Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Danger: Vicious Dog!

Prague is, without question, a doggy city. Its numerous parks offer plenty of green space in which happy hounds may be walked, and dogs acquire almost the status of citizens with their free rides on public transport (usually muzzled) and their entry into drinking houses, where they have a tendency to approach complete strangers with a pleading look in their eyes, especialy when there's a tasty piece of klobása in the offing.

They appear frequently in the literature: Josef Čapek was the creator of an immensely successful children's series about the adventures of a dog and a cat ('Pejsek a Kočička), and his brother Karel also discoursed on the animal, declaring 'If dogs could talk, perhaps we would find it as hard to get along with them as we do with people'. In a similar vein, Franz Kafka's 'Investigations of a Dog' ('Forschungen eines Hundes') invests its canine narrator with self-consciousness and the ability to consider some of the big human and philosophical questions. In the first part of Jaroslav Hašek's masterful 'The Good Soldier Švejk', the ever-willing recruit puts his dog collecting skills to great effect when he kidnaps a lady's pride and joy from a Vinohrady park and delivers it to Lieutenant Lukaš, only for the latter to walk his new prize straight into the path of madame's outraged husband, the Colonel.

Were I a dog-thief like Švejk, today's house-sign (from Vinohrady, Prague 10, close to the Čapeks' house) would certainly give me pause as I delved into my satchel for that tempting bit of liver.


Gina Hearn said...

Good one! For me, the most noticeable thing about Prague and their dogs is that most of them are not dogs in the English sense of the word, but more like large rodents. And that they are regularly carried about in what look like a cross between a fabric doggy bed and a shopping bag. I suppose it's because they are more suited to flat-dwelling, but give me a German shepherd/labrador any day.

Karin @parosparadise.com said...

Glad to know what the sign says! I do love a good doggie (and that for me is not a yappy lap dog or one that fits in a bag). I found it interesting to see dogs (muzzled) on trams and Metro....but am not sure about the German Shepherd who growled at me from under the table when I got up to use the loo! And don't like the little (and large) gifts they deposit everywhere.

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