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What We Saw on the Subway

Well, on the tunnelbana, techinically. Stockholmers love their dogs, and every third person seems to have one. Unlike in the US, though, the vast majority of dogs you'll see here are purebred. While I've heard of cat shelters for unwanted kittens, there just doesn't seem to be the same kind of pound system for dogs that is so ordinary in other places. A large part of the reason, I'm told, is that dogs here are really expensive (well, aren't all purebreds from reputable breeders?), and maintaining one once you've got it isn't cheap either. The goal is that only those who really want dogs will make the effort to go out and get them. I can't argue with that--the less often a dog is a snap decision, well, the less often the equal and opposite snap decision might be made.

We see them everywhere. They are definitely around outside, walking, usually with their owners but sometimes in one of those amazingly well-behaved dog-walker packs. And lots of dogs get to ride the subway, too. We once saw several huskies of varying ages (Matt started getting really excited about the baby dog, and I was being all snarky and reminding him of the word "puppy"--that is, until I shifted in my seat and saw the baby dog being held by its owner and subsequently melted), and that was the most exciting thing until recently, when we saw one of these GIANT guys:

To give some sense of scale, male Leonbergers (and that's what we saw), can get to 170 pounds, although they average 140-150, according to Wikipedia. This one was sprawled on the train car floor, and although he was being very calm and demure, he took up all the room between the facing seats and part of the aisle.

Now when we have the what-kind-of-dog-should-we-get fantasy conversation, this guy definitely makes the list. Apparently as long as you walk them a couple times a day, they'll sleep at your feet, they love people, and they don't eat cats. Once I can get Matt to commit to taking charge of the poop scooping duties--hey, I do the litterbox--I'm all in. (With apologies to owners of long haired dashhunds, those dogs are not on the list...we can't be like EVERYONE else in Ostermalm. How would we ever tell ours apart at the dog park?)