Saturday, November 8, 2014

An American Dog in Slovenia and the Joys of Being Local

When we decided to move to Slovenia for the year we struggled hard with whether to bring our dog Bobo with us.  He's a huge sweetheart and a member of the family but it was going to be a large expense and massive hassle to bring him.  How big a hassle?  We would have to fly to Munich rather than directly to Ljubljana, because we needed to fly only on planes with a pressurized cargo hold, i.e., only huge planes.  Also, the Fulbright program would only pay for tickets on a US flagged carrier, so we had to fly on a codeshare Lufthansa/United flight, and Air Adria (the Slovenian airline) did not count.  Also, we needed to get him a doggie passport, which included another round of rabies shots and a new, international standard i.d. chip, and of course all of that had to be done within ten days of our flight, so the USDA could stamp "approved" on the reams of paperwork.  The USDA office conveniently located in Nashville, mind you.

And of course there was the question of whether Bobo would even want to come.  His "B" option was pretty solid: he could stay with our (and his) best friend Tina, who is like a second mother to him, and miss a transatlantic flight in a crate.

When push came to shove we could not leave him.  We knew moving to Europe would be hard for the girls, and nothing makes a rental in a foreign country homier than bringing your dog.  Here's Dahlia and Bobo as proof:

Bobo has been great.  He's missed Tina and all of his doggie buddies from Knoxville, but he's got a whole new round of sniffs and spots to pee on.  He also has a new favorite place to walk/swim: Koseve Pond.  It's a 20 minute walk or 7 minute drive from our place, on the north end of Tivoli Park.  It's a pretty spectacular spot.  On an early morning it is often empty, with gorgeous fog on the pond.

 It's got this big wooden deck that can be quite crowded on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

It has this modernist apartment complex behind it:

And an AMAZING view of the nearby foothills of the Alps.  and yes, that's Bobo out there chasing a tennis ball that I've thrown:
But the main reason we love it is because Bobo loves it.  Here he is awaiting a toss into the pond:
And here he is swimming:
It turns out it is sort of weird for a dog in Slovenia to be so into swimming and fetching.  If the park is crowded and I start tossing the ball for Bobo we draw a legitimate crowd that oohs, aahs, and even giggles as Bobo jumps headlong onto the water and swims as hard as he can.  Here's a Mom videoing Bobo while her son leans in for a better view:
Bobo does have some natural enemies though.  There is a pretty tough gaggle of geese that do not care for Bobo's interloping.  Here they are on land hissing:
Even more frightening was this battle formation as they swam towards Bobo in the pond:
Seriously, they swam very aggressively right at Bobo and only turned around when I almost hit their fearless leader with a rock.  Bobo was, needless to say, totally oblivious.  he even started swimming towards the swans to check out the splashes my rocks made.  Safety first for that dog.

And by the way, because Slovenia is super into exorcise, the park has a little area of exercise machines.  When Georgia comes with me, she takes advantage:
And of course Indya needs NO equipment:
Dahlia just comes and looks fashionable, wearing her pink boots, my jacket to stay warm, and her fake Elvis Costello glasses:
The great thing about this little pond is that we NEVER would have found it even if we'd spent a month in downtown Ljubljana.  The only reason we found it is because we're local and we're here for a while.  Aaahhh the joys of being local.  Yes, it's been quite a find for all of us.  Georgia captures the spirit of the place quite nicely:


  1. Each of you is so especially yourself...and Bobo is over the top!! He seems to do what comes naturally!!! Love this entry, now meanwhile: since you are writing here, Ben, could you put in a good word for me with the publishers to let them know that I am NOT a robot and I grow weary of entering those shadowy numbers every time. This ultimately could work to get me to keep my mouth/comments shut down! ho ho lv you