Pets. Now there’s a safe subject. But why can’t Budapest be clean and fresh (and renewed) like Vienna. Well, because of pets.
Pets. Now there’s a safe subject. But why can’t Budapest be clean and fresh (and renewed) like Vienna? Well, because of pets.You see, beginning some 40 years ago, many of the city-dwellers were moved by force to the countryside, and many of the farmers and village folk were moved, by force, to the big cities. This was part of the social equalizing program, and was particularly painful for the farmers who were torn away from their inherited livelihoods. Budapest was not allowing garden plots in vacant lots, etc., and not many designated city apartments had sunlight. The only comfort was a dog (in place of livestock), or two or three.
Over the years those dogs have been accorded human privileges and socialization. They have dog friends they must visit regularly, they have favorite foods which must be secured, they must understand Hungarian very well and respond in kind. They must be pet and child and best friend and mental health sustainer to a large number of Budapest residents. Yes, some are alarmingly large for the single-room apartments in which they live. Certainly their toilet needs do create a sanitation problem out on the streets. And as their owners age, we all do well to be concerned for the well-being of both owner and pet.
But oh, these dogs are a wonder. They are docile, patient, obedient, well-loved, – the absolute center of someone’s attention. They don’t fight with other dogs, they don’t complain when strange children take to pestering them, they don’t argue about living like a human being in a cementville. They do their singular job of being all the companion one creature can be, – for the stabilizing of droves of displaced humans still living artificially in a lifestyle that is not theirs.
Do we need a sweet-smelling, tidy city like Vienna? Not yet.
Coralyn T. Medyesy, Missionary in Hungary
Coralyn Medyesy is a missionary with the Reformed Church in Hungary, based in Budapest, Hungary. She serves as a Teacher of Social Work and Diakonia at the Nagy Koros School.