We are all together in this. If there is one positive thing from this horrible pandemic is that we feel more united and stories of solidariety are widespread. Connecting is really important at a time when people may feel lonely and like never before technology allows us to fill the gap. We decided to make a vitual tour of the world to round-up stories of dogs in lockdown from all parts of the globe.
This post is the outcome of a collaborative effort with friends who brought in their friends from other parts of the world (special thanks to Maria!). If you have a story from a country not covered in this post, or would like to contribute by providing sources to official orders/regulations/guidelines, I’d love to hear from you – just leave a comment below this post or email email@example.com.
Dogs in lockdown from around the world
Fulvio with rescue Labrador/Collie cross Iside from a village in the hinterland of Milan
In Italy, the current lockdown rules on dog walking vary from region to region. Each of Italy’s twenty regions has its own order/decree that regulates lockdown restrictions and differences can vary widely. So there are regions where one can only walk their down within 200 meters from their home, others where walking the dog for their physiological relief is one of the activities considered necessary, others where dog walking is not expressly regulated. No-profit organisation LAV has compiled a handy comprehensive list of the dog restrictions issued by each region that you can find here (in Italian).
Iside says, “So boring! So strange! Whenever we are ready to go out for a walk and I see my human wearing the muzzle, I already know that we will not meet anybody… no friends .. no long walks or runs on the fields. Just smell the message of some other four-legged who left the track of his/her desperate message. We want that all this ends so we can get close to others and we can pass the 200-meter limit that we cannot traspass without the risk to be caught by police and pay an enormous amount of money!”
Felix with Camilo the pug, from Madrid, tell how the situation is looking there.
“There are no time restrictions on dog walks, but you can only stay 200 metres from home. The park we usually go to is right outside our door so nothing changed much for us. Police is monitoring that humans don’t take advantage of this to be out the whole day. Today, just in front of us, a lady was being fined because police had seen her ¨walking¨ the dog in 3 different places around the city. Camilo is very happy, he is used to be alone for most of the day and now that we are working from home he has 24/7 cuddles.”
Gretta, with Daiquiri from La Palma de Cerbelló
“La Palma de Cerbelló is a little town so they are a bit less strict than in Barcelona, but they are starting to stop cars to check why are they out. The town is very small and just next to the mountains, so we can go there for a walk, Daiquiri hasn’t noticed that much difference walking-wise, but as there are no people on the streets, when he goes to the balcony, he can’t be gossipy!”
For more information about dog restrictions during lockdown in Spain a newspaper article here (in Spanish).
Malte with Sissi, Kooikerhondje from Bavaria
Malte tells us that in Germany restrictions depend from each State. In Bavaria, people can go out (with members of their household or alone) only if there is a good reason to do so, which includes exercising and undertaking actions to care for animals, therefore walking your dog is permitted. In other States there are more stringent rules – for instance, in Saxony there has been one case that made headlines where police fined a person who had been found over 5 km from their home, but later they had to review their approach as Saxonian regulations were considered unclear insofar they establish that people can only go out “in the surroundings of where you live”.
Sissi normally spends her time between Bayreuth and the countryside and since lockdown has been staying in the green of the countryside, so not much of a difference for her, but even where she was in Bayreuth, says Malte, they would have the woods on the doorstep and the chance of good social distancing.
New York City, US
Jiro the Shiba from New York City (find him on instagram @jironemececk)
“So far in NYC there are no restrictions on how often or how long you can take your dog out. There are more police and local security encouraging people to move along but they have never approached us when we are walking Jiro. I was surprised to see our local dog park is still open and a few pups (~6) were there playing. Their owners did appear to adhere to the 2m distance. Overall our walks have been more quick and routine (3x per day about 15-25min). We see less dogs out and definitely noticed less dog walkers. Some of our friends are starting to groom their dogs for their first time and they wonder how long their tools will take to arrive by Amazon due to increase online shopping and because many local shops have shut. All elective procedures at our local vet office is postponed so our female puppy friend has to wait before getting spayed.
“We have a friend who is a dog owner and was advised by CDC to self quarantine because of contact with a positive patient. Under CDC guildelines they said she had to stay 8ft from her partner in their apartment at all times and could not walk the dog. Just this weekend another friend of ours took their shiba out to the national parks for a hike and there does not appear to be any restrictions there.
“It’s not so bad for us, we live near the pier and Jiro enjoys the open space there. We’ve not scheduled our weekly meet ups with other pups and as we rarely run into as many dogs on our walks now and this has made Jiro a bit more anxious/excited when he does go out or does see another dog. Now that we are both home, I’ve noticed Jiro also asks for more food and gained a little weight (which is good because he was a little slim before). And on a lighter note, our neighbor and I made an agreement recently to leave both our front doors open so Jiro can run around both apartments and also help entertain the neighbors. It’s already become a weekly thing!”
Jose with Spanish rescue dogs Maika and Dankje, living in Brussels – who previously used to live in London
“You can go outside to exercise, so you should take your dog out at that time. Feels like there are people outside who didn’t go out that much before. No restrictions on time or times you can be outside, but people are encouraged to not be out for too long.”
Emily, from Oloumuc
“You can go outside to walk the dog but alone or only one other person from your household. Parks are open but outside ply areas and sport pitches are taped by the police. If you go out without a face mask you’ll be sent home. Dogs used to be allowed in supermarkets but now some shops are saying no.”
More about lockdown here.
Miss Lillie Whippet, from Amsterdam (find her on instagram @miss.lillie.whippet)
“In the Netherlands there’s is no full lockdown which means you are allowed to be outside but of course you need to keep the 1.5 m distance. Having Lillie helped me unbelievably as I have more regular walks preferably in empty streets early in the day or late at night! I have long walks and I try to visit nature where there are not a lot of passers by!”
Photographer Emma O’Brien tells about lockdown with her 6-dogs pack in South Africa (find her on instagram @emmaobrienphoto)
“We’ve been in lockdown in South Africa since Friday 27th March. Our coronavirus numbers are still relatively low, however the strict measures are in place to protect people living in informal settlements and townships. The dense living conditions and the fact that many of these people are already immunosuppressed as a result of HIV and Tuberculosis infections places them at serious risk if they contract Coronavirus.
“I’m self employed and mostly work from home, so to be honest, I’m not too phased by being told to stay in the house. My fiance however is not enjoying being housebound, and has taken to going out for a drive around the block each night to stay sane, and my daughter is bored stiff. We’re not allowed to walk the dogs outside, so I’ve been doing some basic training exercises with the younger dogs to keep them amused (we’re working on a ‘corona play dead’ which will involve a cough and a play dead), the older dogs are sleeping all day as usual. I actually think we’re interrupting their routines by all being here, LOL. Due to the fact that it’s not really feasible to walk dogs here (there are no pavements in our neighbourhood) and we have a big yard, our older dogs are used to not going out, so the lockdown hasn’t left them frustrated.
“Many animal shelters here were asking for people to foster dogs during the lockdown as movement restrictions would compromise their ability to look after their dogs and cats (several shelters have now got staff living in) so we offered to foster a puppy, I also thought it might keep Edward and Victoria (the youngest of my dogs) busy too. Max [pictured above] is from CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) and I chose him because he was young enough to fit in with my pack (I have 6 dogs) and also because he was hiding in the kennel. Being in a home environment has helped him to come out of his shell and I’ve shared pictures of him to help him find a new family.
“We did a proper shop before lockdown, so we’ve got 40kgs of dog food to keep us going along with plenty of tinned food. I’m making the most of the quiet time in my business and enjoying spending time with the dogs and my family.”
More about the guidelines in South Africa here.
Sarah with a dog family of 5: daddy Boss, mummy Babe and with their unica hija Piper, and their rambunctious sons Pierre and Sprüngli (find them on instagram @babe_and_boss)
Sarah recounts, “Most apartment buildings in the city have limited dog walks but for subdivisions like ours, we humans just follow proper distancing from other pet owners when we take them out for a walk.”
Jeremy with rescue dog Jolie, in Seoul
“There aren’t really any quarantine restrictions in regards to dogs. There aren’t really any quarantine restrictions in regards to people either since we’ve never been on any sort of mandated lockdown. Unless you have an ever-more-restrictive travel profile or come into contact with a known case of COVID, you’ve been free to come and go just like any other era in human history when people just sneezed into the common air with nary a thought for covering their mouth holes. Consequently, no special precautions have been announced in regards to dog walks.
Where quarantine has affected dog walking, however, is that dogs are getting a whole lot more of them. This is only anecdotal, of course, but since most people have been observing social distancing protocols on their own, and since the places people would normally pass their recreational time – the gym, cafe, bar, movies, baseball game, shopping – have either been shut down or are being avoided, the only way left to have fun is to walk your pup. Before the COVID thing it felt like we’d see maybe two or three other dogs per walk, but since then the walkways have felt like a doggy nightclub, just dogs grinding all up on each other, less out of physical attraction and more because there’s just no space on the streets to slip past each other with just a butt sniff and nothing else. It’s been both a pleasant and unpleasant development for me because it’s always nice to say hi to as many doggos as possible, but it’s also a little annoying because dog ownership culture here isn’t the same as what I’m used to in the States. People generally don’t socialize their dogs well here so always have to be on the lookout for fistacuffs. I think my dog likes it though now that she can finally put more faces to all the pee scent she’s usually investigating.
“Since mid-February nursery schools and daycares shut down so might as well be state-mandated lockdown since I’m stuck at home with my toddler all day long. As far as my pup is concerned, she’s unsure if she prefers lockdown or not. On one hand, I’m home all the time now since I’m a teacher and am definitely not leaving every day to teach somewhere that isn’t our sanitized home; on the other, my three-year-old son is also home all the time and is going through the “torture the poor, sweet family dog” stage of cognitive development. He’s not particularly vicious, but where she’s been really stressed is our walks. Before all this mess was mostly just the two of us smelling the flowers blooming, but now I have to take both of them out at the same time, and since he’s a walking lizard brain I’m constantly shouting things like: “Stay out of the road,” “Don’t put those poisonous mushrooms in your mouth,” “Don’t rub those poisonous mushrooms in your eyes,” “You can’t follow those girls home,” “Stop licking the slide,” and “Stay out of the road.” My dog is unfortunately spooked by loud male voices, so our walks have been a little stressful for her. I think the constant leashing has contributed to that as well. I do make sure to reward her with an extra long walk, just us two, once my wife has finished work and takes her own turn peeling our son off the walls. She seems to sense the late night walk is to compensate for the shenanigans she’s had to endure recently so takes a lot more liberties, like disappearing into the botanical abyss behind my housing complex or chasing the occasional water deer that wanders out of the hills.
“Jolie is our little Sleeping Beauty – jolie meaning “sleepy” in Korean and “beautiful” in French. We adopted our Disco Princess off the streets when she was five months old from a rescue organization that sets up a little booth on the main thoroughfare in our neighborhood at the time. They bring a different group of dogs out every week, and one week they brought the pup my wife had been following on their Instagram page, so she scooped our Jolie up and told me we had a dog now. Jolie is a sassy young lady (five years old now) who gets along with most dogs but loves people ten times more. Homegirl is a medium-sized mixed breed (Jindo and who knows what) and is out of place as far as adopted dogs go here, so she and I – foreigner – get a lot of looks. There’s a very strong preference for pure breeds in Korea, especially small white ones, and Jolie is considered a dong-gae – a shit dog. The nicer term is nureongi (yellow dog), but both terms are pejoratives referring to dogs that generally aren’t kept inside, hence the looks. But Jolie is a great ambassador for both shit dogs and larger breeds. Despite standing about 32 cm tall she’s still considered big here, and people consequently respond to her as if she were a wild tiger. But she’s also very calm, sweet, and affectionate, and people pick up on that very quickly. I don’t know if Jolie’s changed any minds about what is and isn’t normal for a pet dog, but I overhear people talking about how cute she is, and even the moms on the playground encourage their kids to play with Jolie now, which definitely wasn’t the case when we first moved to this neighborhood. She’s also a horrible hunter and a miserable guard dog: only barks if we’re home, otherwise come right in, burglar; the cash is under the mattress, the jewels are in the safe, and please rub my belly.”
Do you have friends from other parts of the world who have dog stories from lockdown to share? Get in touch at hello(at)thelondog.com