Pajama Press

Rob Laidlaw’s Dog Tales: Subway Dogs

Posted on July 9th, 2012 by pajamapress

Welcome to Dog Tales, a series where author and animal advocate Rob Laidlaw shares stories and facts from his travels and work in dog advocacy.

Subway dogs editDuring the past year I’ve come across numerous articles about some amazing dogs in Russia. Apparently there are about 35, 000 stray dogs in the City of Moscow and 500 of them have learned to use the subway system. My guess is that the cold Moscow winters forced the dogs to find shelter and the subway system, being underground, was a great escape from the cold. Well that’s pretty smart, but what’s even more amazing is that about 50 dogs have learned to use the trains. They hop on in the morning—usually on the front or rear car because they’re the least busy—and then take the train downtown. They get off at their stop, go up to the surface, forage for food and then repeat the travel process in reverse later in the day. Essentially they commute to work. No one knows who was the first commuting dog or how they learned to recognize the stops, but it’s thought that they might know how long it takes to get to a particular stop or they may be triggered to get off by an odour or sound that is specific to certain stations. No matter how they do this, it’s pretty amazing. I don’t think we give dogs (or other animals) enough credit. They’re usually much smarter than we think.