Yesterday I walked through a part of town I have avoided for years. When I was in high school, it was right opposite the ice-cream parlour and cinema - now it's the taxi rank, stall-sellers and mass gathering for folk of darker skin colour. Not the place to walk through alone at night - and perhaps not even during the day. But I had to get from bank to post office and had left the car elsewhere, so walk it was. (Hey, we're all human and perhaps I'm just as scary! :-) )

While passing the stalls laden with sunglasses, socks and cheap nailpolish, I stepped around kids wandering, homeless men sitting vacantly on the sidewalk, and two dogs.

Beautiful dogs they were - one a rich brown, one black and tan, laid out in the sun with their eyes closed, napping in the middle of the foot traffic. I suspect they belonged to one of the guys either shopping at the stalls or manning them.

A few minutes later I headed back that way - and saw survival instinct kick in. Another stall owner decided dogs were no longer welcome. He took a single step toward them to shoo them off - in the midst of all the other steps around them, they heard it and went from peacefully sleeping to jumping up and avoiding potential threat in one surprisingly quick motion!

I know our dogs are all domesticated and such. Stuck in the wild they could never fend for themselves (unless they do this). If they escape the confines of our yards, they wander around and get themselves into trouble. Yet buried deep under their need to be looked after, given a home, fed scientifically-formulated food and made part of a human pack, there's millenia of pure canine instinct running through their DNA.

And every now and then we're privileged enough to see it appear - to be reminded that we are very lucky these beasts allow us to be their humans.