Kiara has been going to kennel schools for eight years. He’s a calm and sassy Bernese Mountain. The owner, Camilo Jaramillo, would leave the suitcase ready to take to the nursery so he wouldn’t be alone on his way to work. They are a family. They go to the market together, walk, sleep and play. “She’s like my daughter.
I haven’t seen him for a month. On October 26, they called me from the nursery and said that she disappeared as if she were a presence and not the presence that accompanied me in my life,” the man says with sadness and disappointment. The nursery that let her lose is known as Mashi and is located in Cundinamarca, La Calera.
For two years the routine was the same. Camilo even allowed the school owners and delegates to enter the apartment at eight in the morning to pick up Kiara and bring her back before evening. This exercise was repeated four days a week. He paid over 300,000 pesos a month, came there with advice, and recommended him likewise.
Word of mouth is working very well in this growing business. Market studies specializing in pets agree that 40 percent of households in Colombia own at least one animal, which is often treated like another child.. That’s why they don’t hesitate to provide you well-being. Camilo was out of town and at seven o’clock at night on Wednesday, October 26, he received a call that was causing him increasing pain: “Don Camilo remembers being told Kiara disappeared while walking down the mountain.”
Initially, he refused to accept it. Kiara is calm and obedient, as described by those who knew her because of her age. That same night Camilo’s relatives went to La Calera to look for him and reported that the nursery had not done so. She states that they found many vulnerabilities in the security of the venue and that there are not enough security cameras in the sector. As time passed, Camilo, who thought that this was a theft, filed a criminal complaint with the prosecutor’s office for investigation.
La Calera Environment Minister Javier Barrantes says “creches, schools and dog hotels are becoming a problem”. He argues that after the pandemic, many people came to start such businesses without any control. Authorities toured 36 municipalities affiliated to the municipality and identified some 76 nurseries, 60 percent of which were informal. There are several cases of dogs lost in day care centers and they have increased over the past year.
Joropo disappeared in one of them located in the village of El Hato. His owners went to Argentina for three weeks, so they left him there with both the criollos and his rescued sister Negra. Joropo lived in the family for 12 years. He was said to have disappeared on the second day of the trip, no one knows how. It all happened on May 27. María José and her husband spent several million pesos looking for her, hired drones, hired rescuers who walked the mountain every day, put up posters and even paid for psychics.
In the midst of the need to regulate nurseries, there is a clause that provides for the payment of insurance and civil liability policies that these institutions would have to undertake if a dog goes off the road. However, María José and other pet owners assure us that more needs to be done in prevention, as nothing is enough to make up for the loss of a loved one.
“My parents have been divorced since I was 4 years old. After a while, I went to live with my father to re-establish our relationship. Joropo came at the same time and helped us bond with my father because the three of us made plans”, explains María José. Joropo accompanied him on his college degree and on his wedding day. A month after Joropo’s disappearance, his father passed away.
“I feel like my father died twice, it was Joropo that bound us together.” She says this without tears as she looks at each of her memories, such as the leash, dinner bowl, and blanket in Joropo’s house. He doesn’t know if he will continue to wait for her arrival. He is an old dog with pancreatic problems. Although his will is strong, loneliness slows him down, and the winter in La Calera makes him less likely to be well. One of the hired psychics assures that María José can speak to her father’s spirit and reassures her that Joropo is on her side.
Javier Hincapie, principal of 8 Perros dog school, one of the legally established ones, said that when a dog goes off the road, it tends to be found quickly because the animals seek a nearby home where they can find food or shelter.
“We who are dedicated to this work must understand that we have the same responsibility as caring for children,” he warns. Therefore, maintenance should have a protocol that is standardized, extreme and includes monitoring chips, cameras and qualified personnel.
All this to avoid cases similar to that of Max, the dog who fell off the road in Chapinero while being transported from the Los Amigos de tu Mascota nursery in La Calera on 29 June 2021. The pet ran away. Landlord Lizeth Villafañe says the nursery has never helped the search. A month later, a family reported that a dog similar to the one in the posters looking for Max had arrived in their neighborhood. This case had a happy ending, but the family suffered for a month. It was reported to the Nursery, Industry and Trade Inspectorate.
Max’s reunion with Lizeth was so emotional that tears and barking lasted for long minutes. Camilo dreams of this with Kiara. The owner of the Mashi nursery where Kiara disappeared is Óscar Barrera, who claims to have suffered from Bernese’s loss. She admits she was wrong as she has never had a similar problem before and Kiara is very sensitive, so the walker team has given more attention to young and playful dogs.
But he makes it clear that he is not a criminal and, on the contrary, a victim of threats on social networks. He also does not rule out the idea that Kiara may have been adopted by a family that attached to her and did not want to give her back, as she is a neutered old dog. “I ask whoever has it to give it back, he deserves to be with Don Camilo. He will not be happy with anyone else”, Óscar asks.
However, doubts about this case remain. The nursery notified Camilo five hours after Kiara’s supposed disappearance, there is no video of what happened, and one of the staff has been awkwardly fired. They didn’t want to say anything about it. For Carlos Escobar, mayor of La Calera, the painful scenes could have been avoided if there were regulations governing such a commercial establishment: “It’s not just renting a piece of land and erecting a polygon.”
He emphasizes that the administration is conducting a census and working to establish processes in daycare centers that control this explosion. If there’s anything more cruel than the death of a pet, it’s not knowing what happened to it. When a dog goes missing, they feel like they see it around every corner and have to live in constant pain.
Meanwhile, due to the laziness of some who started these lucrative businesses, safety precautions are not taken to prevent cases like Joropo and Kiara’s from occurring, and they are repeated almost daily with other dogs. When creating a regulation, it remains only for owners to be very careful when choosing a place to care for their pets.
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