One of the first things you will notice upon arriving in Cusco is the stray dogs of Cusco. The many many many dogs. The dogs that form a backdrop for the streets of Cusco appear completely independent of the people. They dash around busily, weaving in and out of traffic, roaming around the neighborhoods or seeking shelter in the markets. They get into fights. They socialise. They breed. Some have homes and are just out to wander, while others live full time in the streets. It can be hard to distinguish between them. This isn’t something that is just confined to Cusco, in fact it is a reality all over Peru. Some of the homeless dogs will go to different homes seeking food and water. Regrettably, every year many of these dogs are killed to keep overpopulation from developing in the city. Peru is a nation of animal lovers yet as of the moment there is no proper animal control, with only a heavy reliance on charities (which are underfunded) to feed, house and provide medical care for the dogs. Charities in Cusco are always looking for donations of food and blankets, this is something to consider when visiting the city.
It is important to remember that the street dogs of Peru are friendly and rarely seek out tourists. Many locals will say that the dogs are like the people: they are working to live and surviving the best as they can.