The True Meaning of the Dog as Man’s Best Friend to Beggars Across Europe
When I travel to India, it is common practice for a woman to come up to your car in traffic with a baby in her arms and make a gesture that her infant is starving and that she needs money for food. This is extremely effective in tugging at your heartstrings, especially for first-time visitors who have never seen this before. I have quickly learned that people in India generally have access to enough food (food banks and shelters) and that most of these babies are not starving at all. Begging is big business!
As I have been traveling to Europe recently, I have seen a very popular begging technique that is replacing the use of children. The beggar will use the companionship of a dog to help tempt dog lovers into giving them some money. Many times the beggar will have a sign that says “ My dog and I are hungry…please help us get some food”. As we know, Europeans just love their dogs, and when they see a beggar on the street with a dog next to them, it usually does the trick. Many times the cuter the dog, the better this technique works. Unfortunately, there are a few beggars that go the sympathy route and starve the dogs until their ribs are showing. This always makes me angry and I cannot help myself from saying something. I have sat and talked to some of these beggars and have realized that most of these people absolutely love their dogs and vice versa. The dogs seem to instinctively know their role as a “lure” and perform their job very well. Many dogs put on the sad face or even offer a trick or two.
When I was in Prague this week, it was extremely snowy and cold. On every street corner there seemed to be a beggar wrapped in a blanket holding their dog for added warmth and sympathy! I must admit it worked on me a few times.