Interesting thing. But first, I will make sure that you know- the private blog for Ana's adoption is now public, so if you wanted to catch up on everything and didn't have access you can do so now. I will probably mostly post here now. It's easier to just have one blog to think about and log in to. You can get there by clicking here.
So, back to that interesting thing. There are lots of dogs wandering the streets here. You may or may not know that, I had personally heard about it before our arrival. Seeing is a little different, but not all that surprising. The dogs form small packs and spend their time around the people, but don't interact with the people at all. It's almost like there are two different worlds existing next to each other, but they don't acknowledge that the other exists.
On our daily 20 minute walk that we were making four times a day, there and back for two visits, we saw quite a few dogs. We would often pay attention to the dogs that hang out by the market we walk by that is just across the street from our apartment. There are two dogs that tend to be near the entrance to the market and sit near a fish vendor. Every morning when we are walking by, about 10:15 am, the fish vendor is pulling up to the sidewalk and opening up the back of his van. The back door pops up like a roof and he puts a tarp to make a side of protection. He sets up a scale, then brings out a bin of live fish. I wouldn't call them lively by any means, but they are alive...splish splashing around every now and again. Sometimes this dog will get fish heads or other tasty treats from the vendor. Other times women from inside will give the two dogs bones from the meat they have been cutting and selling. (I wouldn't buy meat here...most of it is not held to the standards that I would require for my meat.)
We also frequent a pizza place. When we first walked in we asked for an "English menu" and they had one (which we learned from our friend Ellen in Kyiv). They are quite kind and easy to buy food from, so we go most days. Oh...and did I mention they are cheap? Well, we get two individual pizzas and two bottles of soda for what would equal about $5 total. There are a couple of dogs outside the pizza place that we see regularly. They seem to get bones once in awhile from random people and then sleep around the buildings curling up. The people don't exist to them unless they have food for them or initiate interaction.
At night, something changes. In the late evening we start to hear the dogs bark and howl. It sounds as though they are in large groups at this point with many dogs. During the day we only see two to three at a time, but at night...at night they sound like very large groups. Something will set them off and they bark and bark running around. This was all interpreted by sound.
Yesterday morning our dog sounds seemed to migrate to our apartment complex. I started to hear them outside barking. They were very loud and sounded like they were in "attack mode", so I decided to look outside the window to see what this nighttime dog pack looked like. We had heard them nearly every night, but had never had them close enough to see.
I kind of wish they had stayed far away. I looked out the window to see a man in his car trying to get out of the complex. His car was surrounded by 8 or so dogs, barking and howling at him. They wouldn't let up and were really "attacking" his car! After some time, he turned off his car and just sat there waiting. He couldn't very well get out... Then he was saved. Another man went to his car and started it up. As you can imagine, a running car is more interesting than one that is sitting there doing nothing, so they ran over to the new car and barked at their new target. First man then started up his car and got out of there quickly. I don't know the talents of the second driver, but somehow he wasn't stuck long. He didn't even seem to be caught up by the dogs in the slightest bit. Later I saw this group around people and I was quite nervous about leaving our apartment to walk to see Ana. I am NOT an animal person most of the time, though we have a cat and dog at home. And I am NOT okay with wild packs of dogs surrounding me as you can imagine.
The time came for us to leave, and fortunately the dogs had gone off to another location for the time being. We got to the orphanage safely, albeit freezing nearly to death. (Which reminds me to tell you that it's been very cold here and we have only been visiting Ana in the morning because the snow is too bad for our driver at night, and way too cold for walking.) Walking home was no piece of cake either, but we got here and made it inside because of an old man's kindness. His kindness to the dogs...which became kindness to us even if he didn't know it. As we slyly walked in to the parking area, he was walking away from us with a bag full of bones for the dogs. I think he was leading them somewhere else. We were sneaking inside without any attention from the dogs and it seems that our old man friend had a good plan because I haven't heard them so close since then.
So, all that to tell you they have some interesting dogs in Ukraine. I was not scared of them at all until we saw the large pack of them that chases people down, but to be fair most of the dogs have been much different than those. If you visit, don't be surprised if you encounter something like either type of these dogs. Nice ones or not, you are sure to encounter wild dogs of some kind.
1 month ago