Official Cuban Street Dog Has A License To Be Adorable

Illustration for article titled Official Cuban Street Dog Has A License To Be Adorable

Meet former stray Vladimir, one of six dogs “employed” by the Old Havana Museum of Metalwork. His canine crew is one of several that have been taken in by Cuban state institutions, who offer medical care, housing, and protection from the dogcatcher to previously homeless animals.

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Though the pups do serve as de facto watchdogs, most of them have been adopted for companionship by animal-loving security guards, who work long hours in a low-crime city. Close-up of Vladimir’s official photo ID below ... followed by a shot of him and some of his four-legged pals assisting one of their human buddies at her post.

Illustration for article titled Official Cuban Street Dog Has A License To Be Adorable
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Illustration for article titled Official Cuban Street Dog Has A License To Be Adorable

AP photos by Ramon Espinosa

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DISCUSSION

AdoraBelle
AdoraBelle

This is so adorable. All of it.

Back at my old high school we had a stray who basically lived at the school, he had a doghouse in the yard and on cold days he’d come inside and even get into a classroom while classes lasted and just sleep close to the wall under the blackboard. Nobody minded because he was really nice, and he was really old, he had been there for years. He actually died, peacefully in his sleep, of old age, in a classroom like that one winter. We were all devastated. Then the school “adopted” another dog who looked a bit like the old one, on the larger side and yellow, he was really nice too, but sadly got run over by a car after about a year. There’s another dog now, there always is.

HOWEVER, while that second dog was still at the school, Satan himself took on the shape of a wolflike brownish creature with piercing yellow, catlike eyes and decided to make our schoolyard his home base. I swear, that fucking dog was completely insane. There are still legends about him in my city. He lived at our school during the day, and he fucking knew how to tell students and faculty apart from other people, and since my school was near a marketplace (Southeastern Europe, don’t ask), there were always random people walking into the school yard to take a piss. Well, Coyote (as we called him, but he went by many, many names, looking back Beelzebub was probably a better fit) would bark his head off and actually bite those people. And if you were late for class in the morning, he would run after you barking until you got inside, even if he knew you and you fed him. He was a school watch dog by day, but by night, especially on weekends, he was a dude you hang out with. Where I live it’s not forbidden to drink outside so in the summer the parks are filled with people just hanging out. Well, that bastard would just appear out of nowhere and decide he wants to hang out with you and your group, and he would lie down on the pavement and cross his front legs and he looked like a honest to gods person. People would give him food and beer. And he would let you pet him for about 30 seconds, and then he’d bite you to let you know that was enough. He had a tough guy image to maintain. And he had this real crazy thing where, if he ran into you in the street and he knew you, he would continue walking with you and barking at anyone who walked towards you like he was letting everyone know that you were his and not to mess with him. That crazy dog walked me home a couple of times in the middle of the night, and I lived like 6km from the city center. He walked with me, barking like crazy at anyone we encountered, fending off other stray dogs (it’s a bit of a problem where I live) and he would walk me to the entrance to my building, and as soon as he saw I was safe inside he would just turn and go. A couple of times I tried to ask him to come with me so I could give him some food or something for walking me home, but no dice. And I’m not the only woman he walked home. It’s mostly girls from my high school, but every other girl has a story about him walking her home at night over crazy distances.

When I was in college, in the same city (now, this is all like a radius of 3 km), when we had breaks between classes he sometimes showed up to hang out with people in front of the building.

The last I saw of him, the rat bastard was adopted into an insanely rich family who lived above a coffee shop in the city center where he had moved his base of operations at some point. He was all shiny and clean with a collar and a new name and shit, but he knew me, and let me pet him for five seconds and then started barking at his owner (who was holding his damn leash) for coming near me. That was like 6 years ago and he wasn’t young even when he showed up at my school (which was way too long ago now that I think of it), but I like to think that old punx never die.