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Thread: LADIES ONLY V is for Viralata

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    Default LADIES ONLY V is for Viralata

    Continuing my A-Z of the Dominican Republic V is for Viralata. This is pronounced Beeralata or Veeralata depending on which part of the country you come from. Dominican Spanish is confusing as the letter V is often pronounced as a B but not always. When I was learning Spanish someone would say what sounded like "Dondé tu bas?"meaning "Where are you going?" but actually written vas not bas. Very confusing when I wanted to look words up in the dictionary. B is known as B larga and V as B corta. Even some Dominicans get confused!

    Viralata is made up of two words. Vira comes from the verb virar meaning to turn and lata means a tin or a can. Viralata means to turn over or tip over a can or tin and refers to street dogs who get into the oil drums used as rubbish bins and tip them over to get at whatever is inside.

    If the Dominican Republic were to have a national animal it would have to be the viralata. They are absolutely everywhere. It is estimated that in the capital, Santo Domingo, there are around 90,000 and even that could be a gross underestimate. These animals literally live on the street and look for food wherever they can find it. They are very intelligent and every food establishment and butcher will always have a group outside. It does not mean they all do not have homes, many do, but they are not allowed into the house and so spend their time lying on the road in front of the house. Often the so called owners cannot afford to feed them either. Most will have other viralata friends and they will play together and run around together and of course mate together, which increases the problem all of the time.

    On the whole they are not aggressive, although I find it a little nerve wracking sometimes to have to walk through a big group of them, worried about being attacked or bitten as there is still rabies in the DR and of course viralatas are rarely vaccinated. Having said that I have never ever been attacked or even threatened by one. Some do have the nasty habit of chasing motor bikes and often get nasty kicks from drivers or passengers. Some Dominicans, especially children, seem to take pleasure out of hitting them, or throwing rocks at them or abusing them in other ways.

    As far as I can see, there is no nationally coordinated programme of seeing the viralatas as a problem and of trying to do something about it. In some towns however, when they do seem to be getting out of control, the local authorities will put down poison. I will never forget going to work one day as a diving instructor and seeing the beach littered with corpses of street dogs. Appalling and heartbreaking.

    However, there are some institutions in different parts of the country who work very hard to capture, neuter and then release the dogs. Many of the dogs now get adopted by people living overseas and they get whisked off to Canada or the US. Easier for a dog to get a visa than most Dominicans!

    Viralatas are a massive issue in the DR. It is heartbreaking to see dogs being badly treated and suffering. For some reason, and I do not know why, Dominicans do not treat dogs in the same way as people from my culture. Dogs are not usually seen as pets nor allowed in the house. Many will not even touch them. I had a rescued English Mastiff and my stepchildren would never touch him, he even got washed at arms length with a broom.

    In order to solve the problem there needs to be education and a nationally government sponsored programme of spaying and neutering, rather than relying on a few organisations, who, while they do amazing work at a local level are only solving a tiny part of this national problem.

    What is your V?

    Matilda


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    When our male rottie was poisoned, our agrovet brought over a viralata who he named Rin Tin Tin, I kid you not.  When our female rottie was kicked by a cow who had somehow entered our property (she was trying to herd it out, second nature for rotties), she died from internal injuries.  Tin Tin apparently was lonely, and a white viralata suddenly appeared, we named her Blanquita. In February, I saw a post about a dog being put down because owner retuning to Canada.  Viralata #3. Her name is Honey.  

    As far as the B vs V, Dominicans will ask “B como burro, o V como vaca?”  




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    Vaga is my "v". Spanish slang for street kid. I learned this from Vagamundo part of a wonderful civic project to educate, house and employ street kids. Here Vagamundo runs a waffle house in Cabarete. Delicious brioche type waffles! They also operate for street kids in South Sudan and Venezuela.
    http://vagamundocoffee.com/

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    Mine has to be vaina!
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    the only v I know is vaca -

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    Mine is "vergüenza." As in "una vieja sin vergüenza."

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    Question Maybe history could shed some light...

    Quote Originally Posted by Matilda View Post
    Continuing my A-Z of the Dominican Republic V is for Viralata. This is pronounced Beeralata or Veeralata depending on which part of the country you come from. Dominican Spanish is confusing as the letter V is often pronounced as a B but not always. When I was learning Spanish someone would say what sounded like "Dondé tu bas?"meaning "Where are you going?" but actually written vas not bas. Very confusing when I wanted to look words up in the dictionary. B is known as B larga and V as B corta. Even some Dominicans get confused!

    Viralata is made up of two words. Vira comes from the verb virar meaning to turn and lata means a tin or a can. Viralata means to turn over or tip over a can or tin and refers to street dogs who get into the oil drums used as rubbish bins and tip them over to get at whatever is inside.

    If the Dominican Republic were to have a national animal it would have to be the viralata. They are absolutely everywhere. It is estimated that in the capital, Santo Domingo, there are around 90,000 and even that could be a gross underestimate. These animals literally live on the street and look for food wherever they can find it. They are very intelligent and every food establishment and butcher will always have a group outside. It does not mean they all do not have homes, many do, but they are not allowed into the house and so spend their time lying on the road in front of the house. Often the so called owners cannot afford to feed them either. Most will have other viralata friends and they will play together and run around together and of course mate together, which increases the problem all of the time.

    On the whole they are not aggressive, although I find it a little nerve wracking sometimes to have to walk through a big group of them, worried about being attacked or bitten as there is still rabies in the DR and of course viralatas are rarely vaccinated. Having said that I have never ever been attacked or even threatened by one. Some do have the nasty habit of chasing motor bikes and often get nasty kicks from drivers or passengers. Some Dominicans, especially children, seem to take pleasure out of hitting them, or throwing rocks at them or abusing them in other ways.

    As far as I can see, there is no nationally coordinated programme of seeing the viralatas as a problem and of trying to do something about it. In some towns however, when they do seem to be getting out of control, the local authorities will put down poison. I will never forget going to work one day as a diving instructor and seeing the beach littered with corpses of street dogs. Appalling and heartbreaking.

    However, there are some institutions in different parts of the country who work very hard to capture, neuter and then release the dogs. Many of the dogs now get adopted by people living overseas and they get whisked off to Canada or the US. Easier for a dog to get a visa than most Dominicans!

    Viralatas are a massive issue in the DR. It is heartbreaking to see dogs being badly treated and suffering. Dominicans do not treat dogs in the same way as people from my culture. Dogs are not usually seen as pets nor allowed in the house. Many will not even touch them. I had a rescued English Mastiff and my stepchildren would never touch him, he even got washed at arms length with a broom.

    In order to solve the problem there needs to be education and a nationally government sponsored programme of spaying and neutering, rather than relying on a few organisations, who, while they do amazing work at a local level are only solving a tiny part of this national problem.

    What is your V?

    Matilda
    Years ago I heard that Dominicans have been afraid of dogs since Spaniards first came to the island and used them to subjugate the Tainos, the peaceful inhabitants at the time. Don't know how much research is possible about that time period, obviously no Indians were left in this country, so it could be difficult to reconstruct their extermination.

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    Mine is victima..as I am a victima of this heat...lol. Sorry ladies, just venting about the heat. Verduras, one of the reasons I enjoy living here is being able to have fresh off the farm verduras daily. Fresh beets one of my favs.

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