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The Entertainers

This is Bella aka Big Dog. She's the boss. So laid back she's horizontal.

Then there's Dougal - named for Father Dougal McGuire. Like Father Dougal he's excitable and a bit thick, even if he is behaving himself in these pictures.

And this is Sampras: "Well... you know, rabbits, tennis, you know that whole connection there." (Father Dougal McGuire)

This is Rusty - because he is a sort of rusty colour.

And, finally, in a rare display of enthusiasm Bella returns with Rusty after chasing a car. I tried to get them to chase a stick but they were having none of it.

Comments

ITS said…
Those are some good pooches. Did you unoficcially adpot them? If you slightly pay attention/feed them, they will never leave you alone.

They don't seem in such bad shape for street dogs either.
Milena said…
They're so cute!
I have a question about that: Are there plenty of street dogs in Tirana as before or their number has been reduced lately (as a consequence of deciding to kill them)?
ourmanintirana said…
Hi ITS. We thought about adopting one of them but they tend to hang around as a group so we decided it wouldn't be fair to take one away, and we certainly didn't want to look after four of them.

We try not to over-indulge them so they don't hang around too much. Generally it's okay but sometimes they can be a bit of a pain - like this morning when my wife dragged me out of bed at 7.10 to drag them away from our gate so that she could get the car out to go to work.

And they seem to be in good health - cold, wet noses and shiny, thick fur. Some of the other dogs look pretty bad so I don't know why these one seem to be doing better.

If there are any rich eccentrics out there, how about building a luxury dog shelter in Tirana?

Milena - there haven't been any culls of the dogs in Tirana since we got here so I don't have anything to compare it to. Our area tends to have a lot of dogs since we are near the park, but there are not that many once you get into the busier areas.

Also more people seem to be owning dogs as pets - or possibly for security purposes. There is a little pet shop near us that always has a few puppies for sale.

We wouldn't like 'our dogs' to be destroyed. Certainly, if we knew they were going to be shot we would take them into our yard. But as far as I can tell, three of the four are already neutered/speyed so they are not going to be reproducing as as long as they don't turn vicious there would be no good reason to put them down. And we would probably be happy to pay to have the fourth one done.

I think this is really the only humane solution to the problem of the dogs. If there are some that are old or sick or aggressive then they should be destroyed humanely. Those that are healthy and passive should be neutered and left alone.

Like I said in an earlier post, the dogs do a good job of cleaning up some of the garbage and they keep the rat population down. In a city with a restricted garbage collection system and a lot of standing water rats are a serious problem. We see them regularly and if it weren't for the dogs I think we would see a lot more.
Milena said…
I totally agree with you alwyn, it's so cruel to kill them. The best thing we can do is to neuter them. I asked you that question since a couple of months ago I've seen a special report on TV (I live in Italy) that was talking about the street dogs of Tirana and the decision to destroy them. They also showed some dogs that were thrown on a vehicle in a cruel way and transported away to get shot. That seemed terrible to me and so I asked you if that happened to all the dogs. I'm glad it didn't. I hope they won't do a thing like that anymore..
traveller one said…
Gorgeous photos of the dogs! We used to live in Romania where there were sooooo many street dogs- the estimate was a quarter of a MILLION! It was such a huge problem because they were often very viscious, having been attacked by stick carrying gypsies many times. We'd sometimes hear that they were rounded up and taken out to the countryside and abandoned, or taken and sterilised and given red collars, or just taken and shot. It's really a very sad situation.
I noticed in Tirana that Albanians dismiss the dogs as 'dirty'. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but they always say my dog is good because she's 'clean'. Seems like a weird say to judge poor little dogs.
ITS said…
Traveller One,

It's so nice to see that you are "active" again :D

Well by dirty they mean they are stray dogs. They go through garbage, and nobody knows what kind of disease they carry.

The ones that are clean have an owner who makes sure they get fed and washed, taken to the vet appropriately.

------

Alywn,

I have a better idea. How about adopting an Albanian orphan while you are there? :)
ourmanintirana said…
Yes - the solution to the problem is fairly straightforward, but then again, it's not the biggest problem facing the city or the country. I suppose with so many challenges facing the city, it is just easier to pay for a bullet than to pay for a vet to treat the dogs, or to pay for them to be kept while homes are found.

At some point they will have to do something again since the dogs that have not been treated are doing what dogs do, but I hope that someone will come up with the resources to deal the problem humanely.

ITS - sponsorship yes; adoption no. I'm reluctant to take on a dog, never mind a child.

Some do though. I met a Canadian guy the other day who is thinking about adopting a 13 year old boy - a nice kid from the brief conversation I had, but a real challenge. Good luck to them both.

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Whimper

And now the end is near
and so i face nanananana...

Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog - especially those of you who have become regulars. Thanks also for linking and thanks to all who left comments.

As for the other stars of the blog, Bella now has her own …