In the back garden of a historic house, a sleepy pooch sported a metal strip about the size of a jumbo bobby pin on its ear. Why? When Bulgarian dog catchers nab a stray, they neuter it, tag it, and release it back onto the street. We watched two of these mutts work a lock as our ship passed through. Trotting alongside, they waved their tails and greeted the boat so eagerly, my heart ached to feed them or at least scratch behind an ear. The six homeless fellers bedded down around our Black Sea port suggest that Romania’s policy must be similar.
Is it kinder to put homeless dogs in cages as we do in the USA, or could they be better off on the street? The mutts we’ve seen certainly look content (when not wheedling cruise ships). They also have more opportunity to wriggle their way into hearts and homes when out amongst us. They certainly add warmth and character to neighborhoods, especially for pet-deprived travelers like us.