How homeless people feed their dogs
The fear of the stray dogs
Adoptable, stray dogs don't stand a chance in rich countries like Germany. Whether abandoned or escaped: after two or three days they are caught again and interned in the animal shelter. In other words: In this country, most of the feral dogs only know from films or books. However, that changes as soon as you leave the densely populated affluent regions of the north. Then stray dogs are part of everyday life again. The idea for his book "A dead dog in the after" came to the French writer Jean Rolin when he was doing research in former Yugoslavia during the war. In deserted Sarajevo, he heard the howling of stray dogs at night, which often appeared in packs.
"The stray dog is a kind of indicator of extreme, acute crisis situations: for example, in war, when people are driven from their homes, when cities are bombed, when the population is on the run. But sometimes less dramatic situations are sufficient, such as one Regime change like after the end of the Soviet Union. The visibility of stray dogs, their number and arrogance say a lot. The more critical the condition of people, of human society, the more comfortable they feel. The visibility of stray dogs is a sign of that Strife among the people. "
Jean Rolin has observed the phenomenon over many years in very different places around the world: For example in Turkmenistan, where today more and more women are in charge of the family and no longer let their unemployed husbands in when they come home drunk - what is life-threatening because of the increasing number of aggressive dog packs. Or in Australia along the 5400 kilometer long fence with which the wool industry wants to protect its herds from the wild dingoes. Or in Bangkok, where dog-loving Buddhists are at odds with Muslims, who prefer to poison street dogs.
In any case: With his reports, Jean Rolin not only gives us insights from the edges of the world, as the subtitle of the German edition suggests.
"In this context, I also visited countries that were not in an acute crisis situation: for example Chile, where the general situation was just improving significantly. Nevertheless, stray dogs were still very present there, especially in the poor, but also in the chiquen neighborhoods. One of two times I was attacked by stray dogs there was right in front of the Palacio de La Maneda, the presidential palace in Santiago de Chile. "
In his report volume "Eine toten Hund nach him" (A dead dog after him), Jean Rolin impresses on the one hand with his precise prose and his sober gift of observation, which manages without artificial dramatization; on the other hand through his sometimes dry and laconic, sometimes sarcastic humor. In addition - which is not surprising after 15 books, some of which have won awards - his extensive literary education.
"The structure of the book follows more of a coincidence and not exactly the chronology of my travels on this topic. And, to be honest, I had to do a lot of research in advance, almost like a scientist: especially about the stray dog in world literature, whereby I I asked a lot of people for advice. At the beginning of course there are the "Iliad" and the Bible, the two texts that founded our culture. The stray dog already appears - as a curse of course, especially in connection with the dead who do not were buried, which, as everyone knows, was anathema to Jews and Greeks. Dying is acceptable. Not to be buried, but not. For the unburied become the prey of stray dogs. "
Own observations, quotes from literary works, statistical references, theses from scientific studies: Jean Rolin interlinks all of this in his book "A dead dog after him" into a highly informative, exciting puzzle about the phenomenon of "stray dogs". Horrible things from war zones stand next to touching things when residents feed the wild animals or homeless people fraternize with them. There is a reason for the unrest that Jean Rolin indirectly but permanently stirs up in the reader. Because when you read it, you inevitably ask yourself: Is it conceivable that our domesticated, beloved four-legged friends could become uncomfortable again with us? Because as soon as their bowls are not filled regularly, as this book clearly shows, their appetite for human flesh inevitably increases.
Jean Rolin: "A dead dog after him. Report from the edges of the world", translated from the French by Holger Fock and Sabine Müller, Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2012, 254 pages, price: 24.99 euros
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