Dogs in Peru have a very different life to the domesticated pooches I’m accustomed to in Australia.
Throughout Peru, you can see dogs wearing jumpers (or sweaters, as some parts of the world say). They can often be spotted in the latest knitwear or t-shirts designed either for dogs or humans.
At home in Australia, it’s not uncommon for me to see toy dogs dressed up in winter to keep their coats warm. The outfits can be purchased at pet stores, and might have a special lambs wool lining and a paw-printed pattern for extra cuteness. But something tells me this dressing fetish in Peru is not for the benefit of the dog! Even the dirtiest dogs can be seen wearing outfits, and usually hand-me-downs from their owner rather than tailored specifically for the four-legged pooches. The funniest and most ridiculous case I’ve seen is a German Shepherd with a grey knitted alpaca jumper with cut-off sleeves.
Also, it’s extremely common for dog owners to let their dogs wander the streets. This is likely due to the type of houses and lifestyles that Peruvians live; they don’t tend to have backyards and are fairly lax with looking after their pets. The dogs obviously get fed and clothed, but are often left to be fairly independent and sleep on the streets.
Dogs can be seen chillaxing on the pathways, socialising with one another and occasionally sipping on lattes (OK.. maybe not to that extreme). Seriously though… these little flea bags have a better social life than me!
Eleanor Tan is a researcher and blogger for the Karikuy Volunteer Program in Lima, Peru.