A Dog’s Life in Holland May Seem a Bit Better than in the USA
Because Dog Gone Smart Pet Products has one of its distribution warehouses in Holland and also participates in one of the annual pet product trade shows, I get the opportunity to visit about two/three times each year. I arrived yesterday to a very rainy Amsterdam and put on my rain gear to take a stroll. Compared to the USA it never fails to amaze me how much more integrated dogs are into society here. It seems dogs go everywhere. Many people bring their dogs to work and it is not uncommon to see them in the shopkeeper’s window or laying outside by the store entrance. Bicycles are the major form of transportation in Amsterdam but that does not stop dogs from coming along for the ride. Many people put their pooches in the front bicycle basket or run them along side their bikes (on or off leash).
Last night I had dinner at a wonderful sausage and wine Café Called Worst (www.deworst.nl). As I sat at the wine bar having a nice Beaujolais, lying under the stool next to me was an adorable Jack Russell Terrier. It amazed me how she laid down so quietly and waited patiently (for almost two hours) as her two owners enjoyed their meal. The “general” rule of thumb when it comes to eating establishments is that dogs are allowed in (except if there are open kitchens or the restaurant management forbids it – but this seems rare). In almost every café or restaurant you will see one or two dogs lying underneath a table.
Because of how dogs live in the Dutch society, they seem for the most part to be very well behaved and socialized. This all makes me wonder if dogs have a better life here than in the USA. Perhaps we should reevaluate some of our laws and rules that keep our canine friends so separated from our daily activities. Dogs in Holland in many cases don’t have to stay home waiting for their owners to reappear at the end of the day or for the dog walker to take them for their one-time 20-minute outing. Instead, they get to spend much of their lives doing the things they love most…..hanging out with their human companions and “going along for the ride”.