The Great Uruguayan Dog War

Colonia, Uruguay is a great place loaded with dogs. On every corner you turn there’s bound to be one. They’re like little guides that lead you through the town, as if they know exactly where you want to go. We went to Colonia on a day trip from Buenos Aires. We took the Buquebus ferry early one morning and arrived around 10:00 am to find the town was still asleep. The shops and banks were all closed and only a few cars were driving through the quiet streets. Since no people were around, we were glad that the dogs were there to greet us and show us around.

Ferry off the harbor in Colonia, Uruguay Deserted street in Colonia, Uruguay No one around but dogs in Colonia, Uruguay

There was one dog we liked more than all the others we ran into. We called him Harrison, Harrison Ford. He started following us right after we got off the boat from Buenos Aires, He could smell the croissants that were in Paula’s bag. He kept jumping up and trying to get one, and instead of letting the dog suffer, she threw him a crossaint. He devoured it so fast it was crazy. He was one hungry dog. It was sort of like he was magic because he would turn a corner and leave us and then he would pop up on the opposite side of the street two blocks later. We found many other dogs as we walked around the town and named most of them. Here are just a few: Luigi Vito, Olaf Jorgesen, Walter the Farting Dog (from the famous children’s books), Owen Wilson (from the movies), Ben Rouse (from my mom’s Sunday School class), Juan Diego, and Lassie (from TV). We separated all the dogs into two groups, the Penthousers and the Street Dogs.

Kids with Harrison FordPaula feeding Harrison Ford
Dog guides in Colonia, Uruguay

We made up a story about the dogs that basically had the two dog gangs pitted against each other in a great South American dog war. I was going to post it but it turned out be 5 pages when I wrote it all down. Mom and Dad said I could put the first few paragraphs in, which will give you an idea of what it sounds like. As far as the rest goes, let’s just say it centers around Walter and a smoking caterpillar.

Walter the farting dogA catapiller smoking


It was a cold night in Colonia. The sky was pitch black. Harrison Ford and his men had just escaped being shredded apart by Luigi Vito and his minions. It had been yet another fierce battle over the Colonia port. Many of Harrison’s men were wounded, 7 of the 10 to be precise. Harrison was one of them. The air was polluted by the smell of Luigi’s urine which marked out the new boundary lines. The port had been divided into halves the night before, but now Luigi had over 3/5 of the total territory. Harrison’s men were huddled in a warehouse planning their next move.

Luigi had about 17 dogs, 18 if you count his mom the cook. Juan Diego, Harrison’s second in command, had broken his left front leg. Everyone could see the pain in his eyes as he spoke his first words since the battle, “We… we… we need Wal… Walter th… the Farting Dog!” There was more to this than you think. Walter was a neutral who was still deciding which gang to join. His flatulatory powers were legendary. Whoever got him on their side would win the city without having to shed any blood. The Penthousers had already offered Walter 15 kilos of pure ground beef. That was a whole lot for a dog the size of a racoon if not less. All the Street Dogs could offer was a roof over his head and three square meals a day. The Penthousers had already offered that along with the beef…

If you want to read more, let me know and I’ll email it to you. Even if you don’t, you should be sure to go to Colonia sometime and check out the dogs…and the caterpillar if he’s still around.

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5 thoughts on “The Great Uruguayan Dog War

  1. what a great post! A very enjoyable read!…we always find interesting animals when we travel too (and tend to name each one as well)!

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing your adventures! Even if I’m over 40 (!), I really enjoyed your story about the dog gangs, you sure have a gift for writing (don’t ever stop!)! I would love reading the rest of it! I love dogs myself, and have a veeeery big dog myself (in a small package though) – the Yorkshire Terrier, Peanut! I think she is the type of dog who you can describe as a *peacemaker*! She just loves all critters, and make them love her too (most of the time, LOL), with her gentle ways and tons of cuteness. I say that she has a pink personality, and she of course gets to show that off wearing appropriate pink gear, LOL. When I say she loves all critters, I’m not even kidding. As a Terrier, she should want to kill rodents as rats, mice etc., but she even loves them. She’s oblivious to the fact that dogs are supposed to have a hunting instinct. She interacts to her best ability with all critters, but sadly suffer a bit of a language problem with some others. E.g. when she sees a rabbit, with the kind of front legs they have, she thinks they are doing a “doggie play bow”, asking her to play. She’ll instantly go down in a bow to reply, saying “sure, I’ll play!”. When the rabbit doesn’t react, she does get a bit confused and looks to me for an explanation! The exact same thing sometimes happens with cats, but that is a bit more of a challenge. You see, it happens when the cat has had it with her play, and arches his back to tell her to cool it down. Instead she takes it up a notch, if you get my drift. So the kitty often gets a bit rough with her, only then she gets the point, again she looks at me with this confused look on her face, as if she is saying “What’s wrong with this kitty, can’t it make up it’s mind? One second it wants to play, the next it gets grumpy with me?”…

    Watching the dogs as they interact, sure is a lot of fun! I especially love watching the multitude of facial expression, which is as rich as ours, that is for sure. Did you know that dogs even laugh? Sadly most of them have been taught that it is forbidden, because we don’t allow it. You see, what they do, is much like a human “Big Grin”. They really “smile” and show off all their teeth, but unlike when they are growling, the rest of their body language is really happy. It isn’t an emotion to act upon for us humans with dogs we do not know though, there are chances that we may misunderstand, and if they instead are growling, well… You get my drift, it may end out a not-so-pretty situation… 😉 The doggie version of our smile though, is more like when we give a little smile, with our mouth closed. It is very easy to recognize, and it is certainly cute! When my dog for some reason is a bit grumpy, it is so funny how her normal cute face changes, and she isn’t very cute at all… Normally it is very easy to make her forget about her grumpiness though, a lot more easy to sweet talk a dog than a human, that’s for sure! A bit of sweet talk and teasing, and she’ll start teasing back! Who thought dogs can’t possibly have a sense of humor? They sure do! :)

    Keep on enjoying the dogs you meet during your travel, but be cautious too, you never know with stray dogs, there is a lot of rabies some places. And you never know, some of them might have been terribly mistreated by humans before ending out on the streets… Sad, but true… :( To increase your adventure with the dogs, I can’t recommend enough a bit of reading about communication with dogs and the calming signals they use to tell eachother that they are peaceful and mean no harm. If you go to the English language page of the “dog specialist” Turid Rugaas, the one who recognized and described these signals, and click on her “articles” link on the right side, you’ll get a quick and easy description of how you can use these signals to communicate with dogs. It is very, very useful. After I learned these (I also got her book), I have so much more of an easy time getting to greet and know strange dogs I meet on my way when I travel etc… :) The only danger with it, is that some humans may think you act a bit funny, LOL… Licking your mouth, yawning and stretching, sniffing etc… LOL… May look funny, but it sure is very effective! :)

    I can’t wait to read more about your adventures on your website. I found out about you when I watched Oprah earlier today here in Norway… BTW, are you coming our way too? If you do, hopefully it is during the next couple of months, if you like a pleasent climate… :)

    This got long, hope you don’t mind… :)

    Take care, all of you! :)

    Lotta :)

  3. Hi,

    Sorry, I forgot to paste the link to Turid Rugaas’ web page:
    http://www.canis.no/rugaas/

    You can find a couple of articles here:
    http://www.canis.no/rugaas/articles.php

    BTW, when I travel, the first thing I do when I get to somewhere, is visit a super market to stock up on some things. I often then too grab a bag of dog or cat kibble. It is so much better for them than e.g. bread, and it’s often even cheaper. I’m thinking that if nothing else, they for a little while get a bit better food. In one way one shouldn’t feed the dogs/cats, because they may get used to it, then we leave. But, I never can watch them go hungry, so I figured, this is the best I can do while there…

    Take care! :)

    Lotta :)

  4. I know that doberman! He picked me up in the Plaza Mayor and followed me to the yacht club for lunch.

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