Everyone knows dogs are some of the most intelligent animals on Earth, but the stray canines in Moscow have really impressed scientists with their metro-riding routines. Every day, the dogs living on the outskirts of Russia’s capital jump on the tube all the way to the city center, the best place to scavenge for foods.
During the soviet era, dogs weren’t allowed into subway stations, and since restaurants and fast-food stands were scarce all around Moscow, they had no reason to venture into the city. Most canines preferred to live in the industrial areas, where they searched for food in garbage dumps, or lived on whatever workers threw away. But after the fall of the USSR, the situation changed drastically: their homes on the outskirts of Moscow were taken over by commercial centers and apartment complexes, while restaurants and fast-food carts popped-up downtown. A while ago, I wrote about Cacao, the bus-riding dog of Milan. I thought he was unique, but it appears Moscow strays mastered public transportation years ago.
While food was abundant in the center of Moscow, their home was still in the suburbs, so they needed a way to go where the food was and get back home at night. And what better way than the subway. They noticed they were welcome in the metro stations and at one point figured out they could take the trains to the center. Some experts say they even learned how to work in teams, to make sure they get off at the right stops, by measuring the time they need to spend on the train. The mutts usually choose the least crowded carriages, where they take naps on the empty seats, sniff people’s feet or put their heads on children’s laps and stare directly into their eyes, begging for food.
Once they reach their destination, dogs use all kinds of cunning tactics to fill their stomachs. Some just spend all day lying in front of butcher shops waiting for someone to throw them a bone, while others sneak up behind people and start barking, hoping to startle them so bad that they drop whatever they’re eating. Once on the pavement, the treats belong to them. In te evening, the canines jump back on the subway, and return to their suburb homes, until the following day when they do it all over again.