Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
There are loose dogs on the trail, but I never saw one I would describe as stray. Every dog with an apparent evil intent was restrained or behind a fence. One lunged repeatedly against his chain in charges so violent that he bounced back! Three dogs guarding some firewood stuck their heads through fence openings to snap at walkers. One man walking a particularly strong looking pit bull gestured me away when I approached, as though he was not certain he could protect me if his dog took a dislike to me. Dog food would not have been of any use!
The loose dogs were unanimously friendly. No merchant will allow an obstacle between a customer's wallet and his wares, so all dogs around commercial establishments will be friendly.
I never came across any scary dogs. In fact when I read the book by Coelho with the bit about being attacked by a black dog I now laugh because I was followed for one entire day by a big friendly black mastiff called Runa. She apparently escapes from her owner's yard and tracks along with pilgrims on a regular basis, doing up to 30km a day! She loves it and you can't get rid of her, she will even wait while you eat lunch. Her owner always has to come and collect her, and Runa is all skinny from all the walking, the owner says she eats like a horse and can't put on weight. She lives in Villafranca Del Bierzo, and she walked with me all the way to the German hostel (about 22km - and all uphill). So if you see Runa, give her a big pat and a cuddle for me, and call the number on her collar at the end of the day for her to be collected! :lol:
I only met one stray along the Camino Frances, and he was a friendly little beggar that seemed mostly interested in the bocadillo I was eating. We shared food and went our separate ways. He was quite civil!
I did meet several unhappy dogs...but they were never a threat being restrained or behind a fence. I did come across one little bugger that was so cute I could have taken him home. lucky, I was already over weight..so he's still out there.
I had two encounters on the camino ingles with vicious farm dogs - and I do mean vicious and not just harmlessly noisy. Both times involved a pair of dogs, unleashed, with no evidence of owners to call them to heel. None of the dogs were huge but the second pair were especially determined to have some flesh from my ankles. As I was with my son, and we both had walking poles, we were able to keep them at bay but walked about half a mile backwards as every time we thought we had left them behind and turned around they flew at us again at great speed and with renewed ferocity.
I don't usually have a problem with dogs and normally I make friends with any that I come across but these little rascals did not want to befriend anyone. Some friends had a similar problem on the camino Fisterra.
Most dogs are chained up but keep an eye on them just in case!
I experienced the same. Must have been the same little vicious dogs. They came at me so fast and unexpected, I turned around quickly and developed a cramp/pain in my right calf. Walked four kms before feeling good again.
On the Camino Fisterra, I was attacked by a German Sheppard. Appeared from nowhere and snapped me on the left wrist, luckily biting into my watch and watchband, making only two small canine holes into my arm. Was rescued by the owner who came running out of the house in apologies.
Another time, on the Camino Del Norte, having been diverted, I was walking on a very seldom used part of the Camino. The path (very well marked) was going through an old farm between the house and a hangar. Just as I was going by, this German Sheppard came out of the house barking and snarling and got a hold of my right ''cheek''. I immediately froze and so did he. We stayed in that position for about 10 seconds (appeared as an eternity) before this old lady came out to chase the dog away. She apologized, stating that they seldom saw pilgrims on that route and didn't bother to chain the dog anymore. Didn't make me feel better...