If I had to be reincarnated as a dog, Germany has got to be the place to live. It’s not so much a question of where we’ve been able to go with our little Phalene, Duke, but where we have not been able to take him along. In the past 10 days since arrival, there are really only two times that we have not taken him along. Both times were the swimming pools, where understandably, dogs are not allowed.
Other than that, Berlin has been worry-free when it comes to man’s best friend. Sure, there are stores that don’t allow dogs and usually have a little sticker indicating that like smoking, drinking, and bikes, patrons should leave them outside, but for the most part one can assume that dogs are allowed practically everywhere.
Duke rides the U-Bahn, comes to the local markets, strolls the Ku’damm (Berlin’s equivalent of the Mag Mile) and eats at restaurants with us. He came on our 4-hour boat tour of Berlin, accompanied us on numerous school visits, and has gone house hunting with us. Dogs are truly welcome in Berlin and treated like another member of the family. Many stores and restaurants set out a bowl of water for dogs, and on the boat tour Duke was offered treats along with his water. At first I was fairly apprehensive about whether or not we should take him to all the places we’ve gone, but now it’s just like bringing along another kid – you wouldn’t leave your 3-year old at home alone would you?
And it’s been great for Duke as he’s learned to be a bit more social and friendly among so many other dogs. He still gets a little protective when he meets other dogs, especially large ones (it’s his Napoleon complex), but he’s gotten good enough that he walks the city without a leash most of the time (which unlike in many American cities, is how most dogs are walked in Berlin).
So along with the satisfaction that our move to Berlin is going well for Vivian and myself and our four children, I’m really pleased that Duke will get to live in a city that welcomes four-legged citizens as well….which reminds me that we need to register him as an official resident too after we’ve moved into our apartment.