Colombo’s Stray dogs as local landmarks


The daily commute involves passing a few barking landmarks. Though in the morning they are dozing or groggily staggering about. The first we encounter is Mr Road Block. A rather worn looking character who is curled up in the same spot in the middle of our narrow road. Every morning he greets our chariot with a sleepy “do-I-have-to-get-up?” stare. Spousal unit is very partial to woof woofs and obligingly drive around him narrowly escaping the gutter.

Further along, when we take our super secret short cut, we pass a still sleeping pair. They always seem to be within a 3 metre radius of the point we have to turn. Both are inevitably fast asleep. The smaller animal curled up against the big one.

Just before I’m dropped off, there’s the ever growing puppy. Its the only one of our commute dog that are actually awake. We pass it in the middle of some energetic play session. It always seems have some sort of new toy dug up from the rubbish bin.

We take a different route home and pass the T junction dog who lords over the traffic careening by its nose. Its clearly driving home the message that it is not impressed by all this human technology. Just before we get home we have to negotiate with Mr Road Block. Usually in an amiable post dinner mood so its less reluctant to get up and let us pass. Though if we miss this post feed bliss I have to wake him up by flashing the head lights.

The core characters of the commute have a generally mild mannered supporting cast around them but I won’t bore you with cutsie mongrel idiosyncrasies. I’ve been observing them other pariahs about the city and my arm chair conclusion is that they are are a territorial bunch.

They rarely stray from the places they usually hang out. Perhaps out because there is a regular food source at hand (bril-li-ent noh?). Mr Road Block and pals I know for sure are fed by one of the houses down the road. Which may explain the untouched rubbish bags and unconcerned curled tails. I’m sure there’s an opportunity for a grant from some European government to dig out the specifics of the inevitable nuanced facts.

Thankfully I haven’t been given directions to anywhere with a local dog as a landmark (turn left by the sleeping beige and white dog…). Have to admit though that I nearly did so myself. Luckily I caught myself so no one will ever know ;).

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7 thoughts on “Colombo’s Stray dogs as local landmarks

  1. Hee hee… that’s so funny! When I was a kid we had ‘achcharu’ that slept right in the middle of the road leading to our house in the mornings and ‘chutney’ that chased the car from the bottom of the lane all the way to the main road.

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  2. Great, nice to read notes from another ‘dog observer’. And why do some ONLY ever move off the road when you blow your horn?

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  3. Nice post. Next time some one asks me for directions I must give a dogs reference. Like you wrote… Turn right after ‘Kalu’a nd left after ‘Traffic.

    Had written something on a stray called Traffic who must have been a traffic policeman in his earlier life and sits right in the middle of the road near a prominent landmark called Fountain in Mumbai. He is loved by the traffic police. Here is the link :

    http://strayingaround.blogspot.com/2007/01/traffic.html

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  4. Abodh Thank you for that link 🙂 Hope you don’t lead people astray with those woof woof directions 😉

    Dominic : My theory is that the tarmac stays warm when its cooler at night. Must be quite comfortable for the canines. Thankfully Mr Road Block is “with it” to get off the road when I flash the head lights so I don’t have to wake the neighbours.

    EnTRpy: Sounds like a pretty territorial character. Interestingly I’ve yet to come across Colombo dogs who are very aggressive. The dogs in the Dambula temple car park by contrast is very rough bunch. A whole pack of them barked and barked at out car and chased it almost to Dambulla town.

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