canines of Russia

It always gets me that the Russians sent a dog up to space as their first kosmonavt. It seems to me that in general Russians are more into cats than dogs, and even love the mangy stray cats that roam around their cities (the Hermitage has a famous troop of strays who do the museum a brave service by catching rats, for instance).  I once watched a bizarre Russian news excerpt that actually praised an old lady for taking about a hundred and forty cats into her tiny home.  There was video footage: in it, a veritable wave of cats surged the door at feeding time, unleashing a crazed collective meow.

I’m not sure about dogs, but I’ve been recently looking for places that I could do volunteer work in Moscow and I stumbled on a website for a dog shelter that’s looking for people to help out.  (As I understand it, dog shelters, like a lot of charitable organizations in Russia, can be impoverished and the conditions can be rough).  Still, the dogs they have there are so beautiful!  You know how every dog in animal shelters in the US is/looks like a pitbull or staffordshire terrier hybrid?  They don’t seems to have those in Russia.  And they give their doggies the cutest names (a handful of dogs–big dogs– at this one place are named Byelka, or “squirrel”).

Anyway I am in love with this doggy Liza:

I wish she were mine.

Okay, enough about dogs.  I’m just getting over a case of the visa blues.  I caved and decided to use an expediting service instead of wasting a day at the consulate in New York.  This is a good thing.  I waited all day yesterday for my letter of invitation and company letter to arrive at my door, and today I took these and my other documents to a counter at the American Airlines office near Grand Central.  Now I’m biding my time hoping they’ll decide to let me in!

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