One thing you pretty fast get used to in Peru is that there are so many dogs running around in the streets trying to find food and searching in garbage. They don’t seem to belong to anyone. Some of them might, but most of them don’t.
The funny thing is that when you give them too much attention they will probably follow you around all day. At least until you start throwing stones or something. It happened to us already and we observed it a couple of times.
One time though everything got a little out of hand. We wanted to go for a little hike around the ruins near Chivay. And somehow a dog followed us. It was okay, he didn’t do anything, didn’t beg, just ran in front or behind us most of the time. He was kind of cool. He posed on some rocks. We even passed some people with dogs and sheep but he stayed with us.
Coming back towards the town we passed a group of sheep when the dog suddenly started chasing two of them up the hill until we lost sight of him. The fields were full of cacti so we thought and hoped that he would rather hurt himself before catching a sheep. After a few minutes the dog caught up with us again his snout being covered with blood and his face having bloody dots all over. Our hopes that he wouldn’t be able to bite or even kill the sheep were little but diminished when we saw the dead animal lying in the fields with a bloody neck. We didn’t understand why the dogs did this horrible thing, he didn’t even eat the sheep, just killed it. I was completely shocked by this act! We tried to get rid of the dog which proved to be a lot harder than we thought but then walked back to Chivay to report the killed sheep.
This made me a lot more conscious about what those animals are capable of doing and that a random dog following you around is not that harmless as it seems. In general I think pets here are unfortunately not treated as family members as they are in Europe for example. You see a lot of people kicking dogs, throwing stuff at them and so on. Even if they belong to someone they run around in the dirt all day, are nasty and scruffy and only get rests of food at home. You also see a lot of children playing with dogs or cats as they were teddy bears. They never learned how to treat animals like living creatures which is really sad.
I really hope that some day those dogs don’t need to dig in garbage or beg from strangers, but I am afraid people here don’t care about animals and there are already too many strays to control it.