The metrostations aren't just for people. About 500 stray dogs have made the stations their homes. According to Andrei Poyarkov of the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, a biologist and wolf expert who has studied Moscow's feral dogs for over 30 years, the quantity of food available to them keeps the total population of homeless dogs steady at about 35,000. From the 500 dogs living in the metrostations, about 20 have learned how to use the metro system. They go out of their way to avoid conflict with people and don't defecate in busy and paved areas. They prefer the less crowded parts of the metros.
There are a few theories to explain how they are able to correctly determine their routes: Some say they can judge the length of time spent on the train between stations or recognize the metro stations names being announced through the speakers. Others say they recognize the scents of particular stations.
The dogs are viewed affectionately. Vsevolod Medvedev uses the metro almost every day and has seen a lot of stray dogs in the Mendeleyevskaya station. "I don't feed them, but a lot of people do." This is probably one of the reasons why the population keeps steady. When he passes by, he sometimes pets the nose of the dog statue at the entrance of the station. This monument is dedicated to Malchik, a stray dog that lived in the Mendeleyevskaya station for three years. He was stabbed to death by a mentally ill woman in 2001. This caused a huge public outrage regarding the treatment of animals and in 2007 a monument was made to honour Malchik. The monument is covered in both real and fake flowers and Malchiks bronze nose has changed colour during the years because of so many people stopping to pet him before they get on the metro. Maria Kyprianova works as a security guard at the Mendeleyevskaya station and sees a lot of people taking the time to pet the statue. "Some people put flowers or even money on the monument."