In May, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Germany with a few other students from my University; I returned with a greater love for people, DOGS, and myself.
The insides of my European Chapter include moments of disbelief while viewing some of the most well-behaved, adorable dogs imaginable; who are free to enjoy the floor underneath the table their owners are dining at, and aren't wrong for expecting some free after dinner biscuits from the server. Dogs in Germany are the best mannered anywhere. And there are very few strays.
As well as restaurants, Public transportation in Germany has gone to the dogs. German dogs are nice enough to accompany their owners on their daily commute.
Strangers don’t commonly stop to pet your dog, so walks in the park, down the street, or around town are never interrupted. When you see a dog happily trotting by their owner in Germany, you notice how well mannered they are and beautiful from afar. It’s a showing respect to their owners and hygiene thing. For the older dog owners, their dog is usually their closest companion, and a pat on your dog from hands you don't know what they touched last can be an unsettling thought.
Almost everyday consisted of at least a few miles of walking on a busy cobblestone sidewalk, which I never minded. I passed a male holding a small empty dog carrier in one hand, and his girlfriend's in the other. By the time the couple was a few steps behind me, I saw two tiny Chihuahua’s trotting a few feet in front of me, and two sets of small eyes dead set on the couple behind me. Like I said earlier, WELL-BEHAVED. The couple could walk at their desired pace, knowing their two little pups would catch up eventually and most importantly, no one would distract them.
During a guided bus tour in the heart of Germany's capital, Berlin - bobbing & weaving through streets, constantly looking left and right out of the windows as the tour guide points out one historical site after the next, I was most pleased by the guide’s statement regarding the amount of trees and their purpose. In Berlin, every tree is given a number; at the moment there is a little more than 400,000, which means one for every dog!
Germany’s list of ‘dog keeping laws’ is very descriptive and leaves no room for mistake. Rule #1 permits the use of any electrical devices for disciplinary purposes (electrical fence, anti-bark, collars with remote control). Even a collar that beeps whenever your pup goes out of range is seen as too malicious. A student in my class brought one of these beeping collars from the States across the Atlantic with him for a friend in Germany. His old boss from Volkswagen adopted a hound from Mckamey while she was working at the Chattanooga plant and named her Birdie. Instinctively, Birdie likes to find the source of every scent that reaches her nose and they don’t want to eliminate her roaming privileges completely, just monitor it. This collar allows Birdie the freedom to do so. Look at her adorable sniffer and since I had a connection to her owners I was allowed to cuddle a pup finally! It was a WIN, WIN, WIN for all.
It has been said that dogs live longer in Europe. Compared to American kibble, European kibble isn’t much different. But American dogs do receive more vaccinations than European dogs. Rabies vaccines are only a requirement for dogs that travel because rabies isn’t a big worry in Western Europe anymore. The aluminum-containing adjuvant in the vaccine makes this one of the most troublesome vaccines, so the absence of that agent provides some protection against vaccine-related illness. However, the biggest difference between the two countries is the spray or neuter rate. This process is practiced a lot more on dogs in North America.
Although, I did notice one thing that American dogs are lucky to have and European dogs unfortunately don’t, BARLEY BONES’ CRAFT DOG TREATS.