As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, dogs roam everywhere in Antigua, one of the beautiful islands of the Caribbean. While some do have homes, many of the dogs seen on the street are strays looking and begging for something to eat. Most of them are quite friendly and enjoy getting a pat on the head, or a drink of water in addition to some food. The pet overpopulation problem in some islands is worse than others. Without the resources, especially money, it's hard to get this issue under control. Here are a few dogs that I met during my visit.
We found this dog taking a nap on a slab of concrete in a cemetery next to a church. We learned that some churches adopt a dog, or two or three and the entire congregation takes responsibility for caring for them. I was surprised at how close the dogs stay to home when they are cared for instead of roaming from one neighborhood to the next and never coming back until they are retrieved.
This fellow was camped out next to a shop in the downtown district of Antigua, a place populated by tourists on days when the cruise ships dock on the island.
We found this girl also in St. John's, largely populated by tourists. Once we started paying attention to her, she began to follow us where ever we walked. She clearly had some health issues and was fighting an infection in her eye and a wound to either her face or ear where we found dried blood.
We found this fellow and a companion wandering the street outside our hotel. Another young and hungry male, he was happy to eat the dog biscuits and food we fed him. He wouldn't, however, let us close enough to pet him.
My time in the Caribbean served to remind me that pet population is a global problem. With education and money, it is possible to get it under control and reduce the number of stray dogs. While I'm not ready to move to the area, I do know that if I did, I would get involved with the local shelters to help raise awareness and get these dogs the love and care they need.
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