Dogs, Rabies and Foot-Tunnelling Ticks.
I got bitten by a tick that had fallen from the fur of a little dog onto the verandah. I walked on the boards in bare feet, so had picked it up after the dogs visit. The tick had burrowed into my heel, contentedly setting up home.
I was on my way back to the UK, so was flying and the pressure on the planes caused the wound to swell. It was very uncomfortable. On my return I immediately limped to my GP, who was delighted to have something very different to deal with.
He put my heel up on his lap and cut into the swelling with a scalpel, draining out the poison and digging about to ensure nothing of the tick was left, while I grit my teeth and mused on my love of animals. It cleared up pretty quickly after that, but I kept well away from dogs when I returned to Brazil.
I felt pity for them, but as dogs carry rabies in Brazil, as well as ticks and fleas, this caution was necessary.
The dogs I saw in the city of Manaus or town of Manacapuru were often thin and bony with bald, sore areas in their matted fur and could often be seen limping. I saw few strays on the streets, but those I did see were in this condition. I saw not one well cared for, well fed dog being taken for a walk by a proud owner. The reason for this, I believe, is because dogs are seen as animals, able to look after themselves, and not as pets to be pampered or fed with tins of thick meat that locals can’t afford for themselves.
People in the forest sometimes keep dogs as guards, to bark at strangers or warn off prowling animals and snakes. They are often left to find their own food or are given scraps from the table. They will eat absolutely anything……except corned beef and tinned peas. Even people who appear to be quite fond of their dogs are happy to go off for weeks at a time and leave them to fend for themselves in the forest.