Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dogs love European Restaurants

A major perk of being a dog in Europe is the ability to enter dining establishments alongside humans and fortunately for Erin this luxury was discovered not long after arriving in Germany. We began to explore our surroundings in our adopted hometown of Mannheim and while wandering the snow covered streets, back alleys, parks, and riverbanks I peered inside a window of a local restaurant where to my surprise, there was a dog camped out next to a table. I tied my expat dog to a chair, proceeded to inquire as to whether I could enter with Erin and before I could utter "danke" we were both upstairs near a fireplace getting warm, dining on German cuisine, and enjoying our new life together. It was a major coup for us as rarely would I dine in Europe without her thus she would not be subjected to spending additional time alone.

The restaurant became a frequent haunt for me and Erin thus the staff learned her name very quickly as well as my dining preferences. We were usually shown a table upstairs where we shared meals with other canines quite often and never was there any disturbance or unruly behavior amongst the dogs; many folks didn't show there was a furry beast lying at my feet until we got up to leave the restaurant. The dogs that were allowed inside were always well behaved with advanced obedience skills so it seemed as if this was an elitist social club for the crème de la crème of the canine world. Erin concentrated upon me following the fork as it went from the plate to my mouth, patiently she waited until I sneaked her chunk of steak or some home fries which she devoured in a heartbeat. On occasion's when traffic was light and no other dogs were in the vicinity, the waitress would bring her a few biscuits in addition to the human goodies she received.

Another favorite place to dine with Erin was a Mandarin Chinese restaurant in our subdivision; we were welcomed with open arms, spent many evenings enjoying the owner's company while sharing the delicious food. The owner spoke of his journey from Asia to Germany decades ago, his family and the restaurant while inquiring about life in America, my job in Europe, and the dog. The staff knew little English and since my German was iffy, I usually resorted to pointing at whatever items were desired. While communication was a challenge, one thing we had in common was Erin whom the wait staff doted upon on a regular basis, they ensured she receive a decent amount of attention every visit. Dozens of visits and another dog inside can't be recalled, they were seen outside under the umbrellas with their human companions but it was peculiar that no other made their way inside, wonder if an exception was made for us. When the owner was informed of our move to Kosovo, he showed lots of emotion while exhibiting more love for Erin than ever before, it was very heartbreaking to say goodbye and witness his final moments with my girl.

 I did my best to locate a dining facility that welcomed dogs regardless of the location and success was achieved in many Western Europe countries. Some were less than desirable, barely suitable for a dog while others were fit for a queen or a doggie queen in this case. Decadent meals of excess were savored in the heart of The Swiss Alps, Belgrade, and France; these feasts were amazing in every way and Erin was the lucky recipient of table scraps that most folks would die for. Perfectly situated in the position to receive maximum food with little effort, she remained motionless until my attention was directed her way and huge slabs of beef, pork, veal etc. was gobbled down with bliss, and she certainly ate well across a dozen countries. On reflection those heavenly meals shared with Erin have topped most in terms of quality since returning to America and I feel so privileged to have spread the wealth with my best friend.

 A dog-friendly establishment in Innsbruck provided a very memorable meal as I wandered in with Erin where she promptly laid down under the table. Tugging and pulling on the leash soon began and she wouldn't stop despite my pleas, turns out the majority of tables had a dog underneath and a massive white creature was trying to say "hello." Released from my grip she strolled over to greet the Austrian beast, the folks sitting at the table before visiting a few more tables and then finding her way back to me. Always the social butterfly she was in her element and this was before the assorted meats, cheeses, and pancake soup arrived, then the good times really started. Nothing like strips of pancake soaked in broth to get a dog's attention; she scarfed down the semi-cooled treats as if it was her final meal and resumed socializing with dogs and customers alike.

 From Amsterdam to Northern Greece, we had so many memorable experiences as hundreds of meals were consumed in the company of each other and I can't ask for anything more. They provided opportunities for us to strengthen our bond and love while spending additional time with each other, not to mention the shared fabulous food. She was the perfect travel companion as well as my best friend!! RIP Erin!!


  1. What lovely memories you have. I think I would have loved to sit under your table!


  2. Your posts always bring a tear to my eye, firstly because Erin reminds me of Toby - my dog - and I can't imagine life without him and secondly because you and Erin were lucky to have each other and you still seem to have so much love to share.

  3. How awesome that they let dogs come into restaurants like that! A great way to share a meal with a furry friend while traveling or going out for the night...that way you don't feel like you have to compromise and leave her at home!

    I love reading about your adventures with Erin :) I've been thinking of you recently because my son still has a hard time about the dog that prematurely left us last year , Rocky. He was very much a part of our family and died unexpectedly from an undiagnosed kidney disease. We've gotten another pup since then (I admit it was to fill the void). My son, only three, still doesn't get everything yet...he keeps saying he wants to take a pick up truck and drive to heaven to get Rocky back and will leave Olive there instead. I try to explain things to him but he's still very young. Anyways...I felt like sharing that with's hard losing the furry friends we grow so close to but they certainly do bless us with the memories.

  4. I appreciate the nice comments, it certainly means alot to me.

    @Lucy. Hope you embrace and cherish the time with Toby because their lifespans are limited. Amass all the memories you can to last a lifetime. Godspeed to yourself and Toby!!

    @Jessica Sorry to hear about Rocky and the difficulty your son is having with the loss. I'm sure it must be so hard. Hopefully in time the pain will lessen and he'll learn to embrace the new family pet. The sad truth about dogs is they die much too soon :( God Bless!!

  5. Many California restaurants will let dogs dine outside on the patio but rarely inside. Erin was a lucky girl to have all the experiences she had and especially to have you at her side.

    We lost our dog Beau to old age. He was our camping and traveling buddy. I still cry, 12 years later, when I look at his beautiful photos. He was a gorgeous German Shepard we'd gotten at the Human Society and one of the best dogs we'd ever had. He loved eating on restaurant patios and visiting with the other dogs there. His greatest joy was running on the dog beaches of California playing in the surf and with other dogs. I particularly loved your post about Erin and the beach :D

  6. I wish India was as dog friendly as in Germany or Europe. It must have been such a pleasure being able to enjoy everything with Erin. That is another reason I do not want to have a pet now because I would like to take it everywhere I go but almost all places here do not allow dogs. I remember when I had this Dalmatian pup and we we would take it everywhere with us but we were not allowed in a restaurant or a hotel with a pet.

  7. @Mari Beau sounds wonderful, bet him and Erin would have loved to romp in the surf together :) Cali is alot like Savannah in allowing dogs onto patios to enjoy meals with humans. It woud be more openly accepted if dogs behaved more in public, too many unruly pooches ruining it for all. I befriended a 3 month old German Shepherd last saturday, what a cutie!! Btw, my first dog as a wee lad was a shepherd named Greta. Don't remember her but the pics show us loving on another lol. Thanks for stopping by!!

    @Rimly Europe is unlike very few spots on earth in terms of dogs in restaurants, don't know how they get away with it with health codes but thankfully they do :) Thanks for commenting!!

  8. Not all places in Europe are equal, Germany is one of the best in this respect. Dogs used to go places with their owners usually behave really well.


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