Written by Gaela LaPasta, (Cornell University) Student Correspondent CET Film in Prague, Spring 2018
In America, we may say that dog is man’s best friend, but in Prague the people hold this cliché near and dear to their hearts and follow it to the letter. Dogs can be found everywhere here in Prague from your local bar (and to be honest pretty much every bar) to the National Gallery! I know because I’ve seen them! Dogs hang out on the tram, in shops, and doggy water bowls abound in the restaurants and cafes in my neighborhood, Holešovice.
The omnipresence of dogs in Prague has not only made me feel instantly comfortable and happy here as I wander the street, ohhing and ahhing at the dogs of all sizes that I see, but it has also encouraged me to learn and given me a point of reference for better understanding Prague and Czech culture. For instance, one of the first phrases that I asked my Czech roommate to teach me was “Můžu si pohladit vašeho psa?” or (you guessed it) “Can I pet your dog?” Unfortunately, its really hard to pronounce so I’m still working on it, but! I did accidentally trick an antique dealer into thinking I was Czech with my amazing pronunciation of dobrý den, which means hello! So I will definitely master the dog related phrases soon.
Most restaurants, shops and especially bars have a couple canine patrons at any given time, but even better some have resident pups. There is an extremely popular bar here in Prague, which is technically called Vzorkova, but is known to all as “dog bar,” due to the large and friendly dog that is always there. I haven’t gotten a chance to even check this bar out yet though, because the lines are always very long- most likely the power of a big, fluffy pup. There are also numerous dog boutiques and pet stores here. Not only are dogs ubiquitous here, but they are also so well behaved and loved.
Although in America there are rare occasions where I see a very good dog who happily trots after its owner without a leash, here in Prague that’s the norm. I’ve even seen numerous little puppies, big silly paws and all, plodding after their owner sans tether. I really have no idea how these dogs are trained to follow their owners especially in the great hustle and bustle of Prague. All the Czechs I’ve asked have shrugged off the question, so I assume its just some very secret Czech magic.
Dog sightings might seem like a small, inconsequential detail of my time in Prague so far but to me it’s been a source of great happiness and comfort. I’ve been missing home, but seeing a dog walking down the street always puts a smile on my face and reminds me to fully enjoy the simple things.
There are a lot of differences between Prague and America that make me uncomfortable or confuse me, but the number of dogs is one that really makes sense to me. So, if you ever want to take your dog on a vacation, I highly suggest Prague. Your pup will be welcome everywhere you go, have lots of doggy friends, great parks to play in, and I would be happy to dog sit at any time! For free!