As dog parents living in the US, we know many of the luxuries our dogs have living in the states. From dog-friendly stores to thousands of canine-only parks and special events just for our best friend, we all know that our pups have it pretty easy in the states.
But what about the rest of the world? We wanted to find out. So, we researched what it is like to be a dog in different countries. Our first stop in our series Dogs Around the World is Finland.
The country known as the Land of a Thousand Lakes is pretty much a paradise for our four-legged friends. Thanks to a special rule, dogs can enjoy romping through national parks and forests and swim in the country’s approximately 180,000 lakes.
“We have ‘Everyman’s Rights,’ which gives you the right to roam freely in natural areas like forests, lakes and rivers, without permission from landowners,’” says Linda Paaja, the momager of famous Instagram German Shepherd Julius. Dog lovers take full advantage, using their time off to bring their furry best friends hiking year-round and swimming in the summer. There’s plenty of activities available for city dogs too with over 80 dog parks just in the country’s capital city Helsinki. They even have “dog toilets” and dog beaches.
Besides pets (or the more PC term “companion animals”), the country employs a multitude of working dogs, including police and army dogs, cattle dogs, medical alert dogs, guide dogs and even the occasional reindeer herding dog.
“There are also lots of dog enthusiasts who train and compete with their dogs,” says Paaja. Finnish dog teams excel in agility, obedience and IPO, a three-part sport that includes tracking, obedience and protection, in international competitions. And of course there’s dog sledding adventures.
To get the deets on a dog’s everyday routine, we chatted with Paaja and Anna Ruuso, the momager to Instagram famous dog Foxy, a Welsh Corgi Pembroke.
A Day in the Life
“Dogs are definitely part of the family,” says Ruuso.
Foxy guards the home while Ruuso goes to work. Afterwards, Ruuso takes her for an hour walk. “We live by the sea and that’s why Foxy is crazy about water.” In the summer season, Foxy goes for a swim almost every day.
As for Julius, he is lucky to be able to go to work with his mom, who works in a salon setting, and fulfill his lifelong ambition to be a professional napper. His “work” involves enjoying the attention and cuddles he gets from their customers.” At home, Paaja reports, “Julius plays with his Jack Russell sister and cat brother, and he takes care of the children in our family and works as a reliable guard dog.”
For the Finnish dog parents who can’t bring their pooches to work, their pups get to spread out and relax at home … literally. It is illegal to keep dogs in crates overnight or during work days in Finland.
“Finnish law states than an animal can be in a crate only for ‘transportation, illness or other temporary and acceptable reason,’”according to The Guardian. The article also states that the “premises must have sufficient space and lighting and it must be protective, clean and safe as well as appropriate in other respects taking account of the needs of each animal species.”
For those on the go, it’s easy to take their dog with them as they are permitted on public transportation. However, before sitting down, it’s considered good manners to ask if any passengers are allergic to dogs, says Ruuso. “People usually love dogs, and when we are talking about Foxy, people can’t resist petting her.” A well-known effect of being in proximity to a Corgi!
There are plenty of boutiques for dog supplies, including the necessary apparel to keep Finland’s dogs warm — and because, let’s face it, a dog in a sweater is ridiculously cute. Paaja and Julius love going to their favorite shop, Murren Murkina, a “grocery” store for dogs and cats with around 100 different kinds of meat and bone products.
“People tend to really put an effort into taking good care of their dogs and providing them a good quality of life,” Paaja says. That includes an interest in healthy food and nutrition, adding “more and more dogs are eating raw food.”
Most importantly, Finland is enlightened about breed discrimination. The country does not have any breed restrictions or breed specified rules, says Paaja. “The public opinion is that the other end of the leash is responsible for any conflicts that may happen. Not the dog or the breed.”
“Dogs have a pretty nice life here, and they are well cared for,”Paaja says..