Among the things we learned in Greece recently was that stray dogs and cats are ubiquitous. In the few major cities and all tourist sites, seemingly healthy and clearly well fed furry things lounge and beg.
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There are ways and ways of viewing public-pet reality. Here’s one writer’s thoughts close to mine. The Friends of the Strays of Greece sees anguish and death for them. In fact, in rural areas where stray dogs may be kept as hunting animals, then discarded, street life is not good.
What we experienced was the public-pet picture. Many tavernas and other eateries had a resident dog. It would bask and nap in the sun on the paving stones.Various people would speak to, pet and feed the dog.
Where we saw cats was mostly at tourist sites and mostly outside of large cities. They and they dogs seemed to keep their distance. Tourists would feed them. The cats were much more cautious than the dogs.
I thought of how different Athenians are from Parisians. Both love dogs, but deal with them very unlike the other.
Parisians clearly own their dogs and take them home, as well as everywhere they go. That includes groceries, bars and all kinds of restaurants. That extends beyond Paris too. I recall a meal at Scorlion in Saint-Jean-d’Angély near Cognac. A well-dressed elderly woman parked a pair of primary-school aged boys, likely grandsons, on the patio outside. She brought her dog in and they dined while the boys waited outside for a couple of hours.
…and the poop…
Right up with Parisians’ disdain for anyone who speaks what they consider imperfect French, is having to experience dog feces. The smell permeates the city and one has to be constantly careful where shoes go. This seems peculiar in a city and nation that has so many virtues and joys. Let us remember that the revolutionary call liberté,égalité,fraternité did not add considération.
Greeks on the other hand seem to clean up after their dogs. Walks through towns or country did not include assaults on the nose or shoe. Perhaps a country that prides itself on founding democracy should tend to the commonweal. Arf,