Eel is one of the two dogs that like to hang around Vanka’s grandfather, Konstantin Makarich. The other dog is called Kashtanka. The text describes Eel as a black dog with a “long weasel-like body.” He appears highly respectful of the people around him yet is actually “spiteful and malicious.” He is a specialized thief, quick at stealing all sorts of things, and is continually hunted down and beaten for this. He has been badly hurt by the beatings that he receives for his crimes, yet he is unable to turn a new life. He always survives the injuries he gets from his daily transgressions, and one wonders at his ability to brave it all. His other specialties are “snapping at people’s feet, creeping into the ice-house," or stealing chicken belonging to the neighbors. Eel is a sly dog who, it seems, likes adventures, no matter how risky they are.
Eel’s master, Konstantin, is a nice man of about sixty-five years of age. He has a bubbly personality and is always smiling or talking cheerfully with his fellow workers at Zhivarev’s estate. He seems to like his dogs. They follow him around the estate in the night while he is attending to his duties as the estate watchman.