Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Recent Change in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

I snapped this photo recently as I was driving back to mi casa.  The photo to me is humorous and fun, but it does point out a recent change in lifestyle in San Miguel.
A career or job as a dog walker!  There is even a young guy who rides his bike through the jardin with about eight dogs trotting along beside him.  I marvel at the dexterity of the dogs..........and the bike rider!

Yup, life is changing in town.  I never thought I would live here to see this.  Mostly the Mexicans just let their dogs out to roam the streets, collarless, and then the dogs are smart enough to come home when they are

However, the expats go crazy over this scene and think the dogs are homeless, (which probably a few are) and pick up the dogs.  They groom them, get their shots and then try to find homes for them.  Usually successfully.  There is even a group here that find homes for pets in the USA and pay people to take the animals to the border to go on to homes somewhere where someone is waiting for the animal.

In addition there is a SPA, like the SPCA in the USA.  There is also a group that goes out in the campo to sterilize animals.  They also have what they call a blitz here in town.  Lots of people volunteer and are involved.

The perception of pets is different in Mexico.  If you think back to the 50's or 60's in the USA, that is the perception here.  They are NOT a child.  Often they are work dogs helping in herding or watching the sheep or goats.  Or they are roof dogs to prevent burglars or whoever from even possibly contemplating entering a house.  But, that is changing.

When I was growing up, it was not unheard of for dogs and cats to live outside.  Dogs usually had dog houses.  I don't remember our cat having an outside house.  Hmmm, I wonder how that worked.

Nowadays, the amount of money spent in the USA on pets is staggering.  That trend has not infiltrated Mexico as yet.  Most people are too busy trying to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.

I did see recently that Petco is opening in the city of Leon which is about 1 1/2 hours from here.  A large city of over a million people.  Here in San Miguel we have many competent vets.  Usually if people want a special food or item for their pet (I'm talking expats), they go to the vet to buy those items.  Yes, the grocery stores Mega and Soriana have pet food, but I'm talking the specialty stuff.

It is interesting to observe this difference in attitude.  I remember back in the 70's and 80's that it was
very, very unusual to ever see a cat or dog in my travels in Mexico.  People just could not afford to feed them in most cases. Now with the increase in income and the emerging middle class, there are way more domesticated animals to be seen.

Being petless at present for me has been interesting.  It is the first time in over 25 years that I have not had a dog or cat.  And, prior to that, I only had a few years inbetween having the kids having all kinds of pets which, I of course, helped to take care of.

I don't think my being petless will last.  Next spring might be time for a new pet.  A dog.  Easier to travel with as I miss having a copilot like my dog Flash who died eleven years ago.


norm said...

There seem to be fewer street dogs these days, much fewer than when I first started visiting Latin America. Linda always made up food packs from our leftovers to feed the street dogs, today it is not so easy to find her "starving dogs", as she has always called the street hounds. The house pets have become bigger as well. One very rarely saw a hundred pound dog 30 years ago, they were all small yapper type dogs, today one sees American Bulldogs and their like as a common thing.

Babs said...

Good observation Norm. Here in SMA there are sheep dogs, St. Bernards, and all kinds of other big dogs - all brought down from the states.

There are many mutts who all look alike and some of these are small white poodle looking dogs.

The city here is out catching dogs much to the distress of many. However, I do too remember a time when there were many street dogs. Now, it is rare and I'm not sure who is responsible......

Thanks for posting.

norm said...

The good folks who run the spay and neuter clinics would seem the most likely culprits. In every town that I frequent that has an ongoing program of sterilizing the street dogs, there are few stray dogs. I still see street dogs in those towns at the end of a dirt road but take a place like Progreso Yucatan, hardly any.

jennifer rose said...

I was born during the twilight years of the Truman Administration, but we always had big dogs -- a Kuvasz, a Great Dane, standard poodle, boxer, and a Weimaraner. Every dog I have owned has been a Doberman Pinscher. And all have slept right in the house, never outside.

We have dog walkers in my modest neighborhood in Morelia now, too.

Retired Teacher said...

In Parque México and Parque España which are near the apartment where I stay in D.F., there are always lots of people out walking their dogs. And the owners seem to be pretty good about cleaning up after them. Rarely do I see any doo-doo on the sidewalks. Also in Parque España there is always a line-up of a dozen or more dogs, all different breeds, all sitting in a row, and all well-behaved. I haven't figured out what the deal is... maybe a dog obedience class, although I haven't seen any training going on, or perhaps a doggie day care, and the dogs are waiting their turn to be taken on a walk through the park??? I have also seen vans in the neighborhood that go to people's homes to wash and groom their dogs. It seems as if (at least among the middle and upper classes) that dogs are becoming as pampered as in the U.S.

Alejandro's family has two dogs, and they are "roof dogs", and are never allowed inside. However they do seem to receive a lot of love, and Alejandro goes to Sam's Club to buy them dog food.

Droelma said...

Here in Mexico there have been free rabies shots and free sterilization for about 15 years now by the government and also disposal services for pets from hamsters to horses for a very reasonable price. I paid for both of my rat terriers 24.- pesos each to have them incinerated ( of course they passed at different times ). Those places are the same ones vets usually use and charge ( at least here in the capital ) 1500-2000 pesos. The programs were developed under Salinas' " Solidarity " campain, but it took a few years to be a country wide service. The drawback for many is that the services are often far away. People who for example live in certain parts of Jalisco have to travel to Guadalajara, which is often difficult.
The problem with the services in general is, that they are not much known and one needs to speak Spanish, or know someone who does, because it's not easy to find out about them and find their least initially.
When I came to Mexico in 1996 I still saw stray dogs in average colonias, but have not seen any for years now.
Where I live ( Colonia Del Valle ) we have had dog walkers galore now for years. They charge between 15-20 pesos for half an hour and depending if they walk a dog once or twice a day.
Right after my heart attacks I hired a dog walker and she charged me 15 pesos a session ( because she walked Millie twice a day and because Millie is a quiet almost miniature Schnauzer, which means her walker can walk up to six dogs instead of just four big ones ). She also was generous with her time. In case I need to I will hire her again.
Here in Mexico City I would say that the tendency is more towards medium size and smallish dogs for obvious reasons. I really like bigger dogs and grew up with standard poodles, Airdales and my grandfather's German Shepherds, but now as with advancing age I am less surefooted and strong I have smaller dogs, because I want pets which in an emergency I still can handle and carry.
So far I had here in Mexico two Rat Terriers ( both rescued and one blind and an insulin dependent diabetic since puppy hood) and Millie a slightly taller than mini Schnauzer. I also have had five cats....all adopted as older animals anywhere from 5-10 years old. The 10-year olds I had for ten years and they died at age 20.....all of them ( dogs and cats ) in 2013and 2014 and I am still recovering from the loss of three dogs and three cats within less than six month. I am over the loss, but still get very emotional when I read about someone else's loss.
I am anxious to find out about what is going to happen with you in regard to a possible pet, because I also tend to think that Millie will be my last one. I fear that I will die and leave her and especially a future pet behind and I would hate for her to end up in circumstances that would upset me and make her miserable.

Babs said...

Jennifer, I've always had dogs all my life, but not big ones. A Beagle as a child and mutts and a cocker spaniel for a while among many others. However, others in my family have had labs and schnauzers. We ARE a family of pets, for sure. Interesting to hear the breed that you have had in your life!

Babs said...

Bill, we do have people here who have people who come and pick up there pets and bath and fluff them. I've never had a pet that I did that matter what breed.
I did have a cocker for a short period that required so much maintenance that I gave her away because at the time I had not time for all of that.

That story about the dogs sitting in the park is interesting! I can't figure that out....

Babs said...

Droelma, you are always so informative with all kinds of information that I would never even have thought of. The dept of ecology handles catching stray dogs, or dogs that bite someone and that kind of thing. They hold the animals for so many days and then the dogs meet their demise or other animals meet their demise.

You have had a lot of pets all at the same time. That is a huge responsibility. At this point in life, I will get one something, possibly. I might come to my senses by March. Luckily I have a big yard for whatever I choose to play in. Cats are definitely easier to care for but a dog is what I lean toward because they can go places with you..... I love the personalities of dachshunds, beagles and mutts with short hair. Thanks for sharing all your info and giving us an insight into your pets.

Droelma said...

@ retired teacher: Millie and the other dogs before that and I also frequented Parque México and Parque España as our closest dog park and we especially went there after Millie graduated from obedience class.
We would always find a handful of people that also wanted to practice what we had learned and put our dogs through their paces. One exercise was to have them all sit in a row and " stay " practicing commands or hand signs to then have them all dash off in different directions for their treats. Maybe it's still done and that is what you see.
I no longer go there as often ,because I only have time on Saturday and Sunday and sometimes there are too many people and even more dogs and the whole situation has gotten to extravagant for my taste.
During the week I walk with Millie in the middle part of Division Del Norte and mostly in the small park of the Mariscal deep well . It is where Div.del N., Ave Del Valle and Amores cross by the church with the Jesus that looks like a rocket. Since a few years people are allowed with their pets, IF they keep the place clean. So far, so good.

Steve Cotton said...

A locally-born golden retriever puppy may be in my future.

Babs said...

I'm thrilled for you Steve. I don't know how you've made it this far.........Go for it!

norm said...

On the dogs lined up in the park: I saw a PBS program last evening about the nature of pets, one of the clips was about dogs in Cusco Peru who are let out in the daytime to do as they please. They put a GO-PRO on a dog to video his adventures . One of the things he did was pack up with other dogs and visit the park. From what I could see, those dogs were well behaved and acted like good citizens. Must be a Latin thing.

Babs said...

Fascinating Norm. I love the GO PRO stories. My dog Flash, many years ago, would sneak out any chance she could get. She would cross a four lane street in Houston, but sit at the light and wait for it to change! Then she would cross and visit the various restaurants in the area. She always ended up at a car dealership where everyone was glad to see her and loved petting her. Then they would call me to come get her! I surmise she was tired by that time and Flash could get a free ride home!
Animals are smarter then we give them credit for.

crynoutloud said...

This was written by george herter,

If you are in danger, your dog needs only to hear your cry for help, and he will come to your aid without fear of losing his own life.

Whatever you give him, whatever you do for him, he is always sincerely grateful to you. To your dog you are the most wonderful person in the world. In his eyes and heart you can do no wrong.

Of all God's animals, he alone works for man without a whip. He is always happy to be with his master, wherever he may be, whatever he may do. He is sadder than any living creature when his master is away, and is the only creature that can actually die in a short time from lonesomeness for his master.

Among humans, true adherence to genuine forgiveness is found only with saints. Your dog carries no grudge and no spite. Punish him even if he does not deserve it and he comes to you and nudges his wet cold nose into your hand, looks up at you with honest, pleading eyes and wags his tail hesitatingly as though to say, "I forgive you, you can kill me, if you want to and I still forgive you.

Whether you are dressed in rags, or the height of fashion; whether you are a beggar or a wealthy man; whether you are thought of as a hero or a coward, a wise man or a fool, your dog is waiting for you with a loving, friendly bark of happiness, a friendly wagging tail, and a heart that is full of nothing but true love for you.

Babs said...

I know Crynoutloud, I had Flash for 16 years. She was my buddy, my copilot, my traveling friend and her only bad trait was running away to visit with restaurants in the neighborhood...........

But, thanks for the reminder of why she was so great. We'll see what happens when I get back from the beach.

I've always loved dogs from the Beagle I had as a little girl to Flash......but, a cat is easier to take care of........just a different personality. Heck, maybe I'll get both. Who knows? Do you have a dog? What kind?

crynoutloud said...

I have a great dog Babs, a big black furry thing. 12 yrs old. My last animal. Too hard to travel. It's like having a baby to care for. But the older she gets the more I like her.

Babs said...

Aww, crynoutloud. Sounds wonderful. But you do have a point about traveling.....we'll see how I feel come March. Flash used to go to Pampered Pets in Houston when I still had my business and traveled all the time. She loved it, but that gets expensive and aggravating.

Maybe I'm better off as I am. Cats ARE much easier to care for. At least Velcro was.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post and thread. My husband and I have been researching SMA for retirement and when I heard about the street and “roof” dogs, I thought I might not be able to bear the cruelty. I gather much is being done to control the stray population but still, those dogs on roofs, that just might do me in. Please tell me they’re well cared for.

Babs said...

Anonymous, it depends on what you consider "well cared for". They are not babied or coddled or any of that. They are treated as animals who have a job to do. I don't know what to tell you other then if that would keep you from moving to Mexico or SMA, then probably you should not come.