Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Animal Observations

While I cannot say that Tel Aviv is my favorite city, neither is it overly depressing for me to make a foray into it.  This is quite fortunate, because as matters currently stand, I will have ample occasion to make forays into that city on more than an infrequent basis for the next few weeks if not months.  Not too difficult, inasmuch as there is a bus about 2 blocks from my apartment that takes me to another bus which, in turn, takes to my choice of a few relatively convenient locations in Tel Aviv.  Today's bus ride dropped me off across the street from the building in which my first appointment was held; the next appointment (which may or may not turn into a short gig) was a 10-minute walk away.

I have been using my running workouts to familiarize myself with the town where my wife and I now live.  Between them and my perambulations elsewhere (including but not limited to Tel Aviv), I have had the opportunity to observe certain animal life in the Land of Israel.

First of all, there are lots of pet supply stores.  In my town, I counted 6 in a 5-block radius.  People love their pets here.

Compared to the USA, there are greater numbers of feral cats in urban areas.  These felines, while not at all obnoxious, do seem to have a certain sense of entitlement; it is as though they know that they are in a special Holy Land.  There is a feline family around my apartment building, and there is at least one neighbor in the next building over who has made it her business to leave healthy nutritious snacks for the cats.

On the other hand, neither my town, nor Tel Aviv, nor the Holy City of Jerusalem seems to have quite the rat infestation problems that have long been the norm in New York, whether urban or suburban or rural.  Perhaps the cats have something to do with it.

The dogs also seem to have a certain discipline not typically encountered in the USA.  They tend to mind their own business.  When I go for my workout runs and pass a dog being taken for a walk, the dog tends to ignore me (though there have been a few exceptions).  They rarely bark at strangers on the street, and rarely try to aggressively insert themselves between their masters and strangers.

But then, again, the people on the streets seem to be less aggressive towards one another, at least in the established residential areas.  It is well known that dogs tend to assume their masters' attitudes and values (albeit from the canine perspective, which can differ considerably from the human perspective).  The dog owners walking their pets probably feel quite secure on the streets, so they do not proactively confront passers-by, so neither do their dogs.

But knowing something about the Israeli mentality, I do believe that the dogs' behavior would be remarkably different if their owners felt insecure in any given situation.  And I do believe that the dogs, like their owners (many of whom have done military reserve duty), are quite capable of mobilizing for active defense if they ever were to perceive a threat to their masters' security.

This is all personal conjecture.  If such conjecture is ever validated, be assured that I will validate it as a spectator and not as a participant.

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