WTF Wednesday: the dogs of Sofia

Posted on
Jan 12, 2011
Posted in: City Guide, WTF

I forgot to note something in my last post about Bulgaria. I discussed the good and the bad, but I seemed to have skipped over something.

Namely, the weird.

Because one of the strangest, and most disconcerting things about Sofia was the packs of wild dogs that roam through the city.


Seen roaming around the main shopping district of Sofia.

I bet you think I’m joking, right? She can’t possibly be serious, you think, as you rush to do a Google search about the wild dogs that live in Sofia. And there are results. Oh, how there are results. Some are horror stories – tales of dogs killing people in the Bulgarian countryside, or packs of wild hounds killing animals in the Sofia Zoo – while others just note the problem is a growing one. In 2009, the Bulgaria Academy of Sciences estimated that the total number of stray dogs in Sofia alone was around 9,000.

It was something Rand and I were unprepared for when we arrived in Bulgaria. I know that stray animals are far more common in the Europe than in the states. In America, it’s rare to see a dog without a leash, and even rarer to see one without a collar or name-tag. But in my trips to Italy, I’d see a local dog or two hanging out in the villages. I’d ask locals and they’d explain that everyone watched out for the animal, and had named it or considered it, at least in part, theirs.

But this wasn’t the case with Sofia. There were packs of dogs – literally packs of them, running around, sleeping in clusters in the parks or near shopping areas.

In some respects, they’re not as dangerous as the news stories would have you believe. You can pretty safely walk around downtown during the day and not have to worry about getting attacked. But parks, remote areas, and nighttime walks are a little more dangerous. A friend explained to us that after a evening jog resulted in her getting attacked by one dog (while several others were in close proximity), she now carries a can of mace with her. She and her husband recently became parents, too – if the idea of wild dogs is frightening to me, I can only imagine what it must be like for someone with a kid.

Governmental officials say they’re trying to do something about the problem, and are telling folks that they’re going to build a bunch of shelters to help resolve the issue in the coming year. In the meantime, I suppose locals will simply have to continue carrying mace.

But, seriously, WTF, Bulgaria. Wild dogs? That’s a concern your citizens shouldn’t have to deal with on a daily basis.

Leave a Comment

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • 11 years. You have made my life what it is, Rand.
  • When you find out that @britneymuller has surreptitiously been taking photos of your butt on her phone.
Me: Why.
Her: Because it's perfect.
  • Hair toss, check my nails. Baby how you feeling? Thirty-nine as hell.
  • Me: You cannot go to sleep at 10pm EST.
Him: Watch me.
  • I didn't do nearly all that I set out to do today. But I had a lovely dinner thanks to this man and some excellent out of town guests. So perhaps the measure of a day isn't always about that damn checklist. (Maybe. Ask me again tomorrow when all the stress hits me. 🤔😅)
  • You can't expect things to look *exactly* like the picture in the cookbook. But sometimes they do anyway. #alisonroman #diningincookbook #diningin #cocoabananabread #instadesserts #baking
  • Here it is, folks. The paperback edition of my book is out today. The hardcover came out more than two years ago, so it's wonderful to know that this story of mine still has life and is, gasp, still selling copies. Don't miss the book that Lauren Graham called "the travel companion you'll be happy you brought along" and that some guy on Twitter said was "immature and stupid." It's available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound. #bookstagram #summerreading #bookworms
  • This lady. ❤️❤️❤️ So proud of her.
  • HAPPY LAUNCH DAY!! I really want to curl up in bed with this amazing novel today, but I can't - for an amazing reason. Because I'm going to be at the Lake Forest Park location of Third Place Books tonight, discussing it with the author, my dear friend @andreadunlop. Lady, I'm so proud of you. ❤️ ❤️❤️ #bookstagram #summerreading
  • Baking in an AirBnB is always an adventure. I didn't have a measuring cup for the flour so I eyeballed it, and had to use a wine bottle as a rolling pin to make these handpies. Not my best work, but @demeritt and @randderuiter seemed cool with the results, so I'm going to accept that sometimes good enough is, well, enough. 🥧🍴

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.