After savouring a few continental delights, I finally had to leave Silke and Bavaria behind to , once again, follow a call to the North.
Yes, it was time for a return to Sweden, but this time in the summer !
On this journey – for a change – I was not traveling alone, but I was taking along a trusted companion : our Hungarian Vizsla “Mia”.
Mia had – unplanned – weathered the COVID19 lock down in Stade, near Hamburg, in Germany and had been utterly spoiled with endless walks and fine food by my kind sister-in- law Ute. It was with a very heavy heart that she let the ginger canine go with me and admittedly I felt a bit guilty for taking her out of her comfortable existence.
Luckily it didn’t took much convincing to make her jump into my already pretty packed car (a fairly normal situation vets’ dogs find themselves in….) and Ute had to rush off, to spend the next 2 months on a sailing boat on the North Sea, which admittedly hadn’t been Mia’s thing….
Traveling with a dog is automatically changing the dynamic of a journey, as you are forced to make more stops and certain modes of travel – like motorbiking or flying – are no longer possible or at least not practical. This not only gives you more time to think and to reflect on the environment you are finding yourself in, it also helps with social interaction.
John Steinbeck described this half a century ago in his “Travels with Charley” – the standard poodle who joined him on his epic search for America. When Nansen made his historic winter crossing of the Hardanger Vidda, to attend a skiing competition in Oslo, he only took a dog with him – probably because he couldn’t encourage anyone else to join him….. So I was just following in very big footsteps…..
Mia’s excitement to go on a journey didn’t last very long though, because as soon as we boarded the ferry from Rostock to Trelleborg, I had to fit her – for the first time in her life – with a muzzle.
Thankfully the ferry was virtually empty (Sweden is at the moment not a very popular tourist location, unless you are Swedish….) and no-one cared very much for this canine dress code, so that for most of the crossing we could do without it.
Sweden is a bit of a dog’s paradise with the potential though to turn very quickly into hell…..
There are endless opportunities for outdoor life – you can go hiking, running, mountain biking or just walking and take your canine companion with you. Most dogs (including Mia) are health insured and at least in rural locations like Dalarna, people are in general very dog friendly and accommodating to the needs of dog owners.
Possible problems though – especially for sheltered canine souls from more Southern climates – can be the weather (with snowfall in the mountainous areas even in the summer), with possible encounters with the native wildlife which include wolfs, wild boars and snakes and – in Mia’s case – the exposure to swarms of mosquitos in July and August.
But all in all – especially since being the only dog and hence the permanent centre of attention in a house of traveling veterinarians missing their own dogs, I think Mia is not complaining about her little adventure.
She now comes to work with me every day, getting a few extra hours of sleep in one of the kennels at the clinic, before being “stolen” by one of my colleagues.
Well, Mia doesn’t mind as long as there is an extra walk in it for her or if someone is cooking and – very important – is accidentally dropping some food on the floor……