“Human cranial capacity has actually decreased by at least ten percent since the beginning of the Holocene period, approximately ten thousand years ago. While some of the reduction in size can be ascribed to the efficiency of the cerebral folds, archaeologist and anthropologist Dr. Colin Groves, from the Australian National University in Canberra, believes this reduction may also be the result of the strengthening of the relationship between man and dog. As man began to rely on the acute senses of his canine partner, he no longer needed to dedicate as much brain space to his own senses, ultimately leading to a decrease in mass.” – Jennifer Arnold, Through a Dog’s Eyes
I think dogs are awesome. Besides being the embodiment of joy, they are incredibly interesting creatures. There is probably no other animal on earth who’s history and fate is more interwoven with humans than the dog. They are, in a way, an extension of our senses; a happily evolved complement to our existence.
I think it’s fun to imagine what experiencing the world would be like through the dog’s perspective. Eyesight and color recognition are poor, however, smell and hearing are greatly enhanced.
Owning a dog is not conducive to long term travel, for a multitude of reasons that I won’t get into here. Suffice it to say that I do not own my own dog, however, I do enjoy playing the low-commitment grandparent role when a friend needs someone to watch their dog for the weekend.
Before leaving for South America I was quite curious to see how dogs are treated in Latin American countries. I had heard stories and had imagined large packs of wild dogs roaming the streets at all hours of the day and night.
It’s said that the final step in a societies development to “first world” standards is to address the stray animal situation. Although I found plenty of stray dogs down there, there were also a bunch of well taken care of, awesome dogs around. Some were obviously pets while others could best be described as ‘tolerated residents’. Some wanted to play and others just wanted to beg. I believe one dog even tried to warn me before I was mugged in Colombia. There was a dog in Colombia we nicknamed Tarzan after watching him swim across a raging river to follow us on our jungle trek. And another tiny dog in Cusco that seemed to follow the foreigners around, viciously fighting off other stray dogs as well as the local humans trying to sell us things.
I took a bunch of pictures of the dogs down there and I wanted to share those with you here:
If that’s not enough cuteness for you, check out the video below. This was shot in Guatape, Colombia. This hostel was overrun by six puppies. The people running the hostel were having a hell of a time cleaning up after all these little guys but I left there thinking every hostel should have six puppies. It was awesome.