Heartbreakers: Mexico City’s Street Dogs

Here I am petting a stray dog who lived on the beach in the Yucatan. From 2004.

Here I am petting a stray dog who lived on the beach in the Yucatan. From 2004.

There is nothing sweeter and more grateful than a street dog in Mexico. They always approach Charlie and me, but very shyly. If I stop and look at them directly, they cower, turn around and walk away.

Our neighborhood has about 6 full-time street dogs. At least two of them semi-belong to a street sweeper, because they follow him everywhere. I love it when he is sweeping on our block, because the strays come, too, and the really huge one, Ramone, sits outside our lobby. He looks like a really big, really scruffy Giant Schnauzer/Rottweiler, with big orange feet, a black body and big orange eyebrows and ears.

There’s also Solovino (sort of translates to “he who walks alone”), who has some mental problems. He sometimes barks furiously at cars for no apparent reason. Last week I watched him flip out when a woman walked by him, dragging a pull-behind suitcase.  The sound of the wheels against the concrete set him off — he started attacking the suitcase. (I know these dog’s names courtesy of my friend Susana, who helps take care of them).

In the U.S., we’d put these street dogs in shelters, and only the most cute and most tame would eventually find new homes. The rest? Well, you know how it goes.

Dogs in Taxco, Mexico. State of Guerrero.

Dogs in Taxco, Mexico. State of Guerrero.

In South Texas, where I was a volunteer dog walker, the huge amount of homeless dogs was overwhelming. There really was no way to house them all and not have to euthanize some of them.  People get angry about this, but when you actually work in a place like that, and realize a dog is only getting walked once every few weeks (hundreds and hundreds of dogs…and only a few volunteers), you come to accept it, or at least learn to put it in the back of your brain and try not to think about it too much.

In Mexico City, there are no shelters for animals (at least that I’m aware of), but the dogs and cats survive on their own, as they do throughout the world (I was kept up many a night by feral and frisky tomcats in NYC).

This morning a new dog was on my block. He ignored Charlie and me, and I could see some old injuries on his back. These guys are amazing survivors, I’m sure they have some of the strongest immune systems in the world:

A new-to-me street dog rests on the pavement.

A new-to-me street dog rests on the pavement.

He has an injury on his right side, behind his front right paw.

He has an injury on his right side, behind his front right paw.

5 thoughts on “Heartbreakers: Mexico City’s Street Dogs

  1. dregina says:

    I’m reading this while sitting on my living room couch with Columbo resting his head on my knee……there’s an irony there, somewhere……

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