Feral dogs in Con Con Chile
Con Con was the first Spanish city in Chile, established by invaders at the mouth of the Aconcagua River to anchor and repair the conquistador warships. Now it is a busy old summertime seaside resort; for the rest of the year it is a quiet fishing village surrounded by vacant vacation homes, and nearby high rise apartments, intent on being rediscovered as a new upscale resort suburb of Valpariso and Vina del Mar.
Since 1976 I have visited regularly and am always intrigued by the tripartite relationship among the resident populations: kept dogs, feral dogs and people; the interaction is complex and conceivably instructive. To my disappointment, most of the feral canine community is likely to become obsolete given the intolerance and intrusiveness of our human driven world; dogs can be as annoying as everything else that interferes with our human pretensions, as hated as the unwanted pregnancy which is merely an unwanted life, or the weed which is merely an unwanted flower. When the feral dog world of Con Con, which was, ironically, created and sustained by man, is gone, I will find it a sad loss. I particularly will miss the evening chorus of communal barking, as comforting but disorderly and unlovely noise of small children playing. I find the canine chorus of alarm or excitement neither ugly, distressing, nor lasting; it speaks of fears, jealousies, shared longings, and intruders of any sex, size or order. I shall miss the small groups of morphologically and racially incoherent mongrels that live in packs of three or five in the streets and byways of the town; the very early morning walk that discovers the small pack, each sleeping animal curled up in its own carefully excavated hole in an area of dry sheltered sand; the focused, haughty, and solitary mutt on mid morning rounds seeking leftovers along a well known trail of friendly kitchens, ignoring furious but lonely and confined guard dogs who schizophrenically wag a droopy tail while abusing the human passerby; the horny coarse crowd of bastards pursuing a tiny terrier or 200 pound great Dane variant in heat; the intense mongrel bent on some dark canine purpose, disdaining and apparently scorning pedestrians; the lone feral dog tossing sticks into the roiling surf or street for itself to retrieve.
What follows is a doggy philosophic commentary. The Con Con resident might even recognize the canine voice of this particular dog.