When going out for their daily walk, not all dogs have, as their primary objective the desire to run, explore and take care of their bodily needs. For mine, the real goal is to find food, because (to put it in simple terms) he is a greedy glutton. Systematically he eats bread left for the birds and not just the crumbs, the whole stale loaf. This is because in Russia, throwing bread away is a sin so it is left in the parks mainly for the benefit of pigeons. He is proving to be exceptional as well at taking freshly caught fish from the basket of fishermen.
Once, free from leash and muzzle, he stole a snack from the hands of a child. And not just any snack, a croissant from Volkonsky bakery at the corner of the park, a confectionery jewel, which sells French delicacies – chic and expensive. The child was with his grandmother, the babushka; I was instantly petrified. In Russia babushka is an undisputed authority, especially in the moral field. After a moment’s thought, I grabbed the dog and began to teach him not to do it again, but also to show to the babushka that I was performing my moral duty by punishing the bad dog, who had stolen the snack from her nephew. I thought I was safe. It took just a few seconds for the babushka to order me to stop, telling me off and informing me that dogs should never be beaten and should definitely never be blamed. I learned the lesson.
Another time walking off-leash, (dog not me) he stole a sandwich from a homeless person. I was shocked, unable to react. Instead a man who was passing by took care of it. He grabbed my dog and took it out of his mouth. He looked at me and told me: “You should be careful; these foods can be harmful to your dog’s health!” Strangely enough, the homeless man was agreeing with him! When I offered money for the sandwich, he rejected it. This made me feel even worse.
This morning, my dog tried to snatch a morsel of a Volkonsky pastry with cream and raspberries from a beautiful little girl, sitting on a bench with her mother. But he was on a leash, for once, and so I was able to avoid the disaster. Satisfied with myself, I moved away, while the mother of the little girl started to chase me, wanting to give the dog, (but only with my permission), half of the pastry. I replied: “Thank you, but it’s not good for him.” Strange life isn’t it?
The moral is: Russians adore dogs to the point of taking the food out of their mouth for them.