pawprint.gif SPEAKING
pawprint.gif BIOGRAPHY
pawprint.gif DOGS without BORDERS ~ Book
pawprint.gif LOS MUTTS ~ Book
from DOG ~ Book
pawprint.gif CAIRO CATS ~ Book
pawprint.gif SHADOWS in the SAND ~ Book
pawprint.gif GIFTS



in a




Lorraine and a stray dog on the streets of Arequipa, five short minutes after meeting. But, is it a stray? Many Latinos have a looser relationship with their dogs, and in this city many let their dogs out during the day without collars. Some stick close to home, others forage for food. Others, like the next one below, seem without an owner.



Usually Dog and Bruiser are with me when we wander the streets. Today I was doing errands in an area of auto parts stores. Immediately, I felt something special with this dog and he with me. For an hour we wandered around together, he slowly closing the physical gap between us, returning to where I was, and very casually, almost inconspicuously touching my hand or body with his nose. It was like ballet. And then I crossed that dangerous gap which those working with wildlife or doing documentary photography should never do - I scratched his head. That action told him that we were now a pack. Having crossed that line knowing I would have to leave, I bought him three eggs and bread. Though on the lean side, he wasn't interested, so I left the mix in a plastic bag for another dog.

Now, I really had to leave. I made sure he saw me depart in the taxi, and then watched as he frantically searched up and down the street looking for me, narrowly missing being hit by a car. I will try never to cross that bridge again.

living statue

As I followed him, he stopped at every place another dog had marked, and tasted and tested it for information. I met his dog friends, some who were friendlier than others. Without being on a lead, he was able to take his time, a luxury not afforded all dogs.

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Toby is owned by an older woman who lets him out onto the street, and brings him back in at night to protect her. She told me he wasn't aggressive, though I saw him chase into the street after a few bicycles.

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Toby can look frightening and I saw two mother's usher their children into the street to avoid getting too close. To me, he was clearly a lovable dog.


This couple have a Peruvian hairless dog which stays inside the house, and a bulldog which lives on the roof to guard.

street scene

There's always a great deal of attention paid to stray or homeless dogs, which is of course very important. One of the reasons for this focus is because they're so visible. The more I travel, the more I'm convinced the ones who really need our assistance are the invisible dogs, the ones kept in kennels, chained to a post, or locked for their entire lives on a roof to guard. Unlike street dogs, they have no freedom. They can't scrounge for food if they're hungry, and they're completely isolated from people, and their own kind.

street scene

Often, we don't know these dogs exist. I found this to be the case while traveling around the US, and while in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Because I had my canines with me, when we walked down the street we'd sometimes be able to locate dogs who were locked in houses because while they wouldn't always respond to human calls, they would to their own kind. The same thing is happening in S. America. I see far more dogs than the average person because my own are with me.

vendors orange

I've now spent 14 years living amongst people in the Middle East, then black Africa, and now Latins. Though superficially the three types of people appear different, I sense their relationships with animals is very similar. I see people with a strong bond with their animals. I also see people petrified of dogs. I think some of us have a genetic disposition towards animals. Like any leanings in life, some of it is what we grow up with, and some educational.


These four dogs are all owned and clearly loved by the woman in the background, but with no fences, are free to have their own lives.

I think we don't realize how inbred fear towards dogs is in many families. In the West, it's now considered 'the thing' to have them as pets. When we see anyone feeling otherwise, we consider their fear to be irrational. But is it? Dogs are a step away from being wild. Anyone who's witnessed a dog fight will recognize this. Rabies has been a legitimate reason to keep a distance from them. Like men's anger towards women, which sometimes gets unleashed as rape, I think the fury that happens when a dog injures or kills a child is a suppressed anger members of society have which they don't feel comfortable venting in our 'dog-friendly' society.


How often have we all seen this scene in our lives? A picture is about to be taken, and a man reaches over to offer the pup a drink of beer. The more I travel, the less differences I see between nationalities.

Once in upstate NY, I met a man who walked his little white frou-frou dog on a lead. When I told him there was a forest nearby where his dog could run off-lead his response was, "Oh, my dog wouldn't like it in there. He's a city dog." My guess is that this fluffed up creature would happily kill another creature in the right circumstances. This puppy is the same.


I've never seen so many dogs than in Peru which have one brown and one blue eye. I fell in love with this one instantly. His friend was more cautious of me, but was won over.

I get irritated when I'm obviously enjoying the company of a dog, either mine or another, and I'm asked repeatedly by passersby, "Does it bite?" However, I've had to reconsider. While photographing dogs, I hold a camera low to the ground. To them, it looks like a rock which could be thrown at them. My clothes and body reek of dog smell. Initially they're curious, but there comes a moment when curiosity gives way to fear. Fear can lead to aggression. When a dog is looking at you that way, you see the incredible power they hold. I now understand what others see.

They CAN look scary. They can be threatening. They can be dangerous. I'm sometimes amazed they're tolerated as much as they are. They live side by side in other countries much more than they are in the West, where they're regulated and behind fences and in houses.


One of the things which is evident in Latin America, which I believe to be the same elsewhere, is there's a difference in how different kinds of dogs are perceived. Walt Disney did the humane movement a great service by introducing stars like Lassie into homes. Unfortunately, Lassie was a Collie. Now, as cable tv is available almost everywhere, the public can see that Collies, Pekinese, Poodles and Labs, are what their home needs. Purina and Alpo pet foods have capitalized on this and what you see advertising dog food are cute pedigree pups. Again, and again I've seen people coo adoringly at a Dalmation, but are fearful/abhorant of a mutt.


Gladys sells furniture at Abalino Market, and collects scraps from the many restaurants in the area to feed the many strays. Unknowingly, she could be doing a disservice, as ready food will just produce more puppies. However, without a effective garbage system, the dogs would probably just collect the scraps themselves. She also provides some with medicine. She's sad there is no humane organization in Arequipa.


I think it's very easy for humans to bring their own values to the world of animals. I do it too. Freedom of movement is important to me, so when I see animals who don't have it, I feel strongly and want to champion that 'cause'. Others may feel it's more important for animals to have up to date medical treatment, as that's what is important in their own lives. But what's truly important for a dog??


I hear many travelers and tourists look at all the dogs on the street in some S. American countries and immediately say, "They're so uncared for, and without love." And in some cases, this is definitely true - just as in the US.

What people often don't see is the amount of freedom some of these dogs have compared to American dogs. Plenty of American dog who are sometimes very isolated while their people are at work and school all day long, and when they return home, they don't have the energy or time to walk their pets. I see many dogs here who don't live as long, but while they do, they're free to interact with their dog friends when they want. They sometimes also have a lot of human love, though it's not always shown by physical stroking like we do in the US. That doesn't mean the love isn't there. It's just different.

street scene

Cecilia with Snoopy and Doggie.

My dogs aren't frou-frou puppies. They're ex street dogs. I walk along and people don't realize we're together since they don't wear collars. So I see people go to the other side of the street when they see them, and shoo them away when they get 'too' close. However, I also have people coming up to me all the time to proudly show me their dogs.


"You mean, we can't eat the puppy???" Dog and Bruiser hover over Cookie, hoping for leftovers. Cookie eats quickly... By the time we left, though the weren't the best of friends, the three dogs had reached mutual understandings.

street scene

Angie, a terrific cook, and her family hosted me and the dogs for WEEKS in Arequipa. Thank you!

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This is for my Mum and Dad. Peugeot is what we had when I was growing up. This one is in the process of having its interior renovated. It doesn't have a sunroof and the grill is different than the 403's we had.



Animal Lovers
Lovers of Travel

February 11, 2008

It's 12 noon by the time I leave my hosts Bob and Angie and her family, who've graciously welcomed me into their home for almost three weeks while I've visited and waited for minor repairs on my van which took far longer than expected. It's been amazing to speak English everyday. And to just hang out, and watch tv. Though I'm not a city person, I enjoy Arequipa, helped largely by a series of almost gated communities interspersed with parks. Not once do I put Dog and Bruiser on a lead. There is no leash law, and the dogs and I wander the streets freely. All the neighborhood dogs are free to interact as they wish. There are a few who don't like us. There's others we don't like. And some we adore. Not once does a fight break out.

It's wonderful to see their puppy Cookie learning to interact with my dogs. Cookie learns to respect heirarchy, an important dog skill in Peru, something many dogs in the U.S. have trained out of them. Cookie learns what she can get away with. It's been fascinating to watch how quickly she's learnt how to do 'tricks', something I've never been interested in teaching Dog and Bruiser. Bob and Angie have tried their expert techniques on my dogs. And decided it's not worth the bother. At 11 years old, both Dog and Bruiser know if they wait long enough, the treat will be theirs.

Ironically, CBS television contact me and invite me to apply for a reality show they'll be making - the search for America's Top Dog duo. I'm initially very interested until I learn that instead of a crew flying down to film us, it means flying back to the states immediately. We'd be one of 12 dog/people teams in a house in Los Angeles for 40 days - the length of time it took me to travel the Forty Days Road by camel. And, it means choosing only one dog. Dog OR Bruiser, but not both. I feel it's a Sophie's Choice situation. The pot of gold at the end is high. But so is my respect and love for my dogs. We've been together 24 hours a day for the better part of over four years. It isn't worth the stress they'd have to endure. If we were already in America, it might be different. I trust something else will turn up which more readily suits what we're doing. Besides, I feel we're on the brink of what this adventure is all about. I don't want to disrupt that momentum.