There is a very funny scene in the movie Zarf Tarek when Tarek (Ahmed Helmy) finds a dog on top of his car. He throws rocks (not recommended) at it trying to get it to move, but ultimately ends up smashing all the windows. Finding dogs on top of cars is common in Cairo. Not so funny when it is your car. Fortunately, this is not my car.
Street dogs are a big problem in Cairo (and all of Egypt for that matter). They congregate in packs sleeping all day so they can stay up all night and bark. I have a friend who lives in Zahraa with a big empty lot next to her apartment. Every night there are anywhere from 15 to 20 dogs barking all night long. This was never much of a problem in Old Maadi until about a month ago. Now there is a pack of street dogs who have taken over an abandoned villa on Road 14. The barking at night is not the only thing that concerns me about this. A few nights ago, my husband and I were taking our dog for a walk, and the dogs came charging at us as we walked past their territory. My Rottie looks really mean but she is a big chicken and was once attacked by a stray back in the States. She pulled me in the other direction as my husband chased away the dogs. I have walked by them many times by myself, and they never seem to go after people.
It is already hard enough having a pet in Cairo. There are so many hazards on the streets. For one, the piles of trash. My dog would love to go and explore around in them. I had heard that people sometimes put poisoned food on the street to get rid of stray cats and dogs. I watch her very carefully when we are out to make sure she does not pick anything up. Cats are another problem when you have a dog who loves to chase cats like mine does. Cats are constantly running out from under cars. Traffic is a huge hazard also when walking a dog. Old Maadi has very narrow streets and cars often park on both sides leaving only one narrow passageway for cars to pass through. With no sidewalks, I often find myself having to quickly duck between two parked cars when a car goes flying by.
I knew my dog's life would be drastically different here in Cairo. Back home she had a fenced in yard to run freely in. But even with all the stress associated with taking her for walks, I would not change my decision to bring her with me. And Old Maadi is still one of the best neighborhoods to live in if you have a dog.
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