Dogs in Mexico


When I first visited Mexico, one of the things that struck me was the amount of stray dogs running around.  I had never seen so many scared and starving animals in my life.  Those poor pups broke my heart.

My husband thought I was crazy.  “They are just dogs,” he told me when I would be staring at them with tears in my eyes.  I know that this is a common approach to animals in Mexico; when I visited his farm, I watched his grandmother punt a kitten across the room for meowing for food, so the roots of this attitude appear to run deep.  Removing myself from my own experiences, this attitude is understandable; when you struggle to care for your children, the care of a dog is likely pretty low on your list.  Still, I grew up with dogs and cats as members of the family.  Three strays that came to my house during my childhood were welcomed right on in and lived happy into their old age.  It is no easier for me to let an animals starve than to let a person.

However, the amount of strays was not the only aspect regarding the dogs which shocked me.  I quickly began to notice there were a lot of dogs wearing clothing.  The first dog I saw was wearing some sort of a jersey; he ran past me in a plaza without leash or collar.  I was quite confused because in my experience, a dog not on a leash is a stray dog.  It would seem that a stray dog must be very resourceful if it learned to dress itself in protection against the cold, mountain air.

However, the owner soon came running behind it.  Before long, I saw more clothes wearing dogs than on a trip to LA.  I asked my husband about it.

“I don’t know,” he replied, shrugging his shoulders.  “People are weird.”

My guess is that it is an effort to distinguish their pets from the many strays.  But I never confirmed this.  Anyone know about this?  Or is it a quirk of Pachuca?

If you can stand the heartbreak, check out the blog My Mexican Dogs.  It makes me feel that one day I might be able to make a difference for a few dogs out there.


7 responses »

  1. Nope. Not going to click on that link. I have the same feeling for all animals! We have a chihuahua that is spoiled. While he doesn’t own any outfits (our old chihuahua, Bentley, did) he does have a few beds, about 5 blankets and several toys. Plus, he has a wide variety of treats that he gets daily. My husband said he is probably the luckiest dog in Jalos.

    • Lol, sounds like he is, indeed! The animal thing is a big adjustment for me. I spent most of my teenage years working with a house rabbit rescue; now I live somewhere that they are regularly eaten.

  2. I had a similar experience my 1st trip. It was cold outside (like freezing…. didn’t think Mexico got that cold) and there was a little puppy outside shivering. I felt really bad for it. Then I saw a dog get hit by a car and that was awful as well. I did see people struggling to feed their families and giving dogs the scraps so I see how caring for a dog is way down on the list. I like you have had cats and dogs as pets (really as family members) and it breaks my heart.

    I went to the blog and couldn’t make it past the 1st couple of pictures.

    If at some point you decide to have a dog as a pet in Mexico, maybe you can adopt a stray rather than buy one. Oh and get him fixed if possible. I know it’s easier said than done, especially when we live here, but so many stray dogs would be spared if they were fixed, ya know…

    • It is a sad blog, but the endings are happy. Not that it makes it all that much easier to see those poor puppies.

      I do not think I am allowed to have animals in my privada, but I want to check on that. If I am allowed to have them, I want to wait and see what extra money I have left over each month to care for it. Then I will contact a rescue or individual to help find a dog that is a good match for me.

  3. Like Val, I’m not going to click on the link. i can’t bare to see any animal suffer. And neither can my kiddies. If we had a bigger house, I’m sure we’d have a lot more pets. We took in 2 dogs this month. One was left out on the street, shivering in the pouring rain and so skinny. The other we rescued from a mean little boy who was beating the poor little pup. We nursed the abandoned dog back to health and have now found a good home for him. The other pup is such a precious little thing, we decided to keep her for ourselves.

    As for the clothes, I’ve noticed that here in our small town only the rich folks dress their dogs in clothes.

    • I have to assume that the people who dress their dogs have disposable income, otherwise the dogs would not be dressed up, and likely they wouldn’t even be kept as pets.

  4. I have fed street dogs. There was one dog that I called Gordy because was so skinny. I bought him dog food but then the other dogs took over. Gorder was so timid that he just let the other dogs horn in on his food. So I tried to entice Gordy inside the fence but I never could gain his trust.

    I´ve also written a post about dogs in Mexico comparing them to their northern cousins. If I believe in Darwin´s theory of survival of the fittest, then Mexico must be breeding some super dogs. My dog Daisy wouldn´t survive 5 minutes on any street in Mexico.

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