Russia’s capital city of Moscow has a large population of stray dogs due to increasing development. Some are born homeless whilst others have been abandoned by their owners. But abandoned dogs now only account for a tiny percentage of the total. The homeless dog population has been estimated at about 35,000. The amount of food available is the most determining factor for this population of canines. Those who do not find a human to toss them some food will usually find something discarded by city dwellers on the ground, in rubbish bins or dump areas.
The dogs can regularly be seen begging and a select number have been recorded on video catching the trains. Railway stations are a warmer place for dogs to live, especially in colder months and can regularly be found there. Although there are a few theories about how some dogs have learned to use the rail system and may recognize the sound of recorded station names, I’m inclined to think they choose where to alight according to smell. Or perhaps they have begun a journey following a particular person and then repeated the pattern enough times to engage in a routine.
Many of the dogs operate in packs and although colorations vary, many of their general population tend to look similar in body size, coat type, head shape and ear shape. It is rare to see a malnourished dog amongst them. Pack leaders of the Moscow strays don’t tend to be the strongest, but the most intelligent and have been documented interacting with other pack leaders. The Moscow strays are very well adapted to the bustle of the city and can often be seen napping in noisy, high foot-traffic areas. Whilst the dogs are a bit of a novelty to some, not all occupants of Moscow welcome their presence.
Leah & Angela O’Meara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Cares Brisbane)