The Dogs of El Calafate Patagonia


We hadn’t been to Buenos Aires a day before when we noticed the dogs. In a 20 minute walk from our hotel we saw many dogs wandering the busy streets, no owners in sight. Most dogs had this “lost” look: emaciated, crouching, hideous, their fur matted. They were sad to see.

Buenos Aires is a city with apartments and few parks. Stray dogs live on the sidewalks, sleep in doors, beg or rummage in trash cans. A beautiful but shabby Golden Retriever hobbled along a residential street in the Palermo neighborhood, looking up at pedestrians and asking for food.

However, it wasn’t like the people of Buenos Aires didn’t have dogs. Well-dressed women were walking small white dogs in Recoleta, an affluent neighborhood, and in the nearby park a dog walker quarreled with his 15 leashed charges.

Stray dogs were everywhere, however, even in the new business district near the harbor edge. They shaded office workers with lanyards, watched them have lunch in outdoor restaurants, and waited for leftovers. Even in the harbor, chaotic with trucks hauling containers, a small, coarse-coated terrier guy asked for scrap from the workers’ lunch.

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