Since retiring from veterinary medicine in 2017, I’ve had more time to pursue my favorite pastimes: travel and photography. The pandemic has made travel more challenging but not impossible. In October of 2021, I finally checked off a major item on my bucket list: a trip to Peru.

My visit took me to Lima, Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Paracas and Machu Picchu. I expected the mountainous vistas, colorful clothing, fabulous food and cultural history. What I didn’t expect was so many dogs! In every city, on nearly every street, I saw dogs roaming, playing and napping.

In the Miraflores neighborhood of Lima, while walking along the Malecon, I saw a man tending to his three prized Chihuahuas. I asked if I could take a photo, and they obediently posed on the wall overlooking the Pacific.

©Arnold Plotnick, DVM

In Aguas Caliente, where Machu Picchu is located, I spotted a beautiful Peruvian Inca Orchid, the national dog of Peru. It’s a head turner because … it’s hairless! This girl was a real stunner.

In Ollantaytambo, I visited a small clothing shop. A young dog befriended me, following me inside the shop. She wouldn’t leave my side. Was it a ploy to get me to linger in the shop longer? If so, it worked; I bought a sweater. I couldn’t tear myself away from this sweetie. I got my daily dog fix, and the owner made a sale.

My favorite place was Cusco, a picturesque town with charming cobblestone streets, whimsical shops and great restaurants. While strolling the Cusco streets as dusk approached, I spotted a dog sleeping by a door, under a rack of handcrafted bags and tassels. The lighting was perfect, and I got my shot.

Doggies to the end

The trip ended in the lovely seaside beach town of Paracas. My hotel was right on the water, where I witnessed stunning sunsets, as pelicans and flamingos flew silhouetted against the orange sky.  One afternoon, while strolling the beach, I spotted a yellow Labrador-type dog sleeping in the sand. The dog barely opened an eye as I crouched to his level and snagged my photo, with the colorful restaurant in the background.

Peru is a beautiful, fascinating country that has something for everyone. If you’re a dog lover (you are, because you’re reading this magazine!), you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of friendly dogs you’ll encounter.

©Arnold Plotnick, DVM

Want to help the street dogs of Peru? Check out the nonprofit Allqo Llaqta Rescue Centre at