I imagine it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to travel anywhere in Europe, or the world, and not find a love of animals in some form. German pubs, cafes and even shops are extremely accommodating when it comes to dogs and, thanks to that, they are everywhere on a sunny day in Heidelberg – dozing in the shade, swimming in the Neckar, speeding past in bike baskets if they’re too small to make it up the Haupstraße in the heat.
During my time on a farm in Lower Saxony taking care of the four dogs was one of my main responsibilities. The most memorable were a lurcher rescued from Nottingham, named Duke after the ‘famous Duke of Nottingham’ (I think they meant Sheriff but I didn’t have the heart to tell them!), and Semmel, a diabetic dachshund/terrier who wasn’t much use around the farm but who was spoilt rotten and is an indispensable member of the family. The countryside surrounding the farm is perfect for long walks or bike rides with the dogs, if shockingly flat compared to what I’m used to in the north of England!
The farm was primarily a horse ranch, which are extremely popular in northern Germany. With seventeen horses and two donkeys there was never a shortage of things to be done, but the work was never tedious and it always felt worth doing. Bringing the horses in to a nice clean stable in the evening became a very satisfying feeling! There were also plenty of opportunities to go out riding, and this fellow quickly became a favourite:
Amy Ainsworth – Heidelberg, Germany