One thing I can safely say about Krakow: the residents of that city love their pets. Animals are everywhere—on leashes, in the air, on the sidewalks, in the restaurants. Polish people seem to lack the squeamishness that Americans have about animals mingling in human establishments. And for it, you don’t see an increase of disease or dishevelment. In fact, the entire city is well-groomed, from the dogs to the people to the streets themselves. This makes a profound statement about the way regard for animals is a proper indication of regard for life. If you care for the dogs and horses and the birds of your town, then you care for the people of the town as well, and the town itself. Nowhere is the inverse of this demonstrated in a more gut-wrenching way than Central Appalachia, where TARC resides.
Taking It All In
One afternoon while I was in Krakow, I took a stroll through the city with @gmuxx and @michelios. In just a couple hours of time, I took dozens of photographs of animals in downtown Krakow. I didn’t even see this many in New York City when I visited there last month with my own beloved canine Paige.
In Krakow, pigeons are fed rather than shooed away. They eat like royalty in front of the castle, hop about on tables picking through the remains of someone’s meal. No one shrieks in horror or chases them away. This post is a collection of the best photos I took that day, as well as some information about the city’s history with animals.
Love for the Fallen
In a city park by the river, a statue stands of a faithful dog who, like Hachiko, waited in vain for a deceased owner’s return. Dzok, or “Pies Dzok,” as named on the commemorative plaque, haunted the site of his owner’s death for an entire year before he accepted a home by a female resident of the community. This made such an impression on the people of Krakow that in 2001, they erected a statue in Dzok’s memory. Cupped in human hands, the monument of Dzok sits with a paw outstretched. This symbolizes dog fidelity and the unshakable bond between humans their canine companions. Today, that paw is buffed to a shine by the millions of hands that have reached out to touch it over the years.
“The most faithful canine friend ever, epitomising a dog’s boundless devotion to his master. Throughout the entire year / 1990-1991 / Dżok was seen waiting in vain at the Rondo Grunwaldzkie roundabout to be fetched back by his master who had passed away at the very site.”
Ancestors of the Palouse, the Nez Perce Painted Horses
Long before the Americas imported horses to the Natives, who in turn developed one of the most advanced breeding and equestrian programs in the history of the world, spotted horses had a strong presence in Europe. One example of this was the Danish Knabstrupper, an elegant warmblood with a dominant leopard complex gene. The Knabstrupper was equally suited for pulling carriages or performing complex dressage maneuvers. The bloodline has been so diluted over the centuries that questions have been raised about the existence of any purebreds left anywhere on the globe. However, the tradition continues in Europe with these colorful, athletic animals, as evidenced by the ornate carriage horse who made frequent appearances around the city on the day we were there.
In a small shop near the Wawel Castle, I took a photo of this spotted beauty from decades ago. It made me think of the American Appaloosa, named from the Nez Perce painted beauties who were bred into existence near the Palouse River in the northwestern U.S. Originally referred to as “A Palouse Horse,” they eventually became known as the “Appaloosa.” I’ve owned Appaloosas during the course of my life, and they are definitely a breed apart. Tough, rugged, and stubborn as mules, they are the horse you want underneath you in any dangerous situation. The Appaloosa is going to protect that Great Spotted Body at any cost, and as long as you remain astride it, you’ll be swiftly carried to safety whether you want to be or not.
Krakow Takes Care of its Pets
Within spitting distance of the INX Design hotel are both a pet supply store and a veterinarian.
Fun With Fotos
The following are random shots I took during my walk around the city. I was shameless in capturing these images—more than one person (including my companions!) surely thought I was nuts. But the result is completely worth it. Look at all these cute faces! And the occasional cute … well, not face. Some of the angles presented weren’t necessarily the best ones. LOL!
PUGnacious in Poland
Yorke de Blurr
The Good Shepherd
Somebody peed here.
Out for a Stroll
By the River
Twenty Steps for Every One of Yours
Blondes, Bicycles, and a Black Dog
And one last shot caught just at dusk:
I hope you enjoyed these photos! I certainly had a blast taking them. 🙂