Dogs belong to Cuba, as do rum, cigars and oldtimer cars
Dogs are to Cuba as cats are to Naples and the Greek Isles — a ubiquitous and lovable presence whose adaptability and resilience is as charmingly as other defining elements of contemporary Cuba.
Contemporary Cuba may be a classless society, but on the communist isle some dogs are more equal than others. There are the rangy strays – skinny, ugly, with a missing piece of ear..And then there are the more privileged pedigree hounds with a secure roof over their heads, well-fed, pampered, and groomed as much as their owners meager resources allow.
In Cuba, there are dogs. Dogs, dogs everywhere. In the streets, in doorways, sleeping under the tables at bars. Flea-bitten, scrappy mongrels. And they will capture your heart in two seconds.
By some estimates there are over a million dogs in Cuba, of which half may be strays – many of them mangy mutts, scars all over their faces fighting for meals scavenged from the few edible tidbits that a poor hungry nation accidently drops. Asleep in the road, walking along the cobbled streets, and rummaging through garbage.. Most are former house pets let loose and are thus friendly.
But what about cats?
Cubans hold animals in high esteem, often saving up precious scraps for stray cats and dogs, of which there is no shortage – at least not of dogs, the cat population having disappeared into the cooking pot during the terrible years of the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union, when malnutrition stalked the land. Cubans love their dogs too much to have actually eaten them, no matter how hungry. Nevertheless, during the ‘Special Period’ of two decades ago, many people could no longer afford to feed their beloved hounds and
with great sorrow turned them out onto the streets. Not that these dogs are abused. Quite the opposite. Cuban society is steeped in Yoruba tradition, which holds that dogs are sacred animals and should not be mistreated. That belief has been passed down and absorbed into contemporary social custom. Whether purebred or mongrel, Cuba’s amiable perritos (Cuban dogs have a remarkably tame disposition) are no less adored and cared for than their cousins 90 miles north of the Florida Straits.
Stray dogs in Havana get help - Let´s help Trinidad too!
Watch the video to see how ANIPLANT helps people to take care of dogs in Havana. Let´s try to create something similar for Trinidad and its dogs and dog lovers!
Cuba’s national passion for dogs extends back beyond Columbus’ arrival. When the Spanish first arrived in the Americas in the sixteenth century, they found at least twenty distinct breeds of dog, including the Mexican hairless, one of the most popular pedigrees still found in Cuba today. A majority of the more than two hundred distinct breeds of dog in the world are found on the isle.
Nevertheless the big love and passion for dogs, this love becomes irrelevant when you struggle feeding yourself and your own kids. The big problem is that people struggle on a daily basisss. The survival instinct lets you prioritise your own health and the health of your kids over the health of a dog.
Meet Anyta - the guardian angel of Cuba´s animals
Based in the city of Trinidad, Anyta is a 30 year old former dentist, who has dedicated her whole life to saving animals in need.
20 dogs and 36 cats need a new home as soon as possible
This is an URGENT situation. It is no longer possible to house the animals in the space the big majority of cats and dogs used to live at. Now they are all devided on three houses, which is obviously not an optimal situation. Anyta has to find a new places, to accomodate the animals the way they need as soon as possible. Please help us to help her!
Curios about the story behind the project?
In honor of the dog that we found on the streets of Trinidad we called this project "The Bacardín Project". We named the dog Bacardí - as the rum, since he reminded us of the bat on the famous rum bottles and a bat is seen as a symbol of good luck on Cuba. However, we came to realisation that having this brand name in our title might not be the best idea... so we added an "n". And of course Anyta plays a role in this story too..