Monday, December 15, 2008
For the Animal Lovers
Polish people love their animals, an estimated one in three Polish families have a pet. Because most people travel by foot in town, their dogs accompany them everywhere from the store to the post office. Being involved in the daily routine of their owners, the dogs here learn to walk on a leash quickly and obediently. After a time, it is not uncommon to see dogs walk with their owners without a leash. All of the crosswalks here have an alarm that sounds for as long as the light is green. Mainly this is to help the seeing impaired know how much time they have to cross the street. But it has also served to train the dogs. On three or four different occasions, Ginger and I have seen a stray dog wait at the crosswalk with the rest of the people and only cross when the alarm rings. It's quite amazing to watch really.
Because they are used to routine, older dogs are controlled simply by voice commands. The funniest example of routine is of a dog in our building. The dog and the owner are quite old and they live near the top of our building, so when it's time for a bathroom break the owner opens his door and sends the dog downstairs. He then waits until someone lets him out, does his business, and waits for someone to let him in the building again. Being old, he's learned a few tricks and instead of climbing 12 flights back to the top, he waits for someone to open the elevator door and give him a ride to his floor. Fortunately there are a few sympathetic ladies in our building who aid him in his journey back to his apartment.
One tip for visiting Poland, don't walk in the grass. Grass is for the relief of domesticated animals only. Children don't play in the grass because many people view it as something to be viewed rather than something to be tread upon. Besides, it's not worth all the time that it takes to clean your shoes later.