That’s right folks, you better watch me closely now.
Yesterday I was on the road, cycling down the dual carriageway that runs down the middle of Chile, the Ruta 5, aka the PanAmerican highway. Here it’s a relatively recently constructed road, perhaps a bit dull to ride on, but safe for the cyclist, since there’s a wide paved shoulder, so you don’t have to worry about making room for vehicles. The on/off ramps every 5km or so are well constructed too, making them quite easy to negotiate, with plenty of room to move, and work out when it’s safe to cross the off ramp. Regular bus stops also provide shade. Still, a couple more days of it and I’ll be getting pretty sick of it.
Anyway, this section had a concrete ditch running alongside it. Like most of the countryside until the last day or so, it’s hot and dry. I’m riding along, and I see something in the gutter – I then realise it’s moving, and making noise. Other times I might have just left it alone, not wanting to get involved, but 10 metres down the road, I realise what it is, and what I need to do.
I put down the bike, and go back. There’s a small black puppy lying there, paws akimbo, attracting flies. It seems to be dead. But near it is a white puppy, struggling, mewling pathetically, turning its head in my direction, even though it’s eyes aren’t open. I pretty quickly summed it up – someone has thrown a couple of unwanted puppies off a moving car, and the fall has killed one of them. The other was severely dehydrated, lonely, confused, and probably internally injured from the fall.
Dogs are not treated well here. Towns have strays running around, and clearly they are beaten by the locals, as they are timid. Patting one the other day, it was clearly grateful for a simple touch (although it would probably have preferred food…). There is no SPCA. The next town, 10km away, would not have facilities for an animal like this.
Before going back, I had picked up a rock. I use it. Hmmm, not sure that rock was big enough. A second time. It is done for certain.
Not the easiest of things to do, but better than the alternative of leaving it.
Now those dogs here better continue to leave me alone, so there doesn’t have to be any more casualties…