Sunday, 2 March 2008


Like the English, Germans seem to enjoy the company of dogs. Unlike the English, they also enjoy the company of dogs in shops, restaurants, and other places you’d expect to be dogless if you were in the UK. This came to me as quite a surprise – not least because I nearly tripped over a little dachshund in the jewellery section of a department store during an early visit. I did a double take and checked to see if anyone else noticed this oddity, yet nobody else seemed surprised. After this had happened a few times I realised it must be normal – so I stopped pointing at them as much and began to tread more carefully.

I find it even more surprising that dogs are accepted in many restaurants. One evening I was in an Italian restaurant with a group of friends. I was happily tucking into my main course when I stopped, fork in air, as I saw a couple entering the premises with a wolf hound. I assumed they would be told to tie up the dog outside, but I was wrong. Instead, the waiter cheerfully greeted the couple and their dog and showed them to a table. I began imagine some farcical scenarios in my head involving said dog:
• Dog chases waiter carrying a bowl of meaty Bolognese sauce
• Dog knocks down patrons in enthusiastic displays of affection
• Dog jumps over tables to locate the source of the scent of a rabbit risotto
What actually happened? The wolf hound just curled up on the floor and we hardly heard a peep out of him. Now, in the face of all that temptation, that's what I call a well-trained hound!

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