Dogs are permitted in a lot more public places in Europe than in the States. Of course you are not allowed to take a dog into a hospital or to the doctor’s office. Only seeing-eye dogs are allowed in movie theaters, with their owners, naturally. But, in contrast to the States you can take your dog into restaurants without any problems.
In a Restaurant
Well, usually there aren’t any problems. Once we were in the mountains where we were going to spend a week with one of Ben’s classes. We were planning and pre-hiking the daytrips we would be making. Hiking in one day what we would be doing with the kids in two days.
We had hiked all day with two Westie dogs: our dog and a friend’s dog we were dog sitting. We had missed a train and were waiting in a restaurant for some friends to pick us up. Both dogs had their leashes on but we had put them on the floor. We assumed that after our trek, the dogs weren’t going to move anyway.
All was good and the dogs immediately fell asleep under the chairs. While we were sipping some tea, a big, fat cat who obviously owned the place, slowly sashayed across the room. Both sleeping doggie antennae picked up the noiseless cat paws moving across the floor. Before we knew it they were up, out, barking and chasing the cat around the room like there was no tomorrow. I guess dogs have a reserve energy tank that is set aside specifically for cats. Whoa, party time, we could have charged an entrance fee for that! We were wide awake, too.
Not only restaurants but some public buildings also allow dogs. Once when we were doing some family genealogical research, we packed up our dog and headed for Freiburg in Breisgau. It was a cold February day and there was still some melting patches of dirty snow in the fields. The trip to southern Germany from Berne only takes about 2 hours by car and is easily reached.
We knew we were going to be cooped up in a room looking at microfilm for a couple of hours. So before we got to Freiburg we stopped at a rest-stop along the highway. We wanted to let our doggie stretch her legs and do what dogs do. We all got out of the car and she ran to a distant field. When we called her back we noticed that what she considered “do what dogs do” a bit different than what we did. She had enjoyed a good roll in some frozen cow manure. We’re dog owners, we can deal with things like that.
What’s That Smell?
When she got into the car we barely noticed the smell, it wasn’t that much. She only had a couple of brown spots on her white coat. Then the heater in the car slowly thawed out what was frozen and the smell turned to stink. We turned off the heater and opened the windows of the car. Then we sprayed some nauseous “car freshener” spray to try and neutralize the stink. We drove the remainder of the distance on that cold day with the car windows open. The smell of cow manure mixed with just a hint of “car freshener” lingering in the air. We weren’t worried, we thought we would find a dog beauty parlor in Freiburg. Let her get washed and maybe a trim, you know, the whole doggie program. That was the plan.
When we got to town the first thing we did was look up dog parlor in the phonebook. No such thing. Then we looked up every term we could think of in German, again, no luck. It was obvious that we couldn’t take her like that with us and we couldn’t leave her in the car either. So we did the next best thing, we went into a drug store and bought paper towels and shampoo. Then I took her into a public restroom, put her into the sink and washed her the best I could. Luckily no one came in while I was doing that.
At the Archives
When we were finished cleaning up, the three of us went into the archive to find the microfilm room. It was a tiny, tiny room with no windows and space for eight film machines and nothing more. Seven of the machines were occupied. Perfect, one was free for us! We sat down, ordered our films and got to work looking at them. One by one people started coughing a little and then packed their things and left. No one said anything to us. After about 30 minutes we had the whole room to ourselves! I guess the Germans were just faster workers than we were.