My recent trip to Europe highlighted the difference between attitudes to our pets in public. Here in Australia we assume that pets are going to have negative consequences from appearing in public places and hence do not allow them in town centres, shops, beaches and so on, unless they are in specially designated dog areas. Cats – well we do not even consider them having an existence in public places.
The attitude in Europe is very different. Dogs are everywhere. They may not be actively welcomed in every public place but they are not prohibited. In many places they are welcomed. A sign outside a pub…
This sign was in the town of Alnwick, whose castle provides the inspiration for Hogwartz in Harry Potter tales. The fact that “Dogs Welcome” comes before the information on food served surely tells us that this is an important factor in attracting customers. Could it be that businesses that allow dogs within their premises do better than those than ban them?
In some cases, dogs being welcome is possibly to their detriment. Dragging a reluctant dog through the busy summer streets of Amsterdam did not look like a pleasant experience, especially for the dog. Perhaps canine art is a more preferable option in the city to the real thing.
How lovely to see dogs romp with their owners through Scottish castle grounds and that water and poop bins are provided (Culzean Castle). And that it is not only dogs that are allowed on beaches but horses too.
Of course, there are slightly fewer people on a Scottish beach in the height of summer than the Australian equivalent!
On the negative side, it is worrying to see so many dogs off leash as they walk the streets with their owners but how beautiful to see well behaved dogs like these. One dog is sitting patiently waiting on his owner who is having a coffee in the Amsterdam Nespresso store while another waits in line to buy coffee with his owner.
No fights. No fear of disease spread. I even saw a cat politely weaving its way through the table and human legs of one restaurant. No hysteria about germs or allergies.
Maybe Australia we have a thing or two to learn about pets in public.
More holiday pet photos…