I think that every Romanian should own a shirt from Big Dogs. Because Romanians like big dogz. Not Beethoven big, but Cujo big. The kind of big that connotes scary, nasty, could-kill-you-in-one-bite big. You know how in America if a person has four pit bulls and a Rottweiler they’re likely to be a bit psychotic or maybe a skosh… aggressive? Well here, if you don’t have at least one dog that is as scary as four pit bulls and an extra one for good measure, you are unwise. Apparently. Because, I kid you not, everyone who has a house has a dog that would make mince meat out of me if given the opportunity. And in fact, when people leave their massively huge gates (which everyone has) open, which happens on occasion, said scary dog does in fact have the opportunity to make me mince meat. This makes walking around Iasi, how shall I say, kind of like an episode of 24. You just never know what will happen. Will your favorite character just get shot dead completely out of the blue, or will the writers toy with us and just make us think he/she will die and keep us on the edge of our seats? Or will they live to see another day, and therefore another season? You just don’t know.*
Then there are the stray dogs. Which are equal or more in number than the dogs owned by individuals. Only these ones aren’t behind any fences, so they are free to attack at will. Thankfully most of them are quite skittish, and if you motion like you’re bending down to pick up a rock, they will usually run. But if you’re naïve like me, then in your first month you will see a dog that appears to be friendly (tail wagging, ears up, the whole deal) and happens to have one very blue and one very brown eye. And you will pull out your camera to take a picture of this curious creature, and only after doing so will the dog decide that you have stolen its soul and it thus needs to come to violently retrieve it. This probably seems fair in the dog’s mind but is quite shocking to you. So you yell loudly and frighten the poor creature back to its senses then quickly depart. Needless to say, I don’t interact with stray dogs anymore. Though it does pain me not to pet the cutey patootey puppies that have suddenly appeared everywhere, even though I know that their mom is likely lurking nearby ready to attack. I take my pictures from afar now…
It’s quite disarming to be attacked by one of the house dogs though, because they are raised as guard dogs. They are not skittish, no sir-ee! In the daytime it’s usually fine, but when you’re walking in the dark, you can’t exactly see if a fence door is open and a crazy Cujo is lurking behind ready to attack you for daring to walk by on the sidewalk. This did in fact happened to me while walking with Luci one evening (6pm), and it was not so excellent. Since a person typically can’t outrun a dog, the best method is to stand up straight, look the dog in the eye and sceam “NOOOO!” as loud as possible in the deepest voice you can muster. Not so easy when Cujo is running straight at you. I managed to do so and the dog stopped briefly, but thankfully the owner was within ear shot and called off the dog before he had time to regroup. This time.
Needless to say, I basically look at every dog with skepticism now. Which is definitely hard for a girl who loves dogs. A lot. But so it goes. Here are a few pictures of the many many Big Dogz of Iasi:
Oh how I love Shaggy. He lives at the house next to Dave and Erin. His bark is terrifying, but I think he might just be old and senile
*Ok mom, it’s not really as intense as the suspense of 24. Don’t worry, I won’t be calling home anytime soon from the hospital to tell you about massive flesh wounds.