Chilean Street Dogs Are Protesters' Best Friends

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They don’t have demands, but they’re loyal to the cause and are always on the front lines of the fight. They run with protesters, lap up shots from water cannons, bark at police in riot gear and sometimes even bite officers.

Stray dogs are truly Man’s Best Friend for thousands of students and workers who demonstrate and clash with police nearly every day to press demands for education improvements, redistribution of ’s wealth and environmental protections. As the protests become fixtures in this modernizing capital, normally unnoticed street dogs have become stars in their own right, with the Facebook fan pages and fawning media coverage to prove it.

“Blacky,” a mutt adopted by young protesters, has become the most visible mascot, with rival fan pages totaling more than 7,000 subscribers or “likes.” Blacky’s admirers constantly upload pictures of him, many showing the mutt with a checkered kaffiyeh around his neck symbolizing the Palestinian resistance movement, dodging tear gas or growling at baton-wielding officers.

“Dogs are super loyal. They stand with the people and I think they support the students,” said Catalina Echenique, 17, who is planning to study psychiatry.

Free-roaming dogs number in the millions in Chile in a situation the nation’s Humane Society has called alarming. Dog owners rarely spay or neuter their pets, and commonly leave them outside when they go to work in the morning. Many roam the streets all day.

AP

FILE – In this June 10, 2012 file photo, a dog runs in the spray as riot police use water cannons against demonstrators during a protest against the premiere of a documentary about the late Gen. in Santiago, Chile. As the protests become fixtures in this modernizing capital, normally unnoticed street dogs have become stars in their own right. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo, File) Close

Dogs lurk around the presidential palace, take naps in parks and always seem in search of a bite to eat or the next protest.

While strays are feared in countries such as India, where tens of millions of street dogs have a reputation for biting people and spreading rabies, Chileans often feed and take care of strays. Protesters, for one, are glad to have the dogs on their side of the fight.

Students have been hitting the streets for more than a year and a half demanding overhauls to a school system that’s been privatized since the 1973-90 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Protesters say families must struggle with underperforming public schools, expensive private universities and education loans at impossible interest rates.

Two military officers in impeccable white uniforms walked out of a subway station recently as two blackened mutts followed them ahead of a crowd of young protesters who booed and shouted insults.

More dogs followed the sounds of sirens — and the promise of a water jet some blocks away. Police fired tear gas and the hounds ran to chew on the canisters. From a plume of smoke, Blacky dashed out, this time wearing an orange bandanna.

A mass of students and hooded members of anarchist groups loitering at nearby parks flooded into the streets for yet another confrontation.

Meanwhile, Echenique sat in a circle with other students, a stray napping next to them while they prepared to clash with police.

“With a good education we can generate conscience to protect animals,” she said.

Despite the propensity of dog packs to join protesters, they’re not at constant war with the police.

Just a few blocks from the recent confrontation, police and pooches appeared to be enjoying a peaceful timeout. One stray snoozed under the noon sun next to a traffic officer at a busy intersection, while another quietly napped in the shade cast by paintings propped on artist easels in Santiago’s main square, the Plaza de Armas.

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Comments

    • nati abarca
    • December 25, 2012

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw (L)

    • MrLolololllo
    • December 25, 2012

    2:15 OMG hahhaa

    • brelyne ladesic
    • December 25, 2012

    14 the dog was crying

    • Teii Sanchez
    • December 25, 2012

    4th one, omg

    • Tzell Serra
    • December 25, 2012

    And the one at 1:53 was dreaming about being a lawn mower

    • Rizky Amanda R
    • December 25, 2012

    The best video ever 😀 OMG those dogs & puppies are just so cute!!

    • yesi nurfarika
    • December 25, 2012

    they are so cute …I wonder what they dreaming about ,,^0^

    • 211210nik
    • December 25, 2012

    1:59 sounds like my wife.

    • dorkytehl
    • December 25, 2012

    I’m drunk too and still don’t know what the fuck you’re going on about.

    • britney vargas
    • December 25, 2012

    lmaoo if a i see that in the night i will be dead by now 2:13

    • 66killjoyunit
    • December 25, 2012

    That last clip was the funniest out of all of them.

    • DeSaStErify
    • December 25, 2012

    What breed of Dog at 1:53 ?

    • Joseph Davidson
    • December 25, 2012

    The last one had me rolling!!!!

    • wcn111
    • December 25, 2012

    This is absolutely hilarious!

    • cardonaluisa9
    • December 25, 2012

    Lolz

    • dishendran18
    • December 25, 2012

    the last dog …. hahaha … lolz

    • Moore9890
    • December 25, 2012

    Daughters dog died in 2012… She never got over it. She was 8 then. Had a hamster that died, maybe 2009/2010; I’m sad that they passed on but that,s life for ya, ain’t it? So brokenhearted she is, but she’s got a new hamster now, our little Pixie. Most gorgeous little light creamy@grey and what sing you’ll ever god damned see! Rip Princess-dog and Snowflake-hamster.

    • Moore9890
    • December 25, 2012

    Sorry instead of sing I meant thing and for 2012 I meant 2010

    • WolfpredatorAngel69
    • December 25, 2012

    The first puppy looks like a polar bear lol so adorable

    • blancalizet2001
    • December 25, 2012

    3:05 Is FUNNY MY FAVORET  🙂

    • GALVATRONonACID
    • December 25, 2012

    I miss my beagle & pointer, SMH.

    • caitfelton
    • December 24, 2012

    That last clip got me laughing for hours.

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