Today I read an ad in the local neighborhood newspaper. I moved recently to Stockholm and wanted to explore the area so I decided that my dog, Rabbit, and I would check out the advertised event.
The ad was for “All Dogs’ Day” over in an indoor mall near Karlaplan. The ad boasted a “dog café, coat care and nail clipping, agility, veterinarian consultations, dog photos, and more.
Rabbit and I walked to Karlaplan in the light rain. The first thing we saw was an “Animal Ambulance.” The uniformed man told us it was a new idea that came to Stockholm six months ago. The idea is that you pay approximately 300 kronor a year ($45) to be a member and support the service and then you get two free trips with your pet in the ambulance twice a year. They can be emergency trips or routine veterinary trips. I have never thought about such a service but since I don’t have a car, it could be a good thing to have available. What would I do in a dog emergency? I guess I would rely on friends or take a taxi. The taxi would be pretty expensive.
Inside, there were lots of people and lots of dogs in the central parts of the mall (none of the dogs were allowed in the actual stores.) I watched some dogs getting their picture taken.
In the next area, a group was giving out advice on taking care of your dog’s skin and coat. They were selling shampoo and conditioner at a very good price. I had been eyeballing the very same shampoo for Rabbit in a pet store but stuff like that tends to be very expensive in Sweden—for people and for dogs. So I bought some at the good price. I am sure Rabbit will get many compliments on how good she smells. (This said with irony since rabbit would rather smell like whatever she rolls in at the park!)
Dog owners are much calmer in Sweden. People just assume their dogs will behave well. They don’t sweat meeting other dogs. They also don’t seem determined to have their dog meet every other dog. There just seems to be less anxiety around dogs in general and therefore, the dogs, themselves, are less anxious. (I said in an earlier post that Swedish dog owners often want to know whether my dog is fixed and what her gender is. But it’s not that people are worried about it. They just want to know whether to allow their dog and yours to meet.)
Next, it was on to a mini agility course set up on a strip of artificial grass at one end of the mall. Rabbit, who behaved admirably well considereing all the people and strange dogs milling about, declined to participate in the agility. I didn’t blame her. Too many people watching. Too much performance anxiety.
Many dog-related businesses were giving out coupons for their services. One, a dog cafe called “Heavenly Dogs” (when translated) also offers “dog parking” in which they offer to dogsit your dog by the hour. I’ve never heard of a service doing that by the hour before. It costs 50 kronor ($8). It’s more expensive than “Doggy daycare” but that you have to pay for by the month.
It’s my experience that Stockholmers love their dogs. My neighborhood, even though it is in the inner city and full of apartments not houses, is chock full of dogs. I see people walking their dogs on the sidewalks, in the parks, along the banks of the river.
No wonder they had All Dogs’ Day in the city. It was a fun diversion for a cold Sunday afternoon in late October in Stockholm.