Lost dogs ~ the movie
A dog captures the world’s attention by performing a death-defying and heroic act. The incident, caught on surveillance camera in the capital city of Santiago, uncovers the epidemic problem of Chile’s homeless dog population. While exploring the world of Chile’s street dogs, “Lost Dogs” uncovers a social movement propelled by extraordinary people who, against enormous odds, consistently endeavor to rescue and protect the dogs. Their struggle demonstrates the power of compassion to transform society, turning betrayal into redemption.
An estimated 220,000 homeless dogs live amongst 7 million people in Santiago. Theirs’ is the “beat life” where only the fit, the smart and the lucky survive. Learning where to get food, water and shelter; understanding pack territories and routes that won’t lead to injury or death are all part of street-gang mentality essential for survival. Average lifespan of a street dog is between two and five years. In addition to starvation, cold and disease, there are the added dangers of collisions with cars, cruelty, and strychnine poisoning, the government’s M.O. for animal control.
Public apathy and desensitization is countered only by the tireless work of a handful of courageous activists. Like Gabriela Jarpa, who cares for some fifty stray dogs on the outskirts of Santiago. “Rinconada” is a ten-mile stretch of road that serves as the dumping ground for the city’s trash, sewage and dogs. It’s here that Gabriela enacts the solution to the problem: Adopt, educate, and sterilize. In three years, alongside working a full-time job and raising a family, she has adopted out nearly one hundred dogs via the worldwide web and had over one hundred sterilized. But her work is never done – as fast as she can adopt them out, others are abandoned.
On May 2, 2008, a volcano erupted in the south of Chile. The town of Chaitén was evacuated and all 4,500 residents were ordered by government to leave their animals behind. Public protest pressured the government to allow the army to free the cats and dogs locked in homes. Despite the efforts of animal welfare groups to rescue the survivors, more than one hundred dogs remain a year after the initial eruption. While documenting one of the last rescue attempts in Chaitén, Lost Dogs examines our reaction to such recurring tragedies in an effort to encourage global protocol for animals in environmental disasters.
Even before the film could have this impact, the earthquake of February 27, 2010 struck, and the ensuing tsunamis that killed as yet an unknown number of people and animals. The current situation cries out for international support in light of disease outbreaks, a shortage of experienced veterinarians and medical supplies, food shortages; hungry dogs turning feral, forming packs that will have the inevitable impact on wildlife and worsen the cycle of uncontrolled breeding. Lost Dogs will serve as a reminder to a world that has already forgotten.
Thirty animals were evacuated from Chaitén during the filming of Lost Dogs, but the story doesn’t end there… Seven dogs chosen from Rinconada and Chaitén would ultimately find their way to the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Their stories are astounding in complexity and heart, the journey laden with obstacles. Ambassadors for all the street dogs of Chile, their destinies have been greatly impacted by the hero dog, whose message lives on in Lost Dogs.
Please visit the website of "Lost dogs" to continue your reading.