Dogs of San Ignacio

Some of this is going to be cute, some of it is going to be a rant, and some of it is just going to horrific.  Take this as a warning.

First a bit of the rant…

As an overview of sorts, I have had experiences with stray dogs in Mexico and at times have found it hard to swallow the differences in how we (as Americans and probably other countries too) treat our dogs versus how dogs are treated in other countries (my experiences being Mexico and now Belize).  Because of this, I’m very aware of the dogs and their lives/treatment and it’s hard for me to witness.  Although my preference would be to bundle all the dogs up and take them home with me so I could protect them, I will never pet a dog in Mexico or Belize without knowing for sure who they belong to and if they get veterinary care.  I personally don’t want fleas or anything worse while on vacation (or any time for that matter).

I’ll start with the ‘cute’ stories…

Midas, where I stayed, had three dogs; a yellow lab named Rusty, a rottweiler named Sheba, and a second rottweiler whose name escapes me.  All three dogs were well taken care of, yet I was still not going to pet them.  I was told that the dogs love guests, but are not friendly to the locals (funny that they know the difference).  Rusty became my buddy.  One time I came home and he was lying in front of my door literally blocking me from getting in.  When I did get him to move, he was determined to come inside with me.  I didn’t let him in, but I heard a big thump when I closed the door.  He had laid back down.  My protector.

Doris and Roy from Wyoming noticed a dog (a very cute female black lab) followed them ‘home’ one day.  Later that same lab followed another guest to town and then came back with Doris and Roy again.  My first experience with her happened on my 5th day (the day I did nothing and just hung out in San Ignacio), when she followed me to town.  Once in town, she sat at the entrance of a grocery store while I shopped, and as I walked to have orange Juice at Flayas she disappeared.  She showed up an hour or so later and walked back to Midas with me.  I found it interesting that she knew that all of us were at the same place.  I think Midas was a safe place for her to stay at night (see my horrific story later to know why she needed s safe place).

Another ‘cute’ dog story happened when I went to Caracol.  There was a white dog there that had possibly been adopted by the military guards.  It was full of energy…maybe too much energy.  We’d be focused on what our guide was saying and then all of a sudden the dog would come tearing through the woods and leap towards us.  I guess it was more frightening because this site was guarded due to Guatemalan bandits, so I always expected it to be either a wild animal or a bandit.  Luckily it wasn’t.

I’ll end with my horrific story (you’ve been warned)…

I was sitting at lunch one day and some male dogs surrounded a female dog who I immediately noticed was in heat by the way they were treating her.  It was almost as if a couple of the male dogs were trying to keep other males away as their ‘leader’ had his way with this female.  The female dog had no options, but to succumb to her fate.  What was most startling to me is that not a single local tried to intervene.  I really wanted too, but I was too scared.  The dogs are quite wild and I figured I’d just get bitten.  After the deed was done, the two dogs were stuck together for a while and the male drug the female around as she was lying on the ground.  I’m so glad he couldn’t drag her very far.  Finally she was loose, but I just couldn’t help worrying about her for days.  I’m sure she got attacked many more times.

The remainder of my rant…

I really wish there was a ‘pill’ (maybe there is and I don’t know about it) that could be given to both female and male dogs in countries such as Belize and Mexico that would make them infertile.  It would take a while, but eventually they would stop reproducing, the dog population would decline, and those that were left would end up having a better life.

Later, when I was in Caye Caulker, I did my small part.  I donated to a fund that spays and neuters dogs.  Caye Caulker doesn’t even come close to having an issue like San Ignacio.  Being on an island helps, but also having the means to spay and neuter helps too.

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