Dogs in the City

Dogs Chilling in Istanbul

Not being a dog person, I have been fascinated by different dog behaviors and treatment that I have seen in traveling.  In New York City, I was surprised to see people bring their pet dogs onto public transit, both on the metro and on the bus.  I wasn’t sure if this behavior was like eating on the buses in Pittsburgh–it’s not permitted, yet people do it anyway–or if pets are allowed on public transportation in NYC.  It also seemed unusual to me that most of the dogs I saw were small.  But then, thinking it through, I decided it made sense as if you live in a stereotypical tiny New York apartment, you wouldn’t have the space to keep a big dog.

In Pittsburgh, dogs seem to be more like what you would find in suburban areas.  They are often big and they tend to bark a lot and strain toward people they pass on the street.  After coming back from New York City, I realized that you don’t see dogs in downtown Pittsburgh.  However, as more people have moved downtown, dogs on the streets downtown have become much more common.  Including ones that are pushed around in what look like baby strollers, but given how some people feel about pets, they might have been strollers designed for dogs.

Istanbul dogs were quite different from the average dog in America.  I believe most of them were strays, but they appeared to be quite self-sufficient (such as the ones in the photo above).  They minded their own business and let everyone around go about their business.  It was quite refreshing to me to see numerous dogs that did not feel the need to bark their heads off just because someone was walking by.  I regret that I did not get a picture of the most notable dog I passed.  He had a human companion, but no leash, instead he was decked out in sunglasses and other bling like mardi gras beads.

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Mural of Weeds

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I love this mural.  It was put up two years ago along one of the worst stretches of the trail along the Allegheny River.  This is in downtown Pittsburgh, feet away from The Point, and yet it is a barren wasteland of concrete.  Next to one highway ramp and underneath another, the only good features are the river and the view to the north side where the trail has many features and improvements including the well-loved water steps.

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For me, this mural by Kim Beck is aptly named Adjutant, the non-military definition of which is “one who helps” according to Merriam-Webster.  While this stretch of trail is still a wasteland of concrete and weeds (which the mural accurately depicts), it is no longer a creepy section of trail to be hurried through as fast as possible.  Somehow by acknowledging the barrenness, the mural has taken away the edge.

The deadline has just passed on a call for ideas for a new installation at this location, but I am torn about this call.  While it would be nice to have this section of trail feel more connected with the rest of the trail, a part of me is going to miss the honesty of this mural of weeds.