Patiperros on a World Tour

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In Santiago de Chile, I witnessed a dog get on the bus and ride for several blocks only to get off at what appeared to be his or her stop. I told a friend. This friend, too, had once seen a dog take that exact route. Same dog? Could have been. Dogs traipsing about town is a common site in many cities and have inspired the word patiperro ​in Chile, a combination of patas or paws and perro, which means dog of course. People now use this word to describe those who like to travel and can’t sit still, so I get called this frequently.

If the idea of street dogs upset you, I’d just like to add that many of them have homes but spend their days outside while their owners are at work. Most of them run around content and well-fed. A lot of people buy dog and cat food to feed animals that aren’t their own and get bonus guard dogs hanging around their home or business. Many times a dog will choose to protect you, walking you to the train station or your front door. They will bark at anyone who tries to approach. It is quite adorable, and they get rewarded with treats or a new sweater.

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