Feeding the Strays

I am back in good old Asuncion after 3 weeks of traveling, eating delicious food and ice cream, drinking wine, and experiencing the most beautiful beaches. I’ll recount the stories of each city, town, cobble-stoned street, and sand-swept island in due time, but I thought I’d re-engage with the public by telling a story.

Aleks and I completed our South American tour with a Churrascaria in Asuncion, (A Brazilian-style restaurant in which waiters continually approach your table with new and different cuts of meat asking you to choose your favorites.) Endless quantities of meat and large buffets that end in Passion Fruit Mousse is always a good way to end an already perfect vacation.

At the end of our meal, as the waiter was about to clear away the plate we had put together of leftover meat, chorizo, bones, etc, we asked him if we could get the food to go, thinking of the dogs we would run into along the way home. The waiter looked at me knowingly and said “Es para tu perrita?” (Is it for your dog?) to which I replied, “SI!” (Yes!) He nodded and took the plate in hand only to return with a large shopping bag filled with leftover cuts of meat and bones and scraps of chicken, beef, and pork. Elated, I thanked him profusely for being so kind, letting him know that our dog would certainly be thrilled when we returned home.

Little did that man know he would make about 10 cats and 4 or 5 dogs happy over the last day and a half. Aleks and I returned from our dinner, bag of meat in hand, and wandered the plazas in Asuncion looking for skinny strays with hunger in their eyes. We encountered plenty of terrified cats, too scared to even approach us with the meat in our hands, and left them scraps that they chased after as we walked away. We found a few hungry dogs in the night as well eager for a cut or two. Unable to find enough animals to give all the food to we put the remains in our hotel fridge and geared up for round 2 this afternoon where 4 different dogs were given scraps of meat and bones to suck the juices out of.

I am only sad we didn’t have more to leave for the others that we didn’t encounter, but it is true that leftovers never go to waste in Paraguay. There is always someone that will be grateful for what you couldn’t finish yourself.

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