Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Survival of the fittest

I have been awakened at night several times by the sound of dogs fighting. There are a large number of strays that seem to run in packs at night. From time to time they prey on a dog here in the main square, and the squeals of distress coming from that direction break my heart.

I place my fingers tightly in my ears and just hope that the weaker dog somehow gets away. God knows they try, as the din carries off into the distance, often continuing a long, long while. I haven’t figured out which is the group that takes such delight in attacking, but surely they are trying to establish a new dominance here.

Last night was one of those nights. The vicious snarling, growling and barking, and the terrible sounds of distress from their target woke me about 4am, and I was not able to sleep again. When the sounds of the run, chase, attack cycle had faded I looked outside into the square, and there was a pack of dogs lying indolently in the intersection below. Watched over by a large German Sheppard looking cross of a mutt, they were apparently certain the terrain was safe now.

As the sky lightened I could hear the whimpering of a dog moving slowly into the plaza and up the street. My guess it has puppies somewhere and despite whatever its injuries, a valiant effort was being made to get to them.

I got out of bed wanting to hunt down the mayor of the city and explain what a detraction this is for the city, and suggest he have these super aggressive dogs dealt with. I think I will ask for help writing a letter tomorrow (in Spanish), and also mention that a tourist here had recently been attacked by an aggressive pack of dogs.

Think I will also suggest a catch and castrate type of program for the strays, something like the City our Courtenay does to help control the population of feral cats. Any dogs showing extreme aggression should be put down. After they have been tested for rabies, which is a problem in these parts.

And maybe I will take Steve’s suggestion and carry a walking stick with me, which could be used to fend off any possible attack.

It is once again late evening, and the plaza is slowly clearing of people and cars for the night. I can already hear distant fighting, and hope it doesn’t return to the area outside my window. No doubt subconsciously I will be listening for it.


Just one week until I fly to Lima, and on to Arequipa. It is called the white city because all the colonial buildings were built from a white rock found locally. Supposedly one of the prettiest cities in the country, it sits beside El Misty, a perfectly formed active volcano and Colca Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon in the U.S.A. Food is supposed to be uniquely delicious, the weather some of the best in Peru, and it has many historical buildings of note.

It is still a large city, so I will have to be far more vigilant about keeping an eye on my belongings than I have here. Not one spec of trouble, nothing stolen or missing, not really surprising, this is considered one of the safest areas of the country.

Lima, Arequipa and Cusco do not have those distinctions, so it will be back to real life travel in South America.

Anticipation grows.

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