We have one final stop on our big European vacation. Another overnight ferry cruise takes us west through the Gulf of Finland to the city of Tallinn, Estonia. Estonia is a rich melting pot of history and style, having been at different times subjects of Denmark, part of the Swedish Empire, controlled by Nazi Germany, ruled by the USSR, and finally gaining independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
We spent three days in Tallinn and loved it, in part because of the beauty and culture of the city, but also because of how much the city loves its dogs.
We saw dogs, known there as koerad, everywhere from quaint cafes to parks to museums.
Dogs are welcome almost everywhere. We did see a couple places where they were off limits, but very few. Dogs are required to be on leash in the city, although a few ranged out on their own as we saw in Old Town. You can take your pup onto public transportation. As with many places in Europe, a dog is required to be muzzled while riding a train or bus, not because the dog may be a threat, but simply as a safety measure. It is a stark difference compared to the reaction I get when I am out with my muzzled dog in the US. As we saw in Saint Petersburg, dogs are also common characters in the artwork. Seems instagram may not be all that groundbreaking when it comes to people wanting to show off their pups.
Estonia itself readily identifies with the ancestors of the dog. The wolf is an extremely popular animal and the leading character in stories and legends, with more than five hundred names and stories about the animal according to one historian. As recently as the 19th century, wolves represented a serious danger to people, especially during the harsh winter months. The Estonian Lutheran Church has more than one hundred documented human deaths attributed to wolves in the first half of the 1800s. Dangers aside, the country chose the wolf as its national mascot in 2018, beating out the badger, fox, and hedgehog for the honor. Today, it is estimated there are about two hundred wild wolves spread out between 20-25 packs in Estonia.
That ends The American Canine’s big European adventure for 2019. I hope you enjoyed traveling along with us. Coming up as we head into fall, blogs on conditioning for winter training, new sport adventures, and some books you may want to put on your Christmas list.
Until next time, get out there and do something with your dog!