If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you know that my interests can get very specific, and perhaps, a little peculiar. “Perros Aguacateros” or “Chuchos Aguacateros” (Salvadoran street dogs) are a good example of this.
When I first visited El Salvador in 1999, the street dogs were one of the things that caught my eye, and won my heart.
“Why didn’t you tell me you had stray dogs all over the place here?” I asked Carlos. He shrugged. It hadn’t occurred to him that this would be of any interest to me, and perhaps it would be like telling someone outside the United States that we have fire hydrants – it’s just something that’s there, that we really don’t find very interesting.
Coming from a place where seeing a dog running around on its own sends me looking for a leash to capture it so I can try to return it to its owner, the perros aguacateros of El Salvador fascinate me. I love dogs, and although I feel sad that these street dogs live without families and have to eat trash to survive, I love seeing them and photographing them, (even as locals laugh at me) – and to many people’s horror – I love petting them, too.
This time when we went to El Salvador, I was really looking forward to seeing mis queridos aguacateros again, but they were fewer in numbers. I was told that the government has been making efforts to get them off the streets. It’s a good thing, (although I doubt they’re adopted out), and a sad thing too, because they’re such an integral part of the culture.
Carlos’s best friend and his son showed us around for most of our stay, and although they originally laughed at my obsession with the street dogs, they soon began pointing them out and trying to help me find them, “Tracy! Aguacatero!” … It was good therapy too, because we had to put our dog to sleep about a week before we left.
Here are my favorite shots I took of los perros aguacateros of El Salvador. (Photos of aguacateros from my 1999 trip HERE.)