Being a slightly obsessive lover of dogs and general animal lover I could not help but take notice of dogs and dog related things on our tour of Europe. Europe so far has been a very dog friendly place, owners can take their dogs to hotels, parks, museums, campsites and they’re also allowed on all forms of public transport. In Paris the homeless people and beggars have dogs, most of them are in better condition than their humans and are often curled up on their laps, we saw one gentleman outside of Notre Dame with two little dogs curled up on his lap, they were both sound asleep and looked cute and cosy, there was no taking of photos unless you gave the owner money and I am kicking myself for not handing over a couple of Euros to capture such a wonderful sight.
Dogs in Paris poop everywhere and their owners don’t seem to care, you have to constantly be on the look out for poo on the footpaths, in the parks nobody is allowed to walk on the grass thus poo in parks isn’t a problem. The majority of dogs we see in Paris are little dogs with short legs, a bit like Jack Russell Terriers but the bodies are slightly bigger and their legs much shorter. I love the French bulldog and we saw a few of those from a distance, I can’t imagine that the Parisians would want me running up to them and asking to cuddle their dog. At Versaille I did get a dog fix, a little terrier came up to me and sniffed my leg while I was taking a photo, he was very cute and the owner did not mind me saying hello and giving him a pat, he was a friendly little dog. Amsterdam was another city where you had to watch your step, the variety of dogs was greater there and we saw more big dogs, one in particular came bounding up to the window of a shop (see photo on left) and he or she must have been wanting to go out for a walk because you could see that the dog had left a little present for the owner on the floor of the shop. It was really cool to see the dog carriers and other accessories in the shops and seeing someone carrying their dog at the station always got my attention. It must be lovely living in a country where you weren’t made to feel guilty for having dog and wanting to take them everywhere with you.
Germany was strict when it came to dog poo, the disposal units in the parks couldn’t be missed and I took photos of the signs posted outside houses and business that clearly said ‘no dog poo allowed’. I typed much of this post whilst on a train leaving Switzerland and there were people in our train carriage with a dog, the train was like the Australian XPT train only better and faster. In Germany and Switzerland we saw the largest dogs on our travel, Newfoundlands, St Bernards, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Huskies and Dalmatians, we rarely saw any Staffordshire Bull Terriers and wondered if they were a banned breed in those countries. On our coldest morning in Munich a little white dog, wearing a halter and collar was pacing from door to door, sitting in front of each and obviously looking for his owner. It was actually snowing and the poor little thing was shivering, Marty knew that I wouldn’t leave until the owner showed up. We were standing next to the Casino and my main concern was that some irresponsible person had disappeared inside to gamble and left the dog outside to wait in the freezing cold, finally a woman popped her head out of a doorway and called for the dog, I happily moved on then.
The worst thing about being overseas is that I miss our two black dogs, they make me laugh and I love the cuddles I get. We saw stuffed dogs, porcelain dogs, little French bulldogs made from denim and sculpture of dogs that appear to have their head stuck in the ground because you can only see their back legs and tail. In Munich we walked past a pet accessories shop that catered for wealthy owners and smaller dogs than ours, the collars were covered in bling and they featured the cutest little jackets and outfits.
Dogs in Venice, every corner we turn there is a dog or several, big and small and all shapes and sizes, poodles and Labradors seem especially popular. Not all dogs are on leads, many are happily trotting along behind their owners, stopping to sniff and pee on whatever takes their fancy, I thought my leg was going to be a target at one stage but the garbage bag nearby sufficed. Poo is fairly common in Venice, sometimes it is in a little black bag similar to the dog poo bags we have at home, dumped in a corner or doorway but more often it is squashed into the footpath. In one campo we find a little shop dedicated to dogs, selling accessories, jackets and food, sadly the jackets are only for little dogs but lying on the floor is a friendly pooch that didn’t mind me stopping to scratch behind his ear and give him a cuddle. Dogs sitting patiently outside shops and snack bars while their owners pop into to buy something or have a bite to eat, some look almost asleep as they soak up the warmth of the lovely spring sunshine.
One gorgeous fellow needed wheels to get around, however it didn’t stop him from checking out the sights of Menaggio but it was a hot and thirsty day and I’m sure that he was very grateful that the Italy has an abundance of water fountains. A little further south and on another warm day, we were moving between the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre and saw many dogs, including a pair of very elegant looking Dalmatians but it was the Labrador puppy being carried by his owner that really made us smile. The poor little fella was probably hot and tired and it was lunchtime.
When I visited Pompeii in 1999 stray dogs followed the tour groups around the ruins and although I would prefer to not see stray dogs at all, it was nice to be able to get a doggy fix and see more of my four-legged friends 12 years later and even better to see that an adoption program has been implemented and you can adopt one of the stray dogs of Pompeii.
Almost everywhere we went in Italy we saw dogs, all shapes and sizes and I wanted to cuddle them all but settled for taking photos instead and even my husband got in on the act. We did meet an awesome little French Bulldog called Hugo, my husband was not fond of the breed at all and thought them small and odd looking, his mind changed upon meeting Hugo as he was about the same size as Bundy and reminded us very much of our little staffy boy. Hugo’s owners were from France, they were having a holiday at Lake Bolsena and Hugo was having a lovely time paddling in the water and rolling around on the grass, he even came over to say hello and happily let us rub his tummy.