10.30.2008

Superstar!

There exists here in Germany a particular culture unto itself and unlike anything I experienced in all my years of living in America. If you are a dog owner in this country, you know what I am talking about. You understand you are not your dog's owner, but rather his or her caretaker, a designation which would make PETA proud. If you are a dog--Congratulations! You're reaping the benefits of living in such a dog-friendly land.

This pet-approving, dog-lovin', culture is something I noticed almost immediately when I moved, 11 short months ago, and something I will miss if it doesn't also exist in southern Europe.

The first time I noticed a furry friend sleeping under a restaurant table as his owner enjoyed a meal, I was pleasantly surprised, thinking it merely a unique restaurant policy. When I realized that this practice was the rule and not the exception, I became elated. And ever since, Charlie has come along on more of our "date nights" in Deutschland than he has been left behind to sulk in his condo (a.k.a kennel) alone. Max and I are so accustomed to having our little guy along with us that we feel as though we're missing something when he is not there.

It doesn't matter whether it's the local German hangout or a sushi restaurant, Charlie is welcomed at ever stop, with the waitress or waiter spontaneously bringing him a bowl of water even before our drinks are served. A restaurant here most certainly won't have sippy cups for children, but they will have a good supply of dog bowls. Of this, you can be sure.

But it's more than just being able to bring Charlie to most shops and restaurants. Even on a casual walk, the dog-friendly culture is evident. I can't walk 30 meters without someone asking about my dog or whether he or she can pet him. And if by chance, I pass another dog owner, etiquette dictates that we stop to allow our pups to sniff each other to the full if they so desire. If only I had a nickel for every butt Charlie had sniffed!

Friends who visit are also surprised by this aspect of German culture. Because of all the attention my dog received on her visit last week, my friend gave Charlie a new name --Madonna--because she felt as if we were traveling along with a superstar. When a photographer of a local art magazine asked to photograph Charlie for his "picture of the day," my friend's suspicions were confirmed. Charlie was the star, and we were merely his entourage, thus sparking a new nickname--Charlie's Angels. And this was and is all fine by me...

so long as I can be Farrah or Jacqueline.

Please don't forget to sign up for the Virtual Post Election Bash. If you are planning to do a day-after election post, I'd love to link to you.

17 comments:

A Touch of Dutch said...

Adorable! This rule seems only ½ true in the Netherlands.. I am not sure.. I'm not [yet] a dog owner, so I can't be absolutely certain. But I do see dogs with their owners on occasion in public places, so it is possibly true. I hope it is the same in Spain. Especially for Charlie's sake ;-)

running42k said...

Yet another reason to move to Europe.

Andrea said...

We all know he's a superstar. He's too cute not to be :)

Claire said...

He is perhaps one of the cutest dogs ever! I am definitely a Charlie's Angle!

Because of the culture I really want to get a dog, but my husband is always like, "We can't go on a vacation with the dog." How do you guys solve this problem.

kenju said...

Being able to take your dog with you on daily ambles is a wonderful thing. As you know, over here that only flies in outdoor restaurants.Too bad.

Charlie has the sweetest face, and brings to mind a black cocker I had as a child. I love cockers!!

Me said...

Yes. Germany is pretty awesome about that stuff...I have never seen the same pet-friendliness in Spain, but I didn't have a dog there, so I might not have paid attention.

I miss being able to drag Fabulous Dog into H&M or any shoe store, restaurant or cafe and have him hang out. :)

Connie said...

Because we move randomly and never know what comes next, I keep telling my kids "no puppy"... we have house cats. Well adjusted and very friendly, but dogs NEED more social time. I think if lived in a place where dogs were allowed to be out and about and IN places, we'd try to fit a dog into our lives.

The Guv'ner said...

I'm not surprised people want to play with him he's ADORABLE! I'd love that policy over here. I don't see why you shouldn't be able to take a well behaved dog to a restaurant with you. I can't see a health hazard arising there really. I approve!!!! They are members of the family after all. :)

sassy said...

I take my doggie everywhere here in France, he fits into a purse and is accustomed to shopping, restaurants, etc. I'm going to have to make some waves when we go back to the US bacause I just love it when he comes with me !

Charlotte said...

Charlie is a superstar! And I know a whole lot of people who would like to be one of his angels ...

Dianne said...

I wish it was like that here in the states!

Charlie is such a rock star!!

meno said...

This just makes so much sense.

Although maybe we can't do it here because people let their dogs misbehave as much as they let their kids misbehave.

Princess Extraordinaire said...

I love that about German culture....I recently saw something synonymous to that on the news and thought how cool it was...

Rositta said...

I think Germany is pretty unique that way but not everywhere I think. I didn't see one dog in a restaurant on my recent trip to the Baltics whereas around Wiesbaden is saw many.Greece nada and the rest I don't know...ciao

GutsyWriter said...

I thought the French were the experts at letting dogs sit at the restaurant table with their owners.

Feel like entering a contest, where you write about "The most embarrassing moment in your life," please view my blog. Hope to see you.

Dan-E said...

do you ever take a bad photo? like, ever?

patches said...

What a handsome boy!

...and unfortunately what meno said about the states.