The dogs of the Moscow metro

Can you think of a space more emblematic of urbanism than a metro? I can’t and perhaps that’s why I’m so preoccupied by Moscow’s metro dogs: it’s a reminder that cities are sites of ecological novelty, rather than human constructions that have constituted nature as ‘outside’. I love reading about the distinctive behaviours that have emerged amongst Moscow’s metro dogs:

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.”

Categories: Rethinking The World

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