Living in Vienna, The thing I find most astounding about the culture is their love of dogs. People will stop in the middle of the day, along the fence of the dog park. They will call you over and start talking fast in German, and from their pockets and purses they pull out photos of their pets. They show them off to complete strangers, as a bunch of granny biddies in the states show off photos of their grand kids to new members of the staff at their old folks home. It really is delightful and beautiful how these people truly love their pets.
Dogs in Vienna, are welcome everywhere. In the pubs, at the hair salon, in the fancy french restaurant, at the doctor’s office. My dentist is so happy when I bring our dogs with me to my dental appointments. She gives them treats and sits them on my lap and smiles at them and talks baby talk at them while she clean my teeth. In this city there is just about nowhere that dogs are unwelcome. There are even special showings of movies at a couple theaters in town…. For the dogs!
A dog, is attached to every other haus frau in this city. Dogs accompany house wives like me, just about everywhere. I take mine to Cafe Merkur, to meet with friends. It is one of my favorite little cafes, but truth be told nearly all the cafes in this city are great. I sip my melange coffee and laugh with my friends while the dogs sit comfortably and politely on the floor beside me. Welcomed with a biscuit by the wait staff.
I have become rather accustomed to this way of living so closely with my dogs, since moving to Vienna. I thought, tonight I would introduce you to the boys who haunt Cafe Primrose. My little Etsy, cafe of sorts.
So, to begin, Yoda, is a six year old lab border collie cross. We got him while we were living in Canada. He was of course, a rescue puppy from the Brandon Humane Society. One of the best humane society operations I have ever encountered. The people running the place are just fabulous. He is the progeny of a pair of herding dogs who come from a long line of herding dogs. He is lucky to be alive. Some evil excuse for a human being had nearly decided to drown him. The whole problem of course could have been avoided by just doing the decent thing and getting his mother spayed. For a time in Brandon MB, to keep our rent costs down while my husband worked at the university in the physics department, we took over a 30 acre farm. The idea, was that to supplement the rent, we would manage the farm while the farm owners were spending a year traveling. So for quite some time, I cared for a pack of something like six or seven dogs, including mine and the neighbor’s dogs and the dogs attached to the farm itself. We were also responsible for several horses, and an old barn cat. It really was a wonderful way to live. My husband would wait till well after dark, and we would turn off all the lights in the house then the whole family, me, my husband, and the dogs would congregate in the dark backyard some miles from the nearest lit road and we would watch the sky in my husband’s five foot telescope. We had just gotten engaged, and we had been together four roughly three years when I came across Yoda’s photo online, and informed my husband that he had to come live with us. So, we finally got him from the humane society. Since then he has traveled to the USA, as well as to Austria. And he will move with us to whatever country we go to next. He is a big boy and very protective. I am not kidding when I say, that he once along with the other six dogs on that farm saved my life. He likes to play and he loves to go out running. He gives high fives and is really wonderful with our other dog, Avery.
Avery, is the other cafe dog. He is little. Also a rescue of sorts. We got Avery, here in Austria from some breeding operation gone brutally wrong. The situation was very bad. The overcrowding was extreme and we were only interested in a very small dog at the time. We bought him not just to save him from a bad situation but also to make the bad situation if not good for all the other animals in that house that were so jammed in that they couldn’t turn around, at least a small bit better for them. When we got him home he was rather ill. We ended up taking him to the vet and he had to be put on some kind of antibiotics for a few days. He was tiny and only twelve weeks old. Soon as we got him in the front door, Yoda, was in love. Yoda has cared for him in ways I never expected. Yoda, always runs to his baby when his baby cries. He was there at night in the beginning when we all slept together in one bed to make sure no one got eaten during the night. Every morning we would wake up to find a phantom poo on the floor beside the bed. I did the measurements due to the size of the poo we knew it was Avery. But Avery was too small to get up and down from the bed. My husband swore he wasn’t putting Avery down or picking him back up in the night. I knew I was not doing it. One night I woke up in the middle of the night to use the toilet and the mystery was solved. There was Yoda, with Avery hanging out of his mouth carrying him back up onto the bed and there on the floor, was the phantom poo. They have been inseparable since the day we brought Avery into the house. Avery, pounces all over Yoda, chews on various parts of his body and face and once sat right on his nose. Yoda, makes no response just tolerates and loves his puppy. I will never forget what my husband said when we bought Avery, from that house of hell. He said, “I am glad they didn’t ask for more money for him… Because, I would have given them a thousand euros if they had asked. I would have given them every penny in my bank account. That place was such a hell hole.” When we had arrived to see Avery, we had only gone to look, and maybe buy but probably not, because we were on a very tight budget. My husband the humanitarian, would have paid for Avery, over our utilities and rent if necessary. I have never been so touched or proud of anyone in my whole life.
They are both wonderful boys. One of their favorite things to do is to sit just outside the kitchen door, watching me in the kitchen making lollies, or bread, or chicken breast cooked in lemon and lavender sauce. They sit there and watch me clean the mess. But they know, they must never set one paw inside the kitchen.
For me, living here in Austria, with my dogs able to come with me everywhere has been really nice. I have to say, I tend to think that the best way to judge a people, is by how they treat the most vulnerable living things in their society. Going by that measure and observing the love and respect and dignity the Austrian people afford their dogs… I find the culture and the people of this country might be some of the most brilliant I have ever had the opportunity to live amongst and to learn from.
I hope that all of you reading this will let the cafe dogs of Cafe Primrose, into your hearts. Because, if they met you, you would be covered in love and doggy kisses because they would let you into theirs.