Dogs of Caye Caulker recently took a trip to Havana, Cuba and had a great time meeting Cubans of all types, including Canine. Here are some photos of our new friends. But first, an announcement: Dogs of Caye Caulker is moving to the more photo-friendly site Instagram. Please continue to follow us there where there is a whole lot more dog posting going on! It’s a public account so you don’t need your own IG to view the pups. Stop on by: Dogs of Caye Caulker on Instagram
On to Havana!
Mostly I found Havana to be a place where more questions got asked than answered. This was true with the dogs too. There were street dogs, but not a lot of street dogs. And most looked pretty healthy. Most males were intact but there were not tons of puppies running around. Unlike on Caye Caulker there were cats lounging everywhere, completely unmolested by the dogs. And the dogs didn’t bark – not at night, not as you walked past their yards. They were all quiet and friendly. People clearly cherished their pet dogs. None were tied on short leashes. I never saw anyone being mean or unpleasant to a dog, stray or owned. In many yards I saw chickens and little baby chicks rooting around, not fenced in in any way. Yet the cats and dogs did not bother them.
One day while walking through the Plaza de Armas in Habana Vieja I noticed that many of the dogs wandering around had little signs around their necks. As I got closer to see what one said two women came up and explained that they take care of the dogs and try to get as many as possible spayed and neutered. The signs have the dogs’s name and say they are sterilized I believe to encourage people to adopt them. The women (I named them “The Havana Humane Society” in my head) were bringing food and water to all the dogs in the square and making sure everyone got some. When I talked to them they were looking for one to make sure she got water. They were lovely. And overwhelmed. They talked about the same issues we have in Belize: skin conditions, fleas and ticks, sickness, lack of sterilization. I tried to ask if any vets volunteer to do surgeries but my bad Spanish was misunderstood so I don’t know. I knew from speaking to a couple of other people that flea and tick prevention is completely unavailable. One woman loves dogs and her child really wants one but she doesn’t get one because she’s concerned about flea and tick infestation in her house.
I don’t know why Havana isn’t overrun by dogs, or why the dogs leave the cats alone, or why all the stray cats look like pampered well-fed house cats, or why the dogs don’t bark. It was so different from Caye Caulker and also so much the same.