I grew up in San Francisco. Not exactly out in the country. So I was never exposed to farm animals like chickens, ducks, cows or pigs. Especially not baby chicks, baby ducks, calves, or piglets. On the Inca trail, we walked past many smalls towns teeming with these domesticated species. I was enchanted. And determined to touch them.
When I was young, my mom never let me pet strays. Such a mom. But since Michael and I started traveling together about three years ago, every time we see a friendly looking stray, you can bet your buns that I’ll be petting it. They need love too.
Our guide, Ivan, told us a legend while we were camped one night on the Inca trail. The Incans believed that when a person died, he had to pass a great river to get into Paradise. Kind of like the Styx in Greek mythology. To pass this river, a black dog was man’s best friend. The Incans thought that since black dogs were already black, they wouldn’t mind dirtying their coats and crossing. All other dogs of different colors may balk at leading the soul across the river.
All the animals I saw were in really good shape unlike the ones we encountered in India and especially Egypt. Ivan said that animals are revered by the descendants of the Incans – mestizos of Incan and Spanish blood. This is also probably because Peru is so green and food is abundant. India and Egypt? Not so much.That little brown beast stole a chicken carcass after Benito was done preparing our lunch. He got to eat most of it before the bigger dog behind him stole it.There were also many more older dogs around. In other places I’ve traveled, all the strays or dogs roaming the streets seemed young and in their prime. The older dogs probably died out before they could get really old. In Peru, the older dogs are testament to the care and scraps of food available.xoxo,