In addition to more than four miles of pristine beaches and one of the largest botanical gardens in the former Soviet Union, Batumi, Georgia—the “Las Vegas of the Black Sea”—is home to a diverse collection of pitiful-looking street dogs. I’m a Dog Lover, so when I first got here, the sight of these poor creatures lolling around looking for affection was pretty depressing.

But it’s amazing what a little sunshine and sea breeze can blind you to. After a while, I’d not only become used to seeing the dogs, I’d grown to love them. Or at least name them, which is the first step toward loving them. They were pets I didn’t have to take care of: Dirty Harry, always goofin’ off in our neighborhood; Shashlik, a little reddish waif who lives on a bean bag and guards the boardwalk with her life; Shoti, Skinny, Sally, Rustaveli and Khachapuri. Even if their names were made up, the…

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