living in Germany with Hershey, a whole new world was opened up to us
as pet owners. Europe, in general, is a very pet-friendly place to be.
Virtually every where you go, you would see someone with their dog in
tow. All types of stores allowed dogs. You would even see dogs in the
very upscale department stores. The very first time I noticed this,
I asked my aunt if there was a limit to the size of a dog you could
bring into a store. She said you could bring a small pony if you wanted
to. Boy, would she be surprised at the size of a Shiloh.
The mass-transit systems throughout Germany were also very accommodating
to pet owners. They even had a specially priced fare for one traveling
with a dog. The logo on the ticket vending machine showed an adult human
with a dog standing next to him. The price was equivalent to an adult
traveling with a child. Hershey was able to ride on public buses, street
cars and even on a train.
Restaurants were a very special treat. Virtually all of them allowed
dogs (if a dog was not allowed there would be a sign on the door specifically
stating that dogs must stay outside). Hershey loved this. On her very
first visit to a restaurant (her first day in Germany), she acted as
if it was something she did everyday. Restaurant owners were very accommodating
and would even bring over a bowl of water for your companion. Some proprietors
would even feed your dog leftovers if you allowed it.
Whenever we would go to a restaurant, Hershey would get into her spot
under the table and stay there quietly until we were ready to leave.
Hershey was a long-haired German Shepherd and was truly favored by the
older generation of German people who met her. They frequently would
say she reminded them of the Alter-Deutche Schaeferhund of their childhood.
(The Alter-Deutche Shaeferhund has since become an established breed
in Germany. It is distinguished from the German Shepherd by its long-haired
We never had to ask if a hotel in Germany allowed dogs. They just did.
In fact, during rainy weather, the hotel clerk would even give you a
towel to wipe your dog’s feet on.
our experiences in Germany, we continued to look for places here in
the United States that would take our dog. The traditional places like
PetsMart, Petco and any other pet specialty store just didn’t
seem like enough. We began looking for more.
First and foremost when traveling (and shopping) with your dog is to
try and present the best dog that people have ever seen. A well-mannered
dog in a store (no matter the size) blends in and often goes hardly
noticed. However, a bad dog is always remembered and will cause other
dogs to possibly be banned from a place they were previously allowed.
In today’s environment there is often disagreement amongst pet
owners and persons who use service dogs as to where a dog should be
allowed. I think living in Germany has provided me with the experience
to see that public access for pets can be done; and it can be done well
without infringing on the special rights of the service dog. You just
need to follow some basic guidelines when taking your dog into stores.
Note: Never take it for
granted that accidents can’t happen; and be prepared to face the
consequence should one occur.
Traveling with a dog is easier now than ever. Some people, however,
push the issue to the extreme and can eventually cause the hotel to
ban all dogs. Access for pets, it seems is always an ALL or NONE rule.
They either allow dogs or they don’t. To help keep the access
open here are some extra guidelines in addition to those listed above.
- Always, but always, pick up after your dog. No matter where
you are and no matter if it is required. If there is no trash
can available, ask for one.
- Try to never leave your dog in a hotel room alone. If you must,
make it for a VERY short period of time. I have been to hotels
where travelers have left their dog in the room all day and the
dog bark all day long.
- If you leave your dog in the room, have it kenneled for its
safety and that of the room.
- If the weather is bad, be sure to bring towels along to wipe
- A quiet dog is a welcomed dog.
The horror stories that I have been told by hotel management are amazing.
There were tales of a dog left in the room all day and it ate the couch.
Another tale told of one that ate all the baseboard molding. If your
dog accidentally does some damage while left alone, repair it and/or
offer compensation to the hotel immediately.
Here are some of the things we do to scout out new places to take
- Keep your eyes open for other dogs in the building. If you
see one that is NOT a service dog, ask an employee if dogs are
- If you see one, is it owned by the proprietor? If so, this
does not necessarily mean other dogs are allowed. But, it does
give the opportunity for you to ask if dogs are allowed.
- Read periodicals geared toward dogs. Frequently new places
that allow dogs are featured here.
The most well-known places that allow dogs are PetsMart and Petco.
These are great places to practice “shopping”. Once this
becomes “old hat”, it’s time to move on to the new
ones. As a general rule, the following types of stores are usually accommodating
to people and their pets (however, it is best to scout each new place
individually before taking your dog):
- bicycle stores
- car lots
- craft shows (outdoor)
- farmer’s markets
- gardening/landscaping stores
- hardware stores
- home improvement stores (i.e. Home Depot)
- lumber stores
- outdoor street markets
- outdoor adventure stores
- pet specialty stores/markets
*Note: Home Depot often changes
their pet access (within the same store) frequently. If you haven’t
been there in a while, scout the store, ask questions and, if they
say no or ask you to take your pet out, do so obligingly and try again
several weeks later. If you create a scene, they just might not ever
let you personally back in.
Your dog is part of the family. Taking him/her with you makes the new
adventure all the more fun. I hope this has helped to make it a bit