Chile From Within

A Dogs Life, Aperrando, Beat, Hero Dog

Posted in chile, Chile culture, mierda, Santiago, Uncategorized by tomasdinges on December 10, 2008

Heroic dog tries to save his buddy who has been hit by a fast-moving car in the fast-lane of an six-lane highway. The incident occurred March 23rd 2008, but the video was recently released, according to highway officials. A wave of attention around the world has been attracted by this most “human” of reactions.

Welcome to a dogs life in Chile, the Beat life.

There are thousands of them in Santiago and throughout the country.

Roaming in packs through the city, they have a history of attacking young children and old ladies. They are also sweet and loyal, but it still is not suggested you touch them. They can be mangy, scabied, scarred and limping, not to mention funny-looking. Survival of the fittest indeed. With no leash to speak of, no caretakers, they adopt the characteristics of a pack of orphaned kids, or a bored gang afterschool.

Remember the movie Kids?

They guard their territory, and have rampant sex with large and small, and get stuck, they scavenge what they can, strike up useful friendships sympathetic people, and will sometimes follow you home.

You can identify the leaders, the bitches, the new arrivals and the lame and weak one’s who despite their physical attributes have garnered the loyalty of the bigger dogs, and thus protection.

One identifies bizarre combinations, dachsunds and terriers, big head, small legs, and occassionally purebreds.

They are to some extent adored and given nicknames and protection, as they permeate Chilean society.

One blogger, Carmen Figueroa Cox, writing for the conservative, and “pure-bred” El Mercurio website, has even suggested that “quiltros” be Chile’s country image to reflect Chile’s actual mestizo state, and debunk the absurd pursuit of purity, and thus exclusivity and exceptionalism in Chilean blood lines.

To Aperrar is a verb meaning “to dog it.” It is the closest thing to Beat, as used in On the Road, exhausted to the point of exaltation.

But how did the quiltros get here.

Well, I’d just say it is partially the irresponsibility of  a country with fucked up views of virility and sex, even dog sex. Or at least this is what one person told me.  Male dogs are not castrated because it is inhumane, said one dog owner in a conversation. These male dogs are also allowed to roam the streets at night, only to come home to scraps.

Pet “owners” take minimal care of them and seem to adopt them willfully, but take little care.

Often times it is a question of money. Spaying and neutering cost much money that is often better spent elsewhere.

The Humane Society would still be something that Chileans would associate with victims of torture under the Pinochet regime, not dogs.

In lieu of social norms and any sort of policy to deal with the issue, there are occasional roundups and mass slaughter of street dogs, or quiltros.

In one case the dogs who had staked a claim to the Plaza de la Constitucion, or the Plaza in front of the Presidential Palace, survived a roundup of three years ago. Why? They had the protection of the Presidential guard, literally.

The dogs often have the sympathy of the people, who give them nicknames, like Jonas and Mero, in this fictional account of the above video.

But for those who don’t have this protection, there is mass slaughter (euthenasia), which most recently occurred at the Sociedad Protectora de Animales where the bodies of 30 cat and dogs were found on site. It is alleged that weekly 50 dog carcasses are removed from the site.

See The Clinic for more:

resulting in this:

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6 Responses

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  1. Mike Mueller said, on December 21, 2008 at 7:33 am

    We are coming to Santiago to make a film regarding the plight of these dogs and the hero dog. We need the help of the reporter who covered this story. Please contact me
    Mike Mueller at green622@gmail.com; or Vanessa Schulz at vschulz@gmail.com
    Vanessa is an award winning documentary film maker, covering areas of environmental and animal rights issues. Please make contact with one or both of us as soon as you have some time.
    Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Mike Mueller
    Assistant Producer | 21 Paradigm

  2. stilllifeinbuenosaires said, on January 6, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    What is more humane–castrating each of them or poisoning hundreds of their offspring?

    Very irritating mindset to hear.

    • tomasdinges said, on January 8, 2009 at 11:36 pm

      there is no policy, or more importantly, ethic, which governs the relationship with these animals.

      Now that I think about it, when did domesticated animals get such respect in the states? Im not sure what is better, and now that i think about it (im doing lots of thinking) where does that word come from and why do we apply it to treatment animals.

  3. Dawn said, on January 30, 2009 at 2:56 am

    I was just in Chile for field work and noticed that the of young teenage boys reminded me a little of the packs of dogs. Loitering and observant…but I didn’t want one to approach me.

    • tomasdinges said, on February 2, 2009 at 10:42 pm

      Smoking cigarettes and wearing black as well? The difference about the dogs is that they bite. What sort of field work were you doing?

  4. http://groups.diigo.com said, on January 23, 2013 at 5:34 am

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