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Russia, December 20, 1997

Wild Dogs Run Wild

Cute puppies are not in the window

A dog rooting in the trash bin

Before the "fall" of communism, wild dogs here, like in America, were rounded up and exterminated. (Yes, that is why they call it the Humane Society, they kill 'em humanely.) But now, since there isn't any money for such egalitarian projects, the dogs here just run wild. A pack of about 5-7 dogs lives near the hotel where I stayed, barking, chasing cars, eating trash, and just having a good time.

Here is one looking for supper in the trash bins.

Now there are quite adventurous dogs that think they are humans. They walk next to you, as if they are your best friend, and try to sneak into places with you. I've seen them find their way into strange places, like stores, restaurants, and even the metro.

Metro PoochI noticed that everyone on this metro train followed the old "let sleeping dogs lay," adage!

The packs of wild dogs are not as scary as you might think. Russians are pretty gruff to strays so the dogs are quite shy. I don't think all the dogs are strays either. Some are just too healthy/groomed to be wandering the streets all the time. It makes me wonder about the owners.

Here, unlike the states, dogs do not get specialized food, they eat the leftovers from the dinners of the owners. I only know of two stores that sell dog food, and most expat dog owners have special food shipped in from the states.

Now all this talk about dogs might make you wonder where all the cats are. Well it makes me wonder too. The only cats I see are the kittens the babushkas in the metro exits are trying to sell. Maybe the winter gets too cold for the cats, or they are just smart enough to stay out of the snow.

I think this is a tough country for a pet, no matter what the lady selling the turtles in the metro on a freezing cold day says.

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