Two animal/transit notes:
Russian dogs riding the trains: There have long been packs of stray dogs in Moscow’s Metro, but a couple of them have learned to ride the trains – and do so for fun, apparently. (hat tip – Human Transit, Andrew Sullivan)
Neuronov says there are some 500 strays that live in the metro stations, especially during the colder months, but only about 20 have learned how to ride the trains. This happened gradually, first as a way to broaden their territory. Later, it became a way of life. “Why should they go by foot if they can move around by public transport?” he asks.
“They orient themselves in a number of ways,” Neuronov adds. “They figure out where they are by smell, by recognising the name of the station from the recorded announcer’s voice and by time intervals. If, for example, you come every Monday and feed a dog, that dog will know when it’s Monday and the hour to expect you, based on their sense of time intervals from their biological clocks.”
The metro dog also has uncannily good instincts about people, happily greeting kindly passers by, but slinking down the furthest escalator to avoid the intolerant older women who oversee the metro’s electronic turnstiles. “Right outside this metro,” says Neuronov, gesturing toward Frunzenskaya station, a short distance from the park where we were speaking, “a black dog sleeps on a mat. He’s called Malish. And this is what I saw one day: a bowl of freshly ground beef set before him, and slowly, and ever so lazily, he scooped it up with his tongue while lying down.”
Much more over at English Russia:
The commercial revolution of Moscow made their usual feeding places like trash bins out of direct reach, so they had to get to know new ways of getting their piece of food. That’s how appeared those “Shawarma hunts”. Sometimes though they use more gentle methods. Young girl sits on the bench to eat her hot dog – a big cute looking dog appears from the surrounding bushes and puts her head on her knees. The girl can’t help herself sharing the hotdog with a dog.
Among some more amazing skill those Moscow dogs are the ability not to miss their stop while going on the subway train. Biologists say dogs have very nice sense of time which helps them not to miss their destination. Another skill they have is to cross the road on the green traffic light. “They don’t react on color, but on the picture they see on the traffic light”,Moscow scientist tells. Also they choose often the last or the first metro car – those are less crowded usually.
And they’re savvy subway travelers, at that.
Sadly, Casper the bus-riding Cat was killed in a hit-and-run incident in Plymouth. Casper liked to ride the bus, commuting with all the regular folks and even waiting politely in line to hop on. (hat tip – GGW)
The adventurous cat politely queues behind other passengers at the bus stop outside his Barne Barton home, then quietly trots on board and curls up on a seat for the ride.
Susan found out about Casper’s regular 11-mile round trips when he followed her to the bus stop one morning, avoiding passing vehicles by a whisker.
“The driver told me he gets on all the time,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.
“He queues up in line with people and just sits patiently in the queue good as gold – it’ll be ‘Person, person, person, cat, person, person.’