Monday, 3 February 2020

If there is one thing I dislike about Peru, it has to be

Before I get started on today's blog post, there is one thing that I feel the need to address. The thing is, I am not writing this post because I feel the need or want to bash or trash talk Peruvians. That is as far away from the truth that it's possible to come. The case and point are that I do live here and in many ways starting to feel like a Peruvian myself, but there are some aspects of the culture that less attractive than others. My reality is that I have a deep respect for Peru and its culture, history and people. The fact is, this is the main reason why I started my decade long history with the country in the first place. So, in many ways, I do feel like treading carefully when it comes to this topic.

Yes, all cultures indeed have their good and bad sides, there is no exception to the rule here. Since I have no interest what so ever when it comes to stepping on anyone's feeling or for that matter nation pride, I feel like threading carefully when I talk about this. Remember, when it comes down to things, I am just a random guest in this amazing country after all. At the same time, I want to be completely honest about my experience as an expat here in Peru and when that is said, bad things have to be mentioned as well, but it has to be done with respect. So, if there is one thing that has been frustrating me for the past 3,5 years, it has to be how animals, in general, are being treated.

Because if there is one thing that I am known for, both at home and here it's my love for animals, big and small. Just to get that question out of the way, no I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. I do love my meat and at the same time, I do not see the link between diet and respect for life. Anyway, back to the topic. Animals and their welfare have been a passion for me for as long as I can remember. My clearest childhood memories are with animals, cats, dogs, wild or farm animals the like. Here in Huaral, I am being viewed as the weird gringo who goes around feeding stray animals (cats and dogs) and for me, that's nothing bad. Because as I see it, someone has to care for them

The truth is that this is a topic that has been a source for a lot of anger and sorrow, but also some joy. Especially when I am taking one of my walks around the city and see all the malnourished and abandoned “pets” running around looking for some food. For the most part, I stop and try my best to spend some time with and feed them if that is possible. My joy comes from the amazing gratitude they show when they are being served food, a bit sceptical at first but after a few hands fed pieces all of that gets tossed aside. This is usually followed by jumping and playing around if I have the time to stick around until they are done eating. The thing is that I have much more compassion with animals than I have with humans.

There is one thing that I do feel like clarifying here. Because it's not like I am in any way indifferent to human suffering, it's not like that at all. That's not the case, but as I see it. For the most part, fully grown adults can fend for themself most of the time, but a stray dog or abandoned pet wouldn't be able to fend for themself in the long run. I do get emotional when I am being confronted or witness to an individual who has ended up in a rough patch will do what I can to help there as well. I would also donate to organizations who help the homeless if that is possible. For me, my passion lays with stray dogs and cats. That is something that has come to the surface after I moved here to Huaral. 

I have lost count on how many animals (cats and dogs) who have passed through my door for a temporary and safe haven. It has to be around 50, even my Gin-gin (ginger cat) is one of these cases. They have come in all sizes and ages, from tiny newborn kittens to fully grown pit bulls. The last one started as these has to go right away to sorrow when they left for their new home. The pit bulls were rescued from a dogfighting facility of some sort and were badly malnourished on top of being badly treated, but they became my best friends during the stay. This is also why I had to go on a break when it came to be a foster home or temporary home, it broke my heart every time one of them left.

So the thing that I do not like about the Peruvian culture or mentality is how they treat their pets or for the most part lack of treatment and especially the big dogs. Because every single dog that I see in the late afternoon or night seems to live at best of cases as a semi-stray dogs type of lifestyle. They are indoors during the daytime and gets kicked out when the sun goes down and the household is getting ready for the night. This is a mentality that I do not like at all. In my world its pretty simple, if you take on the responsibility of a pet, its a 24-hour type of gig and not just when its fun or convenient for the owner. I do see this as cruelty to animals, the poor dog needs his family day and night.

This type of treatment of pets that angers and frustrate me to such a degree that I feel the need to do so much more to help. I hate seeing these poor dogs walking up and down the street hungry and cold looking for food and a place to sleep. If I could and had the financial means to do so, I would start a type of animal rescue foundation, with facilities and all, just to take care of them. The sad truth is that I am not able to do that on my own, so if there are some people out there who has the same bleeding heart for animals as I do, give me a call or send me a few lines. I would love to work with you in whatever way we can. Not that I am begging for donations or anything, just saying.

As mentioned, this is a side of Peru that I dislike a lot, but at the same time. I am not saying that all Peruvians are like this. I know many that takes pride in their pets and takes really good care of them 24/7, but then you have the worst-case scenarios. Like when their dog or cat get babies (puppies and kittens) and they end up at the roadside or by the riverbank in a plastic bag intended to starve to death. I have had a few of these in my home, both kittens and puppies. These are scenarios that anger and frustrates me and one of the reasons I want to get deeper involved in animal care type of work. You know, offering shelter, veterinarian service and such to people who cant afford to pay for it themselves.

My biggest wish or dream is that I could get to such a degree involved that I could make a decent impact and difference in this. You know, take care of the unwanted and provide healthcare service to the wanted, with that castration and sterilization of existing pets. I have tried my best to raise awareness around this, on social media and such, but with no luck at all. I know, there are so many good causes that fight for the same attention, animal rights and welfare isn't among the top receivers of such, sadly. Anyway, I am not giving up on it and I will for as long as I can, to keep on with what I am doing. Just the response from them is enough for me.

As of now, I am doing what I can do to help stray dogs and cats here in Huaral, one at stray-pet at the time. One thing I can say is that first time around, our landlord wasn't pleased with my activity. They had this no pets allowed the type of policy and I breached it at any chance I got, but they kinda semi-accepted it as long as I didn't keep any of them longer than a couple to a few weeks. This time around they have silently accepted the fact that we have a cat, but it's all about not showcasing it to the rest of the people who rent here. That we keep it to ourself more or less, but with Gin-gin doesn't make that job easy for us, because she tries to be everywhere at once.

I have many, so many stories to tell when it comes to my experience of acting as an emergency home for abandoned pets. I could with ease write a dozen blog posts on the topic and the first one that comes to mind are the two pit bulls we had. I was so worried and sceptical at first. You know the myth about these dogs being so dangerous and unpredictable, but this was something that lasted less than a couple of hours and from that moment on, pure joy or for the most part pure joy. For the entire time, we had them I had to sleep on the sofa in our living room, every night was a fight for space. Not to forget the time that the female pit bull confiscated my dinner and dessert.

I guess this could be a topic for another time and a different blog post, but I guess its time for me to start wrapping this up. So, just to have it said. I am not writing and publishing this post for some glory or to praise myself, I guess I attempt to focus on how important it is with regulation, animal rights and laws that protect them. They are not a toy or the flavour of the day, they are living creatures with feelings and needs, just like us human-beings. That is also why we need to have a focus on this, to make sure that there are laws that protect them and that there are laws that regulate pet ownership. Of course, you can't prevent all cases, but you can prosecute those who do not treat their pets accordingly.


  1. Kjempe bra innlegg! Er så viktig å sette lys på dette problemet! Dyr har også følelser og skal behandles med respekt! Dessverre er det mange så har bruk og kast mentaliteten når det kommer til de stakkars dyra! Du gjør en god jobb, forsett med det! Bra blogg, bra mann! -Linda-

    1. Tusen takk @Linda, koselige ord å få i fra deg. Jeg er bare glad i dyr og det gjør meg frustrert å se hvordan enkelte kan behandle sine kjæledyr. Når det kommer til bloggen, må si det er morsomt å drive på med dette. Så tusen takk for de varme ordene og så håper jeg å se deg her igjen i fremtiden!