More on how dogs adapt to challenges in their lives.
(As readers picked up from my closing comment in yesterday’s part of this story, technology has rather interfered with events. ‘Touch wood’ things appear to be back to normal!)
Yesterday’s article (thanks to Paul Gilding for the link) was about the stray dogs in Moscow. Before musing on the more general nature of how dogs survive as strays, there is a video on YouTube about these Muscovite dogs. Just over 7 minutes long, it further underlines the amazing adaptability of the domesticated dog when thrust into self-survival.
As regular readers of Learning from Dogs will know, before Jean and I met, Jean had spent a large part of her life rescuing dogs in the San Carlos area of Mexico, much of that with Suzann (who was instrumental in Jean and me meeting!). Indeed, when Jean and I moved up to Payson in February, 2010 we had with us, much to the amusement of the American border staff at the Nogales crossing, 12 dogs and 6 cats, all rescues except my German Shepherd dog, Pharaoh.
So Jean has lots of stories about how the far-too-many stray dogs in San Carlos developed strategies for staying alive. Dhalia, see story below, shows her feral habits when we go out for a walk in the forest by constantly looking for food, despite the fact that she is a well-fed, happy and contented dog. Jean recounts finding Dhalia,
It was in 2005, about three months after Ben died (Jean’s husband). I was driving out to the small Mexican fishing port of La Manga where there were many stray dogs. The aim was to feed them on a regular basis and hope that they would become sufficiently comfortable with my presence so that they could be caught, so that they may be spayed or neutered and then offered for adoption.
On the way there, I drove past a couple of dogs running alongside the highway. Dogs frequently did this looking for ‘road-kill’ that they could feed on. I stopped the car wanting to put out some food and water.
One of the dogs was so feral that it immediately took off into the bush. I turned around and the other dog was standing about ten feet away. It was cadaverous and obviously suffering from mange but cautiously came up to the food, sniffed carefully and then started to eat. That dog allowed me to pick it up and then sat quietly with me on the front seat of the car while I continued to La Manga. It sense immediately that it was safe and from that day has remained with me. I named her Dhalia.
Fast forward to today. Dhalia is one of Pharaoh’s group of dogs and is a sweet and loving animal.