Friday, October 08, 2004

Wild Dogs

There are a lot, and by "a lot" I mean "a shitload" of wild dogs in Baghdad. Most seem friendly enough. They may be feral hounds scrounging meals out of trash and carrion, but they're still dogs, with thousands of years of guided evolution compelling them to run up to humans while wagging their tails. The one useful thing about having them around is that they bark at any biped that moves by. This comes in handy on those late nights spent guarding some god-forsaken intersection next to a disused sewage-filled canal. Even if the guard does zone out a little, no one can approach within one hundred meters without the dogs letting the guard know that something is up. (Not all of my time in Iraq is spent in the grim struggle for survival, on the contray, quite a bit of it is just flat-out dull, like spending the evening watching dozens of insomniac dogs cavort around on a dirt road that leads from the bad end of town to the worse end of town.) Why are all the dogs hanging around us, you might ask? Simple: Americans are nice. Americans like to give out food. Americans don't chase dogs around with sticks. Americans will even pet dogs if the animals don't look completely flea-bitten.