Still on edge from the mugging (Traumatic Day in Chile: Part 1), we left downtown and decided to take our little dog for a relaxing walk in the park to unwind.
Spoiler alert: the walk was anything but relaxing, but let’s start with something a bit more positive.
According to this article about Chilean street dogs, there are 200,000 street dogs in Santiago and 2.5 million in Chile.
One of the interesting aspects of the dog culture in Santiago is that people are very kind to street dogs and try to take care of them as best as they can. You will see people leave out bowls of fresh water and food. They also build little homes for them, so the dogs have somewhere to go during the scorching summers and frigid winters.
Street dogs here even have a special nickname here, “quiltro,” and seem to be very much a part of the local community.
For having so many street dogs, I have been pleasantly surprised at how clean and feces-free most of the city is, especially compared to Montevideo and Buenos Aires.
The dog culture in Santiago is very different to what we are used to, and not in a positive way. In addition to the plethora of quiltros, people here seem to have no qualms about walking around with their dog off of its leash (and sometimes out of control).
We’ve seen big dogs chasing cyclists and dogs getting into fights, all while the owners were nearby and seemingly unfazed. Sometimes, it feels like the street dogs are better behaved than the unleashed domestic dogs.
Now, getting back to our little guy… Instead of a relaxing walk, we ended up having to fend off a group of large, unleashed dogs before they could get to our little Papi.
Luckily, he’s so tiny we were able to yank him literally up and out of danger. Meanwhile, the other dogs’ owners were RIGHT THERE and couldn’t have cared less.
I was infuriated, but, being scared of large, barking dogs myself, I left the park as fast as humanly possible.
Well, after the mugging earlier that day and the near-attack at the park, all three of us were DONE and decided to head back home. Little did we know, we were not out of the woods just yet…
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Side Note: Our time here has gotten much more pleasant since that fateful weekend, and I promise to write about the good stuff too.