The Subway Dogs of Moscow
All creatures want to survive, and the constant change of our world is matched by our ability to adjust to new conditions, which are often less than ideal. This is exactly what the homeless dogs of Moscow have done, improved on their survival skills to match a cold, urban enviornment.
According to Russian scientists, the stray dogs of the Russian capital have become much more sophisticated than their pet counterparts and have been demonstrating extraordinary skills for years now, like taking the subway every day and getting food in very original ways.
Russian scientists estimate that these dogs had to get used to riding on the metro due to big changes occuring in the city during the 90s. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, all the factories were removed from the center of the city and and relocated to the skirts of Moscow, where dogs rarely go and cannot find food. The dogs used to sleep in the factories, and many were 'adopted' by the workers.
After the change, dogs had to move and they learned that the best place for them is to travel with the humans and come back in the evening.
"Sometimes the dogs get the wrong line but they are learning", explains a local researcher. "It's amazing how they manage to get off on the right station. They even pick the first car of the train, apparently because they're usually less crowded." Biologists say dogs have very nice sense of time which helps them not to miss their destination.
Another skill they have is to cross the road on the green traffic light. They only cross the road when there's a green light, "not because they see the color, but because they recognize the shape of the walking man."
When it comes to food, Moscow's commercial revolution has made the trash cans (usually the first place stray dogs look at for food), less relevant and so their methods of getting food have become more creative, like convincing travellers to buy them a hot dog or a schawarma.
Their method is usually the same, and works most of the time - A customer buys food for him/herself, the dog creeps up behind them and gives a loud bark, which
causes the person to drop the food, which the oppurtunistic dog immediately grabs. 10 minutes later, they'll try their urban hunting technique on someone else.
"The dogs seem to have a great psychological understanding of who will be scared enough to drop their food and who won't."
But there are more traditional ways, as we all know. And as a young girl sits on a bench to eay a hot dog, a cute dog will appear and put its head on her knee and whine, until she can't help but offer him a piece.
It’s funny but the ecologists studying Moscow stray dogs also tell the dogs don’t miss a chance to get some play while on their travel in the subway. They are fond of jumping in the train just seconds before the doors shut closed risking their tails be jammed. “They do it for fun, just they have enough food”, they conclude.