Let Fido stay home, animal health officials suggest

Government animal health officials are making the obvious announcement that taking dogs on the pilgrimage to Cartago is not a good idea.

A total of 32 dogs were abandoned last year at the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles probably because they slipped their collar or otherwise got loose and lost, said the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal.

The distance from San José to Cartago is 24 kilometers, and many pilgrims come for places far distance. The animal health agency said that such long hikes can cause serious health problems for dogs, including maladies with the spine, foot and leg injuries and even dehydration.

Unlike humans, most transportation services will not accept dogs. And the Cruz Roja first aid stations are not designed for Fido.

And like many human owners, household pets probably are not prepared for the rigors of the pilgrimage.

Those who insist on being accompanied by doggie073115their dog should provide some training in the weeks before the pilgrimage, make sure the pet has an ID tag and refrain from hiking in the hot part of the day, said the agency.

These probably are good suggestions even for those few pilgrims who ride horses to the basilica each year, too.

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