While I am in no way expecting this feature to become as successful or profound as Brandon’s Humans of New York, the quantity and variety of dogs in Peru is, no doubt, interesting. I have been here for two and half weeks now and can say with confidence that there are dogs everywhere. In Lima they roam the parks with their ‘paseadorros’, on and off leads, leaving mess in their furry wake. In the countryside (I’ve just spent a week on an adventure camp in Huaraz), they guard the farm houses of invisible owners, yapping from a distance at an unsuspecting ‘gringa’.
Now this makes it sound like I don’t appreciate the dogs here, that’s incorrect. I really do, probably because I’m missing my little puppy Ivy who I left back in England before she was even eight weeks old, pictured top left at home in Rutland. However, I was made very happy my the fact that I found a replacement pup at hotel Eccame in Huaraz, pictured on the right. I think I that that’s why I like that there appear to be so many dogs in Peru, despite the breeds here been different to in England they remind me of home, and they are almost always friendly, they don’t care that I’m a foreigner in their country, they will give me instant affection.
This is also why I was so happy to discover that my host family had a dog – Bonnie, a rather large golden lab who rules over the hallway and balcony like a Peruvian queen. She wears a pink and purple fleece coat at night to protect her from the long, grey peruvian winter, I don’t know how she’d survive if she had to spend winter in Edinburgh! Marita, the lady I’m staying with bought Bonnie as a puppy as a Christmas present for her mother 7 years ago, however it turns out that as Bonnie inevitably transformed into a fully grown Labrador, Marita’s mother did only want the puppy for Christmas and the responsibility for dog care was handed over to Marita and her family.
Pictured below are some of the other dogs I met in and around Huaraz including, a giant labrador gross great dane with legs the size of a horse, an unbearably cute fluffy puppy which lived with Ivy’s lookalike, a fluffy white fella who handled the 3000m altitude of the zipwire location with ease (much more ease than myself), and another lovely lab who could play fetch with a rock for hours. It seems that dogs are a very important part of Peruvian culture, whether they are simply there for fun and affection are they are in the cities, or whether they are there to guard the rural farms and herd all the livestock which roam the mountains.
By far the most interesting thing to note about dogs in Peru is the fact that the national dog, the ‘perro peruano’ is this bizarre, hairless creature below. According to Marita they weren’t particularly popular until around ten years ago and now you see them everywhere. I’ve already seen at least five, and while I’m sure they’re lovely in temperament they look like some kind of monster invented by JK Rowling in the Harry Potter series. Apparently they are in fact an ancient breed, revered by the Incas. Who knows, maybe they’ll grow on me.