Moscow’s Stray Dogs Ride the Subway

#Animals

Wed, Jul 10th, 2013 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Sally McGrane of The New Yorker, Moscow has commuter dogs, stray dogs who "learned to descend the stations’ vertiginous escalators and, like true urbanites, now regularly navigate Moscow by metro, sparing their paws as they roam the megalopolis to forage for meals, meet new people, check out unfamiliar neighborhoods, or, on occasion, just for kicks." The city is trying to put an end to this. I thought this part was pretty amazing:

“In the nineties, after oil money came to Russia, quality of life improved,” he continued. More wealth brought more garbage, which meant more food for dogs (as well as for rats and crows). This combination of circumstances — more to eat and no regulation — gave the stray population a chance to grow, and to develop more complex survival strategies. During the cold Russian winters, the dogs started to move underground, first exploring the tunnels leading to metro stations, and then, once they had mastered the escalators, moving into metro stations located relatively close to the city’s surface. Finally, strays made their way to the deepest stations, in the heart of the city.

Rather than chasing the dogs away, metro workers fed them. Riders, too, were kind: if a tired dog fell asleep in the middle of a marble station, people walked around the animal to avoid waking him. The dogs have learned to recognize stations from the announcers’ voices — though Neuronov added that he doubts the oft-repeated assertion that, like humans, the commuting dogs occasionally fall asleep and miss their stops. “There are three models of metro dogs,” he explained: dogs who live in the subway but do not travel, dogs who use the subway to travel short distances instead of walking, and entrepreneurial dogs who spend the day riding back and forth, busking. This last type of dog takes long trips, working the crowd for treats and emotional contact. (On trains, dogs “seeking tenderness” are particularly inclined to approach women over forty who are carrying large shopping bags.) And, according to the results of a study Neuronov conducted of the Red Line, some dogs hop on the train for purely recreational reasons. “Like in human society,” he said, “there are dogs who are inclined to see new places.”

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