The real reason I travel is not for the sites, culture or any spiritual nonsense, no – I travel the world so i can report on the cats and dogs I meet along the way. I have written glowingly of the venerable Tel Aviv dog, the complexities of the Siberian canine, and the belligerence of the Jerusalem cat.

Recently, I came into contact with the Bucharest Canine. The Bucharest canine is an embattled creature – they are born in to abject poverty, they will die in abject poverty. Their innings at the crease is an arduous one, city life offers them little respite. Many are forced to rely on the welfare system for survival, hand outs from the humans who are more well off than them. They are often accused of being benefit scrounges, a menace to society, ‘Why don’t you get a job serving your owner in a family ┬áhome?!’, the humans cry. ‘Woof woof, who will have us?! Woof!’ they bark back. ‘We are reviled by your kind, woof! I offer no apology for my existence, it is you who should apologise to me, for you have demeaned a noble dog, woof!’. This is the great tragedy of the Bucharest canine, there is simply no demand for their services. They would be worthy members of any Romanian household, arguably as worthy as any domesticated dog, but no-one will employ them. Such is their plight, that simply to offer the Bucharest canine food, is to be condemned by the humans. ‘Don’t feed the Bucharest dog, they’re scum!’. ‘They’re worthy’, I yell back, ‘we’re all worthy!’, fist raised, as I offer my burger to the grateful Bucharest Shepard.

Despite the odds, they are among the worlds great survivors. They offer fierce resistance to the prejudice of their human nemesis, they refuse to lay down and die. While some are forced to rely on handouts, others have turned militant, and hunt for their food. Many are quite shapely in appearance – evidence of their accomplished skills in hunting and gathering. They have immaculate coats, big smiles and a bouncy walking style, you could even say… they look domesticated. They are the independent dogs, those who could get a spot in a home, but choose to retain their independence, albeit for less personal wealth. Not only have these dogs learnt to accept their independence, they’re fiercely proud of it. They look on at the domestic dog in disgust, ‘Yes master, yes master, I’ll sit, I’ll stand, I’ll fetch, yes master’. Pathetic! Nothing more than pampered middle class primadonas, you wouldn’t survive 5 minutes on the streets of Bucharest!’

The Bucharest canine is intelligent. They understand that they are all capable of surviving alone, but together they can achieve more. They share their food, they share their territory, they walk the streets in groups, they never fight. They’re all in it together, and they’re spirits are high. A purebred will share food with a mixed-breed, a well fed black dog will share his wealth with a skinny orange dog. They are blind to fur colour and breed. They trust each other. For these reasons, they will live long. In this respect, the humans have a lot to learn from the politics of the Bucharest canine, ‘Woof, we look out for each other, woof, unlike your world, woof!’

The Bucharest canine, respect.