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Dog Summer (JB)

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Júlíana Björnsdóttir's picture

The Icelandic summer is notorious for bright nights. For many a visitor, the never-ending daylight is problematic when it’s time to sleep, and even for some Icelanders too.

In summertime, the weather is as unpredictable as ever but the lows are mild in comparison to winter. Everything comes to life—albeit this year it didn’t occur until mid-June—and somehow a weight is lifted.

For dogs, this means an explosion of scents and the outdoors are the only place to be.

For dog keepers, this means a constant pressure to be outside, whether it rains or shines. Walks must include a swim to cool down and carrying a big bottle of water.

This is Emma’s third summer and its arrival hasn’t escaped her. She spends her weekends lounging in the garden, sometimes in the shade and sometimes in her corner if the sun shines her brightest.

My husband and I sit with her on our blanket and love nothing more than when she joins us and lets us stroke her. When she is thirsty, she drinks from her water bowl, sometimes filled with rainwater and sometimes from the tap.

We also go for walks to the beach where she swims like a seal. This weekend she got to swim with her mother a short drive from our place. They loved every minute of it and posed beautifully for a photographer who was there taking pictures.

More often than not, we also take her to the local dog park where she plays with her friends. This weekend, we were a bit too lazy, but I think she forgave us.

On weekdays, Emma spends the day at home while we are at work. It pains me to leave her, but there are no daycare facilities for dogs or professional dog walkers.

Therefore, I go to work a little earlier in the mornings so that I can be home earlier.

As soon as I’m home, I take Emma to the local dog park where she spends at least an hour playing with her friends. On summer evenings, she can walk in and out of the flat and lazily watch life go by in our garden.

When the rain starts to pour down she comes inside. But only if the rain is too much to handle. A little drizzle however, is delightful. For her, every day of summer is a day to spend outside.

It’s wonderful to be part of her world. When I’m too tired to take her for a walk, I feel the guilt building up inside of me because I know she relies on me for everything.

I know it’s okay to have a quiet day every now and then. But when you want the best for your beloved dog, it’s hard not to expect that of yourself.

Thanks to Emma, I see more of my surroundings. I wouldn’t take as many walks if I didn’t have her. My days wouldn’t start with the warm gesture of her presence by my side every morning. I wouldn’t know all the good people I know because of her.

She has truly enriched my life.

There was a time when it was illegal to have a dog in Reykjavík. It’s not always easy to have a dog in Iceland but to imagine it being illegal is ridiculous.

In my borough, dogs have a strong presence nowadays. More and more people have dogs and more and more parents want their kids to learn how to be around dogs.

A lot has changed and a lot needs to change to make things even better.

With time, keeping a dog in an urban household will become a tradition.

My dream is that one day dogs will be allowed to travel from Iceland to Europe (at least, preferably worldwide) with a dog passport, and upon return not be required to go to quarantine for a month.

To have a dog is beautiful thing.

Even though Emma insists that we spend all our time outside in summer—be it warm or cool—and wakes me up when the birds sing in the middle of the night, I’m just so grateful for her.

Júlíana Björnsdóttir – julianabjornsdottir(at)gmail.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.