There are so many dogs in the streets of Xela (as in many parts of the world), sometimes it is a bit of a surprise to see them as domestic pets. It is not uncommon for people to have dogs or cats as pets in their house, although the care might seem different than in North America. I know of many people who have dogs in their homes, but the pets are more used for guarding the house and often do not get walked or are confined to the roofs (terrazas) of the houses, which has lead to a (generally tourist spoken) coined phrase “Guatemalan roof-dog”.
Cats often have homes of their own, but the upside for them is that they also utilize an intricate transport system, which runs all along the tops of the houses and allows them to be much more mobile than the house dogs. There is a definite “class system” within the domestic animals here, the dogs stick to the terrazas and the streets, while the cats are “above” it all, swiftly playing and dodging between rooftops.
Of course, there are many people who also have pets in their homes and love them like their children, walking and washing them and taking posed Facebook pictures of them, just like anywhere else in the world. The little fellow in the picture above is one of those lucky doggies who has a doggie companero in the house and the two of them can often be seen wearing puppy sweatshirts on cool mornings.
Photo by guest contributor Sergio Dominguez, text by Luna McCarthy.