Management plan will better serve amazing pair of dogs in Puerto Natales, Chile
Recently I was heading to a radio interview in Puerto Natales, Chile when I came across this beautiful dog. At the beginning I thought it was a regular dog, similar to the many you can find roaming free in the streets of this bustling town.
But this dog was behaving differently; she was standing still in the sidewalk as though she were waiting for something.
I approached and started talking to her, but she didn’t react like most of the dogs here which are very friendly.
That’s when I noticed she was completely blind.
I started to worry about her just standing there, like a statue in the middle of the sidewalk. She was only a few steps away from the street were cars were passing fast.
I stayed there trying to determine what I could possibly do to help her and in my concern seconds began to feel like minutes. But then she suddenly raised her snout and sniffed the air, and in the next second another black dog, came to her as though he were saying “here I am!” and they started to walk together.
I was still concerned about how she was going to cross the streets so I followed them for a little while, and then I saw one of the most amazing things I have ever seen a dog do.
The black dog was always walking in front of her, and she was following his scent but then the direction of the air changed and again the blind dog stopped completely, like a statue.
The black dog didn’t notice and continued walking.
I thought this was really bad news for her but then the black dog stopped, looked behind and saw that she was not coming.
He turned back and passed beside her, touched each other, and she caught his scent again.
They continued walking together until they got to the end of the block. The challenge was to cross the street and avoid the cars, but the black dog stopped at the edge and waited until his blind companion was standing beside him. Both waited until it was safe to cross.
The black dog started walking, and she followed him.
It is amazing how much we can learn from animals, watching this not only made my day, but made me feel even more proud of being part of the efforts that the community of Puerto Natales is doing to develop humane and sustainable solutions to their concerns about dogs.
Puerto Natales is a popular tourist destination, and you can see many dogs in the street coexisting with locals and tourist who tolerate them and even enjoy their company.
It is very common that a dog or two will join you in a walk on the street and the implementation of a Humane Management plan could mean a healthier, happier life for this amazing pair as well as all the rest.
IFAW is working with Veterinarians Without Borders Latin America (VWB), and the Municipality of Puerto Natales to implement workshops with representatives of the municipal government, agriculture, education, academia, animal and social organizations to develop a dog management plan for the city.
I am in Puerto Natales as we are helping local stakeholders develop a plan tailored specifically to the needs of the people and dogs in the here, one that will aim to address issues now as well as permanently for the future.
For more information about IFAW efforts to help cats & dogs around the world, visit our campaign page.