Granada is blessed to have animals everywhere you turn. Cats on the roof, dogs on every corner, goats, horses, and cows, all wandering the streets, negotiating traffic with buses, people in cars, on bikes, and on foot. Below is a small sampling…
Hally – this dog is lucky enough to have a place to call home and regular meals and human companionship, but there are many street dogs in Nicaragua. So many, in fact, that a local artist was inspired to create a series of portraits of them which grace many restaurants, businesses, and homes in the area.
Clara the duck flew into a neighbor’s patio some months back. She was a site to see – scrawny as anything with some disease that caused her feathers to fall out in patches. The neighbor knew that the owner of Pure is a softy for animals, so brought Miss Clara over to us here. Months of regular feeding and her very own pond have created a healthy duck with shiny feathers!
It’s not a strange sight to see horses or cows wandering the streets without their owners. People will release their animals en la manana to wander the city finding food where they can. The animals then return home in the evening — or that’s the plan, at least. These are some mama and baby horses that I encountered one night after yoga class.
Swimming at a pool this weekend, I almost stepped on this beautiful family of ducks. With their bright colors and friendly nature, I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos!
The Nicaraguan relationship to animals is different. Since the culture relies more on animals for livelihood, for food, than we do now in the US, the relationship is more pastoral. It’s not uncommon to visit a Nicaraguan family and step gingerly around a handful of chickens and roosters running around in the yard. So far, I haven’t seen any locals that consider a cat anything short of a pest. As a cat lover myself, I find it difficult to see the scrawny cats crawling around on roofs searching for sustenance. (Roofs are safer than the streets with all the street dogs running around!)
Dogs as pets do seem more common, and I’m told that pitbulls are especially prized. Last week, there were some boys proudly parading a muscly papa pit bull down the street trying to sell his adorable puppy. The price – $50 – seemed a lot given the average income here in Nicaragua. I was told that the price is actually a good deal because the market was flooded with pitbulls about five years ago, and now has so many that the price of a puppy has gone down.
I hear more of the birds than I see them, although I count myself lucky whenever I see a hummingbird flutter into a garden and hover over flowers, as it searches for food.
I appreciate the close relationship to wildlife here, and l look forward soon to visiting one of the Isletas known for los monos – the monkeys. I’ll be sure to keep my camera close at hand then!