By Bruce Willett
One of the things tourists often notice when arriving to Chile is the abundance of stray dogs. This is especially true in Punta Arenas, a southern port city overlooking the Strait of Magellan. When I first arrived to Punta Arenas in 1999, I noted the wandering dogs immediately. Many of them once had an owner, it seems, but had since been abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Perhaps the pet owner tired of the dog once it outgrew the puppy stage, or perhaps they moved. Whatever the reason, it is not uncommon for people to desert dogs on city streets far from their home or out in the country. Though some of these stray dogs appear adjusted and healthy, there are numerous cases of street dogs that suffer from injuries, sickness, poisoning, and even starvation. Many abandoned dogs simply don’t know how to survive on the streets.