Like human commuters, this city's stray dogs can often be spotted traveling on the subway, waiting patiently for a train to pull in and its doors to slide open.
In Soviet times, dogs were barred from Moscow's metro. Today, however, they are so common there -- curling up on empty seats, nuzzling their neighbors, lounging in stations -- that there is even a Web site devoted to them: www.metrodog.ru.
A tiny group of zoologists study Moscow's stray dogs and how they're adapting to a rapidly changing city. Among them is Alexei Vereshchagin. He set out to study wolves -- "such a romantic creature," he says -- but as science funding crumbled with the Soviet government, he couldn't.
So the 31-year-old, rust-bearded Mr. Vereshchagin started studying strays instead, and loved it. "The behavior of stray dogs is like theater," he says.
As the number of cars in Moscow has exploded, and their speed increased from the days of Soviet clunkers, strays have learned to cross the street with pedestrians. They can also be seen occasionally waiting for a green light. (Dogs are colorblind, so researchers theorize they recognize the shape or position of the walking-man signal.)
ostatak teksta Marka Schoofsa iz Wall Street Journala