Anyone who knows me for more than five minutes becomes acutely aware that I am truly obsessed with the City of Light. Yes, Paris is the place for me. Since I was a child, I have been enamoured with Paris; the culture, the language, the history, the romance.
More tourists visit Paris each year than any other city in the world.I made my first trek to Paris a few years back. The first time was, of course, a long-time dream that had come true. After studying the city for so many years, it felt like I was finally home.
It was a strange feeling to experience such familiarity with a place that I had never visited before. Oddly, I felt as though I had just returned back home to Paris from a very long vacation.The famous landmarks were right where I knew they would be, on the streets just exactly where they belong. The incredible food and, the sheer presentation of each meal, were just as I had imagined they would be. Life in the bustling metro stations and the crowded city streets buzzed by with urgency, as I had expected.
But one thing was so different than I had ever imagined; in Paris, everywhere you look, there are dogs, dogs, everywhere!.It is a dog lover's delight! Canine companions are welcomed everywhere in the city. Pedestrians speed by on foot, with dogs in tow on leashes and tethers.
Up and down the streets every breed, big and small, is represented. Many of the small dogs are carried in shoulder bags or tucked safely under their owners' arms. The larger breeds are common, too; Great Danes, German Shepherds, Dobermans, etc.
, all wearing heavy muzzles.I asked a friendly taxi driver one day about these muzzles. He explained to me that all large dogs, regardless of breed, must wear the heavy-duty riveted leather muzzles to protect the public from possible attacks. The city police are very strict about the muzzle laws, and all violators receive stiff fines should they choose to ignore the laws. He told me that because there are so many dogs in Paris, the frequency of attacks had been on the rise, therefore resulting in the mandatory muzzling.
But the dogs that I saw didn't seem to mind a bit. They were happy and content to be an integral part of Parisian life.One of my favorite truly "French" lunches was a yummy croque-monsieur, loosely translated as a grilled ham and cheese masterpiece.
I spent many a sunny afternoon in small bistros tucked away from the city's fast pace, leisurely enjoying incredible culinary delights such as these. Many, many times, obedient dogs sat patiently in the company of their owners right next to us inside of the restaurants where we ate. And yes, they were welcomed patrons, often being served a morsel or two themselves. Coming from Montana, where dogs aren't even allowed in our city parks, this was amazing and delightful! Now that is a dog-friendly environment.I found it very interesting that the dogs in Paris look much different than our dogs do here in America.
While it was obvious what breeds the dogs were, there were subtle differences that made them look noticeably different. The hair type, length, etc., were basically all the same in the different breeds. However, the actual bone structure of the bodies, and especially the heads varied quite a bit from our versions of the same breeds.
It gave the dogs a different expression and a different overall presence. Even the mixed breeds were just a bit different than I've ever seen. For a dog lover, it was interesting to see the variations.Unfortunately, dog friendly also has it's drawbacks, which seems necessary to mention. It is a well-known Paris fact that one must be careful walking through the city's winding streets to avoid the deposits left behind by the French Fidos.
City council statistics show that 11.5 million dollars of taxpayers' money is spent per year to deploy special city workers whose sole purpose is to roam the streets and footpaths take care of the dog waste. But, for me, it was worth watching where I was walking.
After all, it's Paris! And of course, it is the "nature of the beast," n'est-ce pas?..Shannon Lynnes Heggem is an international speaker with a strong background in the pet care industry.In the 1990's, she established an upscale boarding resort and grooming spa in Havre, Montana. She then founded the Fast Track Institute of Pet Careers, a vocational school focused on pet-related careers.Shannon quickly became one of the top experts in the pet care industry, as an educator, business consultant, speaker, and contest judge.
She was the first Certified Master Groomer in Montana, and went on to become a Certified Kennel Operator. Only four people in the world actually hold both of these certification titles!.In 1998, Shannon's life was forever changed when she narrowly escaped death. She was viciously attacked in her kennel by a Rottweiler, and amazingly, survived.Since then, Shannon has overcome incredible obstacles to continue her life's journey.
The trauma was a turning point for her; she has now dedicated her life to writing and speaking, to help motivate others to succeed beyond their own experiences.
By: Shannon Lynnes Heggem