When walking the streets of Berlin the most common dog you will encounter is some manifestation of the retriever or another, a Pug or a Chihuahua. Contrary to popular perception, the city is not overrun with German Shepherds or Rothweilers as the rest of the world expects German cities to be. I keep running into more and more Shiba Inus, for example, Dachshunds and Huskies galore, and the ever-reliable plethora of Dalmatians, oh and let´s not forget the omnipresent hyperactive yappers extraordinaire, the Jack Russel.
I have yet to encounter a Corgi or Cocker Spaniel though, or some of my other preferred breeds like the Newfoundland, Samoyed, St. Bernard, or even the Old English Sheepdog. On the other hand, there are the more exotic ones like Chow-Chows or Leonbergers, whose sheer size just blows me away and I chance upon in the most unexpected places. There was an elderly woman I had to help one day who couldn´t convince her aged and very obstinate Chow to get into the car after their long walk, and the stubborn canine just sat there expecting to be airlifted like a puppy.
Berlin is an incredibly dog-friendly city, and there are very few places where they are not allowed in. In fact, just today the municipal office of Zehlendorf declared that their employees were henceforth allowed to bring their dogs to work. These creatures being duly registered tax payers and therefore granted access to public facilities, must comply with the rules and regulations like any other Berlin resident. This is Germany after all, Ordnung muss sein (order must prevail)!
My personal favourite is a Corgi and perhaps in another lifetime I will be fortunate enough to own one (and it should be willing to share me and my home with a Maine Coon and a Continental Giant Rabbit, aka the German or Flemish Giant). Should I not be able to have one, I would also be perfectly happy with a Basset Hound.
I pause for your laughter.
I have been very partial to this breed for as long as I can remember, and found their rather disproportionate physical construction both endearing and amusing, I suppose because I often identified with them – judged by the exterior and dismissed as being slow and clumsy. Not so.
The Basset Hound, as the French origin of their name implies, spends its life very close to the ground. Just because they are short, though, does not mean they are frail and delicate. On the contrary. Basset Hounds were not built for speed but for steadfastness and sturdiness, are difficult to train and tend to be overweight (hmmm, beginning to see a pattern here?). Like its kissing cousin the Bloodhound, the Basset is the second best sniffer in the world, thanks to their ridiculously long ears. Unlike the more formal Bloodhound, however, the Basset Hound tends to howl more than bark, something I have never understood.
That´s not all though. The Basset Hound stands its own ground in dream symbolism / interpretation – they represent discernment steadfast commitment to purpose, and challenges to learning new things. Ha! Well, I haven´t been dreaming of Basset Hounds, but for some reason I bumped into three of them on my way from the office to the subway station. The first one was cute, but by the third one I could have sworn there was a new conspiracy let loose around Berlin. Maybe I am going at this all wrong and should accept that like the swans, the appearance of the Basset Hound in my life is a foreshadowing of magical things to come.