Sonia Horon, Global Animal
Every day, hundreds of passengers ride the Moscow Metro. The surprising part is many of them are stray dogs, seeking shelter, warmth, and food. Most homeless dogs in Russia—around 35,000—keep away from people. But others have figured out ways of how to best navigate the city to their advantage. They take the metro to office buildings at lunch time, where they have a good chance of getting food scraps. The Russian dogs also have other advanced techniques for getting food. The ones that travel in packs have been spotted sending out the smaller, “cuter,” dogs to beg for food, knowing they might have more luck than the bigger ones.
And this isn’t the only instance where animals have learned how to use transportation. A cat named Macavity regularly took the bus to a fish and chips store. A bus passenger who traveled with Macavity told Daily Mail, “He sat at the front of the bus, waited patiently for the next stop and then got off. It was was quite strange at first but now it just seems normal. I suppose he is the perfect passenger really – he sits quietly, minds his own business and then gets off.”
Another cat named Dodger also learned how to take the bus. His pet guardians found out their kitty liked public transportation when their daughter informed them that one of her friends saw him on the bus. Dodger is such a regular passenger, some people even bring food for him. A spokesman for the bus cheekily told The Telegraph, “Given this cat is elderly we suspect it would be eligible for free travel, perhaps a bus puss, if such a thing existed.”
Ratty, a Jack Russell, would travel five miles to sit with locals at the Black Bull pub and be fed sausages. His traveling adventures were even featured on a TV show.
An article in English Russia details the fascinating new skills these homeless Russian dogs have developed: “Among some more amazing skill those Moscow dogs have are the ability not to miss their stop while going on the subway train.”
Biologists have discovered that dogs have a very acute sense of time, helping them never miss their destination. Another curious skill is their ability to wait and only cross the road at a green light. Moscow scientists believe that this is due to the picture on the traffic sign, rather than its color. The dogs also find time to have fun. Moscow ecologists discovered that the self-reliant strays like jumping on the train seconds before the doors close, putting their tails at risk of being jammed. “They do it for fun,” note the ecologists.