Friday, February 03, 2006

Yo, What's up DOG?

Hey all!
Its Steve here and uh... no...I'm not practicing my inner city street slang. I'm posting about one of the first things you will notice when you arrive in Bucharest. Yeah, that's it - Dogs!

There are stray dogs loose all over the city. Everywhere, and I mean everywhere. The following pictures I took at work, INSIDE the gates of the facility where I work at Baneassa Airport. I've also seen them INSIDE the hangers where the planes are, and even in the hallway outside my office!

The little fella with his ears pinned back "attacked" my car on my way out. I really made him mad when I swerved towards him, heh heh heh. I got the camera and caught him in between barks. Trust me - he ain't happy with me.

Many of these strays have been in the city on their own for generations, making them somewhat wild city dogs. Well, they are not exactly on their own. Many kind hearted dog-lovers feed them regularly with table scraps and other culinary refuse.

Apparently, things were worse years ago until one Bucharest mayor took some heavy-handed action, rounding many of these dogs up, know - hasta la vista, doggies. On occasion, the aggressive ones have bitten people, so some people want them dog-gone at any cost.

On the opposite side are many animal lovers. Many people here love their animals, especially dogs. During communism, pets were the only "people" you could trust. So many people formed close relationships with their 4-legged (some may have less than 4, due to the traffic) friends. So you do have a sticky (or furry) situation here that puts people at odds with one another on the canine solution.

So how did it get this way? Like many problems here, the cause points back to decades of communist rule. The communists did two things which helped cause this: (1) They forced people out of their houses and yards (bulldozing most) and forced them to live in tiny apartments located in huge buildings (called blocs) like you saw in Dana's first post. (2) They impoverished the people, making it even more difficult to care for pets.