs, and just hand the puppies to family and friends. Many people think that it is important for all female dogs to have a litter to feel complete! Diseases spread from dog to dog as vaccinations are not really heard of for most pet owners. There is no money to put into public education on responsible pet ownership as there are many areas lacking in funds that support the basic essentials for a lot of Chileans living in poverty.

After years of living outside of my country,  I came back to photograph the “Street Dogs” for a story I was doing on dog photography. Taking also the opportunity to introduce pet photography in Chile. I spent some time with my family and taught one of my mum’s dog how to sit, lay down and speak on command one afternoon.  Well let me tell you that dog became the attraction of the neighbourhood. To them, it was like she was a circus dog! This really made me sad, as I realized my own family, having three dogs, had no idea about the animals they had nor their needs or potential.

I went around and played  and cuddled with as many streets dogs I could find, while everybody looked at me disgusted as they usually defined them as “dirty animals that carry diseases”.
Even tears came to my eyes when I realized how many of these suffering innocent dogs were not just ignored but publicly mistreated like rodents are.

Although it will take time, I am confident that the future will bring a positive change for my street dogs in Chile and that Chileans will one day come together like we Australians are coming together for Oscar’s Law.

Director of Roka Pet Photography

Filled Under : Dogs

1 Comment

    • John Dunas
    • September 22, 2012
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    Oh I remember so well what you have described. Those dogs are so intelligent.