At 14, I joined the ranks of the Viennese pet-owning public when – for a brief stint of six weeks – I adopted an adorable short-haired black and white puppy named Kuro. My after-school bike rides through the Prater were replaced with frenzied dog walks and many repetitions of the words “Sitz!” “Fuss!” and “Aus!”
Public transport was my next challenge, encountering a school class of 20 eight-year-olds, whose teacher was trying to keep them together and imploring them to pipe down, while two older women rolled their eyes, even after the children got up to offer them seats.
Kuro loved the excitement and the kids began petting her. Rookie dog-owner that I was, I struggled to maneuver the obligatory muzzle onto my new “best friend” – without avail. She growled (adorably) and bounced around, apparently thinking it was a game. I glanced up as the eye-rolling ladies frowned in my direction. “Yikes,” I thought. I was about to get reprimanded for not controlling my pet. To my surprise, their faces lit up. “Jo mei, is des ein putziges Kerlchen.” (Aww, isn’t that an adorable little guy.) I was dumbfounded. Misbehaving in Vienna was simply more acceptable if you’re a puppy.
In 2017, Austrians spent €1.2 billion on their pets. We also learned that Austrians eat almost 100 kilograms of meat per year, keeping the Alpine republic at the high-end of global meat consumption. In our cover story, we ask whether loving animals, both as pets and on the plate is a contradiction. In our business story we look into an industry that has developed from the unsettling reality of how our animal-heavy eating habits may damage the environment.
To further understand the various shapes animal love can take, we’ve profiled four people who work with and for our four-legged friends. To prepare those who are thinking of acquiring one, we guide you through, “How to Keep a Dog in Vienna”.
But domesticated creatures are not the only ones to call Vienna home. In our City Life section, we outline the wild beasts that inhabit Vienna’s parks, rivers and urban landscapes, and this summer’s Grätzl takes you to the Lainzer Tiergarten, where everything from pheasants to wild boars roam free.
In July, Austria is taking on a whole different animal: the EU presidency. To make sure you’re prepared, we’ve collected insight and opinion to help you make sense of it. Within the continent and beyond, all eyes will be on Austria, as the union tackles the issues of migration, digitalization and right-wing nationalism. Our guest editorial by Die Presse Editor in Chief Rainer Nowak asks how Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s fame factor will affect the Austrian presidency. While he sees the EU’s success at peace-keeping, investor, activist and philanthropist George Soros writes that we should take action now if we want to save the EU from passing the point of no return.
But politics need not bog you down in. It is summer-time, and the city has plenty of fun and frolic in store for you in July and August. Get prepped for the festivals, open-air concerts, sports events and art fairs. Whatever grabs you, someone or something is bound to brighten your day. So remember,
Don’t be a stranger.