English Girl in Vienna

Cultural Commentator

Archive for the tag “dogs in Vienna”

Cats and Dogs

I have blogged before about the special treatment that dogs receive in Vienna. I am still no more used to seeing dogs in clothes shops and restaurants and I am very happy to say that my prediction that one day I would see a dog on a bike came true. Well, the dog wasn’t actually riding the bike, that would be weird, but the dog was sitting in the front basket and, I assume, barking directions to its owner who was cycling. Unfortunately, I did not have time to get a picture of it, but I did, I am happy to say, get a picture of two pooches in a push-chair. Look at these pampered little doggies in a pram.

 

Dogs enjoying a festival from the comfort of their stroller

Dogs enjoying a festival from the comfort of their stroller

Recently, I have noticed that the Viennese are starting to love cats a little bit more. I came across a peculiar product in a famous chocolate shop where you can buy chocolate cats’ tongues. They are not actual tongues dipped in chocolate, which would be gross and I’m sure illegal, but are very thin pieces of chocolate shaped like what you would assume to resemble a cat’s tongue. Why you would want to eat something shaped like that, I am not entirely sure, especially when the pictures on the front are never really of a cute cat but of a fierce looking, hissing one, but that is the weirdness of Vienna for you.

 

chocolate tongue anyone? meow

Chocolate tongue anyone? meow

Since dogs can be admitted into any venue in Vienna, it automatically renders them cat-unfriendly, so the local cat population can be very happy to know that there is a special place for them in town. There is café Neko, a cat café, where you can take your cats or where you can go and simply enjoy being around the cats that belong to the café. Yes, I know, it’s weird. I went to see what it was like and yes, the things that bother me about dogs being everywhere i.e. worrying that dog hair is everywhere, wondering how hygienic it is, apply exactly to the cat café situation. The cats have cushions scattered all over the venue and have specially assembled shelves for them to climb, and if you take photos, it should be without the flash, so as not to offend the moggies. For me though, I soon had the feeling that I was breathing in cat hair and seeing as all windows are kept closed to prevent feline escape attempts, I felt somewhat claustrophobic. I didn’t stay long, but seeing as cats are pretty boring to watch, I don’t think I missed much. I am, however, pleased that the Viennese cat population has somewhere to go and drink coffee in peace without the threat of a dog turning up.

Read all about the cats whilst you choose your drink

Read all about the cats whilst you choose your drink

Hunde strictly verboten

Hunde strictly verboten

Dog in a clothes shop. You never see a cat in a shop do you?

Dog in a clothes shop. You never see a cat in a shop do you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So Now I Teach Dogs

Last night, in class the last student to arrive walked in with her dog. Then, she asked if it was ok for the dog to stay. I paused and said yes in a way which any Brit would know meant no. And I knew that she had asked a question that wasn’t really a question. It was a full class and space was limited and so the hound ended up next to me, very close to my feet. Close enough for a good kick. So I wouldn’t be tempted, I shuffled further round the table, closer to a younger male student who looked rather alarmed at his teacher wanting to sit right next to him. It’s not that I’m scared of dogs. It’s not even that I don’t like dogs, but who in their right mind would ask to bring a dog into an English lesson? Who would bring their dog to school? It’s a very un-Austrian question for me to ask. Perhaps the question should be ‘Why wouldn’t you bring your dog to class?’ because dogs are everywhere in Vienna. The Viennese love their pooches. Dogs are on trains and buses, on the underground and on the trams. One day I’ll probably see a dog on a bike. Once, on a three hour journey to Salzburg there was a dog in a bag on the table in front of us. Small enough to fit its owner’s overnight bag, it sat munching on bits of croissant it was being fed generally looking cute, but the one that was on the floor under the table panting, not so cute. Dogs have their own section in parks, called a Hundezone, which I refer to as the Poo Park. Dogs can be found in cafes and restaurants, even in pubs and bars long past when they should be tucked up in their kennels. Dogs can get into places that children and babies can’t. I’m slowly getting used to it, seeing dogs sitting on the floor drooling while the owners snack on plates of cold ham, used to seeing dogs lying round sleeping. And I’m happy to let sleeping dogs lie, but not, surely not, let one lie on my classroom floor.

And so, the hound, a smallish, whitish thing with a dirty coat lay on the floor and learnt some of the various forms we use to talk about the past. Well, he would have done had he listened instead of noisily licking his paws and making that dreadful clacking sound of a dry tongue working up some saliva. I constantly shot it looks, praying each time it wasn’t licking its bits; warning it not to even dare. He just raised his eyebrows at me then licked the floor.  

I was bothered for the entire lesson. The students didn’t even blink. Perhaps they did mind but were too polite to show it, all of them were very young and awkward with each other. Nor did they seem to notice how when the room started to heat up from having six people plus a dog in it, the smell of warm animal pulsed from the hound on the floor and filled the air we had to breath. I opened the window. I opened the door. I got cross when the owner asked to close the door again because of the noise from outside. I was in general cross at the owner, for being so besotted with the dog that she wanted it to speak English. And how did I show my annoyance? By rolling my eyes in a way that only I knew I was doing it and fidgeting, as is the British way.

Hundezone. Hang out for dogs.

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