Sunday, March 14, 2010

Puerto Rican Island Dogs

Don't mean to rain on your parade - As I've been reading what seems to be somewhat of an idillic existance between dogs, well I don't see dogs suffering from fight injuries as pleasant and that's life, and dogs and humans this has been in the back of my mind. This just came up on the horse lists with a load of horrible experiences being posted by people on horseback.. Interesting that this doesn't raise it's ugly head in PR. I know dogs do this for fun.

Thanks to my good friend, Cheryl for the feedback. The focus of my writing is about the complex society dogs in this area have; idyllic it's not.
No one knows how many satos/feral dogs are running on the island. I believe it is estimated 2,500,000 plus. This place is no larger than Rhode Island. Many of these dogs, like Bonita are born to moms in nature without the benefit of loving humans. Living in fear of and in the shadow of man is that a curse or will they adapt, what is their quality of life?
Bonita was close to a long slow death, when we arrived. Her own mother would attack her severely whenever she would attempt to eat.
Fear, aggression or the threat of aggression is corner stone of canine society. At night when the interlopers come; there are horrible fights. When I first arrived Kirt would pull me back when I wanted to run out to break it up.
Injured, diseased and dying; it's all here every day of the week alongside the beauty and wonder. There are plenty of blogs about the poor island dogs, how they suffer.
These dogs do not get vet care unless they are blessed by the presence of one of Puerto Rico’s wonderful dog saviors. I will be posting on the humans behind these organizations soon.
I write about how they live, the good Samaritans who feed them, our struggles to keep them from itching.

We have had no water here this whole trip. Aceductos, the water company can’t seem to connect the pipes without a leak. They deliver water in tankers to our roof top reservoir; that’s idyllic.

As far as chasing horses goes, let me say that my limited experience here leads me to believe that any dog that chased horses around here would only do it the once. Boys too young or too poor for cars get around on horseback. This is very big here with issues; surprise. These boys carry big long whips and they know how to use them. Preguntas??
In January I spent a long week in class 8:30 - 5 pm because the situation is deplorable. This was the first graduating class of certified Animal Control Officers on the island ever! The last group of ACO'S were throwing animals off a bridge to get rid of them.
I DO NOT want a situation in which to control the numbers healthy dogs are picked up and killed. They have a life.
Good days or bad days these dogs go about their lives. I find what they do interesting. In the mean while there are many cool dogs on this island to meet and feed.
Thanks for the question! I had no idea that the suffering part wasn't coming across.

1 comment:

  1. "Fear, aggression or the threat of aggression is corner stone of canine society. At night when the interlopers come; there are horrible fights."

    Is aggression really a corner stone? Is aggression normal or abnormal behavior? What is the definition of "canine aggression"? Is it unprovoked attack, defense of ones resources, protection of young, defense of ones own body? Is aggression the same thing done out of fear verses other things? Is there normal aggression and abnormal aggression? The word aggression to me leaves so much to be desired because I think the definition is way too big. Aggressive behaviors can be as different as a human serial killer (abnormal right?) and a human defending themselves from an attack (normal response right?) I really have a problem with the word aggressive. Too many dogs are labeled with this word with all of it's negative stigma in tow. We try to rectify this in behavioral medicine by labeling the aggression... fear aggression, dominance aggression, territorial aggression, dog aggression, ect. Most dog's "aggressive" behaviors tend to be a product of environment (my own opinion). Some dogs seem to have more "aggressive" tendencies from the beginning. But is that really so? Or are they a product of their environment in their early life. Competition for food among a litter of puppies is thought to increase resource guarding behaviors. Puppies raised as "singletons" have less bite inhibition and other control problems if not socialized with other puppies. What they learn in the first weeks of life is amazing to me. This subject is so big. I have so many questions. It seems the more I read the more questions I have.