Photo essay: The dogs of Peru

When we landed in Peru earlier this year, one of the first things we noticed was the abundance of dogs wandering the streets. We saw them all over the streets of Cusco, in the Sacred Valley, and around Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) too.

There is indeed an issue with stray animals in Peru, but according to our Cusco walking tour guide, many of these dogs are actually owned as pets. The thing is, pet culture in Peru is quite different than in North America. Whereas we baby our canine friends and treat them as dependent members of the family to be pampered and contained, domesticated dogs in Peru and other parts of Latin America lead more independent daily lives and are expected to earn their keep. Typically, they are fed by their owners in the morning and at night, but are otherwise left to roam free throughout the day, in search of their mid-day meals, to socialize with their dog buddies, and to get into who knows what other mischief.

Hereโ€™s a television series idea for any aspiring showrunners out there: a day in the life of a Peruvian dog. Iโ€™d watch it!