An Acquired Fear

HuntingDogPups-3

These are Far Eastern laika pups, hunting dogs in the logging village of Amgu in the Russian Far East, watching with some anxiety for their mother to return from a hunt.

While the hunting season is one of shameless joy and freedom for these dogs, a time when they plow breathless through the snow in pursuit of boar and deer, there is a scent in these forests that all dogs fear. Amur tigers are unabashed in their passion for dog meat; these predators go out of their way to stalk a laika should they sense one nearby. In fact, when hunters take stock of their resources before a hunting season, they often assume a dog or two will be lost to these enormous cats and account for that in their planning.

But now these two dogs are still just pups; they have not yet been to the forest to smell the predator. It is a fear they will learn with time.

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A Graveyard of Rust

UstSobolevka_TrucksUst-Sobelevka, a village of about two hundred people, is located at the mouth of the Sobolevka River in northern Primorye, Russia. It is almost impossible to reach; the road to it is more a labyrinth of mud and water than a thoroughfare, and few people make the journey. It is a sullen, wind-swept place populated by hunters and those with nowhere else to go, and where the tallest structure in town is the concrete skeleton of an orphanage never completed. This field, which occupies the few hundred meters of space between the village and the Sea of Japan, is inexplicably littered with rusting trucks; gravestones mourning the passing of better days.