Los Dos Perros (The Two Dogs)

[3-Minute Read]This reflection reminds me of the role dreams and goals play in my life, and I often reflect on it when setting goals. I hope it helps you find your bearings too.

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Los Dos Perros (The Two Dogs)

This reflection reminds me of the role dreams and goals play in my life, and I often reflect on it when setting goals. I hope it helps you find your bearings too.

No rule book in life says you must achieve every goal or aspiration you set for yourself, yet many people behave as if that is true. They hesitate to start lest their dream proves impossible or refuse to tell anyone about it for fear of looking foolish.

I originally wrote this reflection in 2018 in Huaraz, a small town in the northern Andes of Peru. Surrounded by 6000m high white peaks, Huaraz is an adventurer’s playground and a source of intense joy for me. But not that day.

Los Dos Perros (The Two Dogs)

Each exhalation of breath sunk my body further into the hotel lounge. I wondered how many more breaths it would take to fall so entirely that I could no longer be seen. 

That may be the best outcome.

Earlier that morning, life had cruelly shattered my dream into a thousand shards of pain.

Get up. 

The lounge cradled my prostrate body. Still. Breathing.

Get up. 

Repeated the gnawing voice inside me. 

I reached for the map on the table next to me and scanned it to find a route that would take me away from there. Anywhere, far away from there.


The cacophony snapped at my brain when I stepped into the streets of Huaraz. Hundreds of people packed the narrow walkways so tightly that the women’s sombreros seemed to giggle atop the crowd, much like the working dogs moving along a mob of sheep back home. 

I turned right at the second intersection. 

My chosen route, the Calle El Mirador, soon ascended out of the chaos and into a calmer urban life. The habits of suburbia are the same wherever you are in the world; women sweep while children play, friends chatter, and street workers pause to say hello.

Photo: The view of Huaraz as I climbed Calle El Mirador

The thin air forced me to breathe deeply and pause too.

The dogs of Huaraz were everywhere that afternoon, at least fifty or more – some pets, but mostly street dogs. They sunbaked or hunted for food scraps; occasionally, they followed me but soon grew bored. Dogs are experts at getting as much as they need and then wanting for no more.

I paused to watch two dogs sleeping next to a front door. Toys were scattered left and right, dumped when the young owners retreated to the lunchtime call of Mama. While their playmates ate, the dogs rested, curled against the wall for warmth.

Dirt from the road had stained the wall, and it struck me how perfectly the two dogs blended with it. Watching them, I wondered what they would think of my worries.

Our modern life drives us to dream big, succeed and then dream some more. Even in our dreams, we are under pressure to perform, to never be still, lest we live a life less than the potential of our plans.

Watching those dogs, I realised that chasing the future has robbed me of something vastly more precious; the joy gained from being fully present to today.

I learned to hold dreams lightly in my mind and softly in my heart so that in a moment’s breath, I can release them into the ether, giving their space back to the things that matter most – belonging, being comforted by a familiar place, and enjoying curling up with a good friend.

Two dogs curled next to a wall in Huaraz.
Photo: The two dogs that inspired my reflection.

Discover more about your bold mind every Monday

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