Sunday, December 05, 2010

Dogs on the Navajo Reservation

I recently drove through the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona. Beautiful country. I spent the night in Chinle, AZ after visiting Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Besides the land, I was amazed at the Dine's domestic dogs.

For the most part, the families live on multi-acre plots of land, each family managing its allotment. The pre-fabricated houses tend to sit off the road 100-200 yards. It seems that each family has a dog. And the dog is not leashed, living free on the land.

The dogs form packs. Most packs are comprised of 2-3 dogs. They seem to have some amazing survival strengths. I am sure their owners feed them but what dog ever has enough food. They roam, looking for food. Road kill is a favorite as are things tossed from cars.

These dogs know how to navigate busy roads -- two land highways. Natural selection seems to be at work here. I don't think many of these dogs get hit by cars; those that do make the breed stronger. As I approach a pack at 65 mph, the dogs get off the road. After I pass, they return to what they were doing on the road.

IMHO, Navajo dogs are some of the smartest dogs I have seen. Like latch-key kids, these dogs know how to survive and in fact flourish.

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