What is it like to be a dog in Peru?
Just like a lot of other things in life, this depends on the circumstances. There are rich and poor. Dogs lucky enough to be adopted by the right families live a comfortable, even luxurious life- style. In the posh districts of San Isidro, Miraflores and Barranco, you can see these dogs walking with the employees of the house.
These privileged dogs get to go to the parks to exercise and to relieve themselves. Most of them are elegant and snobbish pure-breds of various types. In the winter they get to wear a nice blanket coat as protection from the cold. They may also be fortunate enough to have their own trainer who will exercise them and teach them proper manners.
This latter benefit is one that we have offered to our dogs. The trainer, named Miguel Angel, has a remarkable ability to relate to canines. Immediately they recognize in him a friend. Is it the body language or a special smell?
I don’t know. I do know that when he comes to the house, the dogs are immediately ecstatic. He has trained our dogs, Ariel and Falcor, to do all sorts of tricks: shake hands, stand up on their hind legs, etc. Virtually none of these will they do for anyone else. That includes me.
Regarding doggy behavior, he told me that he once got an emergency call from a family. It seemed that their Doberman Pincher had taken to jumping on the dinner table when the food was served and consuming the dinner while growling at the family members. Desperate and hungry, the family pleaded with Miguel Angel to train the dog to stop this behavior. Fortunately for them, within a short time he had the dog behaving perfectly.
My duty is to walk the dogs which I must do twice a day. Ariel and Falcor have some sort of internal time piece that tells them it is time to go out. They are quick and insistent in their demand to do so. As we walk, all sorts of people come up to them saying, “How beautiful” and petting them. This admiration they expect as a normal course of their lives.
Of course I am reporting all of this second hand given that I am not a dog. Since it may be presumptuous of me to speak for them , I decided to interview our two dogs as we went on one of our daily walks around the neighborhood.
I refer to myself as the Master although this is an empty title.
MASTER: How’s life?
FALCOR: It’s ok, but we don’t get to walk enough. We should go out at least ten times a day.
ARIEL: The food here is terrible. I much prefer to eat the delicious things that I can find on the street. A decaying chicken bone— yum.
FALCOR: My dearest wish is to catch and eat a pigeon. Why don’t you let me run after them?
MASTER: Forget that. I want to know why you won’t get up with me in the morning?
FALCOR: Are you serious? We dogs have to work 24-7 pleasing you humans. At least we can get a little extra sleep in the morning.
MASTER: any other complaints?
ARIEL: Yes, Just when I get a nice doggy smell going—we get a bath. It’s just not fair.
Master: I’ll see what I can do.
So that’s the life of a dog—a least for the privileged two who live with us.