Chileans certainly seem to love their dogs.
I can’t really comment on their relationships with felines. Although the absence of cats may be a direct consequence of the abundance of street dogs. I did observe a rusty corrugated roof in Valparaiso groaning under the weight of some well-fed moggies sunning themselves. However, they did display the usual pussy disdain towards the thoughtful offering of cat biscuits, piled in a heap by some cat loving Porteña of Valparaiso.
Dogs, however, are ubiquitous; large, small, furry, wooly, pedigree and mutt, they pervade even the smallest of towns.
Mostly dusty, never threatening nor cowering, often chasing tyres. It would seem this love of rolling rubber is a Chilean canine trait.
Man’s best friend is just that indeed.
The locals often leave sheets of flattened cardboard to protect these street dogs from the cold pavement, thoughtfully placed in disused shop doorways or on the edge of the busy pavements. It’s not unusual to see small makeshift kennels of cardboard and plastic on the footpath or in an empty nook.
These pooches are well-fed, but owner-less, with containers of agua randomly positioned on footpaths. Most in need of a good brush, or to have the street dust washed away. These four legged furry friends may not have someone to hold their leash or throw a ball, but they are certainly not neglected or ignored.
Chilean street dogs are not loved by one individual, but cared for by the community.