Look at this picture and see where your eye goes.
dogs

There are three things being led or being led by here.

1.  The Toy by a String held the Balloon Vender

2.  The Dog by a leash held by an Expat

3.  The Child by a hand of her mother.

Now put them in order of importance.

Only a child would put Toy first so that can be ruled out.  The choice, then,  is between Dog and Child.  In San Miguel the Dog will always come first.

Why?  Well here are two different response about why people love Dogs

People love their dogs because they’re things that accompany us through life changing experiences, love us no matter what, aren’t moody and don’t have those kind of days that humans have when you don’t want to be around anyone, and they’re beloved companions that without, people wouldn’t go through the same experiences and have the same memories that they would if they had a dog.

OR

Archer suggests, “consider the possibility that pets are, in evolutionary terms, manipulating human responses, that they are the equivalent of social parasites.” Social parasites inject themselves into the social systems of other species and thrive there. Dogs are masters at that. They show a range of emotions—love, anxiety, curiosity—and thus trick us into thinking they possess the full range of human feelings.

Hmmmm… either your best friend or a social parasite.

Another reason might simply be stem for the ease of acquisition.  Which is easily to adopt a pet or a child?  In San Miguel pets are offered for adoption right in the Jardin.  No filling in of forms, no visits by social services, no waiting time, no expense.

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And the benefits are quite considerable from this article, found in Atençion

Two of my formerly abused rescue dogs sleep in my room and tell their tale as they dream. The large one, rescued from a breeder, frequently cries out in the night and calms only when I talk to her in her sleep. The other rescued handicapped dog wags her tail loudly and often, with dreams of happy experiences.

It is clear that both were abused, but each chose between remaining bitter or becoming better. They are happy with their new circumstances, but neither the extent of the former maltreatment nor the breed caused them to decide to be joyous and extremely grateful to their rescuer. It appears to be a choice. It seems all the more miraculous.

And there is another alternative for people who want the minimal maitenance pet.
ceramic dogs