Written and with Photos by Markus
She’s my little princess and her favorite thing to do is go outside for walks. This I regularly do. Occasionally e go to the dog park, that is a 15 minute walk from my house. Or we go to the beach, that is a 20 minute drive. Most often though, we just walk around in my neighborhood.
Whatever it is, it is always the same. Not that she cares, but I do want to see some new things. So I found me a bunch of things to do that we can do together.
So I went to look for things to do where I can bring my dog along. To my surprise, I found places I’d never expected that dogs would be allowed.
First we went to the zoo. Yes, here in some zoos, dogs are allowed. And these are not small or otherwise different zoos. No, they are zoos as we’re all used to. But then with dogs. We went to Ouwehands Dierenpark: https://www.ouwehand.nl/. Its about a 90 minute drive from my house.
Booking was done online and buying a ticket for your dog is mandatary though very cheap. While driving there, I was dreaming about the interactions my little Roxy would have with all the animals there. How cute would it be for her to make friends with an actual wolf. Well, it didn’t work out to be like that at all.
When entering the zoo, at ticket check, Roxy got a nice little free goody bag with treats. I think this is a very nice touch, as humans get nothing.
First thing we ran into were the bears. Roxy couldn’t care less about these strong animals. She only had eyes for an 8 year old boy, eating an ice-cream. The boy though was very cute and shared his ice-cream with Roxy.
Then we hit the pelicans: a small lake filled with pink pelicans who were loudly chatting. Roxy couldn’t care less. She only has eyes for a buff brown German Shepherd, who, despite his size, ended up fully submissive, laying on his back trying to charm my little Roxy.
Then there were the lions. Right behind the window, a huge lion was lying there, looking at all the people (and dogs) passing by. I would have liked Roxy to look through the window and at least acknowledge the lion. But no. She couldn’t care less. She only had eyes for the seating area belonging to a hot-dog stand where she saw people (and their dogs) eating hot dogs. Obviously, we went to get one as well.
And on we went, to the panda’s. About 3 pandas were sitting and eating their bamboo. It’s a huge enclosure with walking bridges. We did all the bridges and got perfect views of the pandas. But you guessed it, Roxy couldn’t care less. What she was interested in was the gift shop, filled with stuffed animals. And as it happens, taking out the fluff of these things, is her favorite thing in the world. But when I told her no, you can’t have one, a shop worker overheard me and gave a small stuffed panda bear for free. Roxy, as expected, demolished this within seconds and was ready to move on to the next thing.
We then walked into a show of seals playing in the water and doing tricks. The indoor pool / theater was full with people as well as dogs. And guess what, all the dogs there completely ignored the seals and their show. They only had eyes for each other. Result: dogs “escaping” and running around, barking, pulling leeches, and so on. The show was only 10 minutes, so luckily we could go quickly again.
In the middle of the park, I found a little grass field. Here a bunch of dog owners and their dogs took residence. Sitting on benches watching their dogs were running around, was the main attraction here. There was fresh water for the dogs to drink and other dogs to play with. And with a restaurant nearby and plenty of shaded seating area’s, it was actually quite comfortable.
So that’s where I ended up the rest of the day. Sitting there, doing what my little Roxy loves the most: playing with other dogs.
To put things into perspective, I drove 90 minutes and have 90 minutes to drive back. Add another 45 minutes, for a quick stop to pump petrol and check the lake that is there. I spend maybe 1.5 hours walking around and looking at the zoo animals. And then sit for 4 hours at a grass field, smaller than the same grass field in the dog park only 15 minutes walking from my house, watching Roxy do the same thing she does at home: Play with other dogs, chill in the shade, greet newcomers and run around in a circle.
Driving home, I realized that it turned out different than I envisioned. But Roxy was sleeping from an exhausting day of dog play and that is the only thing that really matters. But will I again undertake this journey? Probably not, because guess what, Roxy couldn’t care less. Maybe there’s a theme park we can go to? Let’s see.