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PETS

Dog days: Germany sees ‘extreme’ demand for pups during pandemic

The number of dog owners in Germany soared last year as people spent more time at home during the partial lockdowns.

Dog days: Germany sees 'extreme' demand for pups during pandemic
Four-year-old Havanese dog Mojito jumps through the snow in the Hofgarten in Munich earlier in January. Photo: DPA

According to the German Canine Association (VDH), 20 percent more dogs were bought by Bundesrepublik residents in 2020 compared to previous years, reported Spiegel.

Whether it was a new labrador or French bulldog, many people decided to grow their pet family.

“The demand is extreme,” said the chairman of the Rhineland-Palatinate VDH, Herbert Klemann.

Breeders are literally “bombarded” with calls and cannot breed as many animals as there is demand. This was already the case in 2020.

“And the demand is still there,” said Klemann. “The fact that the lockdown has been extended is pushing the whole thing even further.”

Due to more families and households spending more time at home because of lockdown measures, there's been a trend nationwide for pet owners increasing.

The number of people nationwide who want puppies is huge, said VDH spokesman Udo Kopernik. “Breeders are getting bombarded (with requests),” he said.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about having a pet in Germany

'Dramatic growth'

Among those who have recently decided on a new animal family member is Markus Söder, of the Christian Social Union.

The Bavarian state premier presented his puppy Molly on Twitter last week – and stole a little attention from his sister party and its new leader: on the same day, the Christian Democrat party conference started, the day after Armin Laschet was elected leader.

VDH spokesman Kopernik, however, is partly critical of the trend for new puppies.

“If parents give in to their children's desire to have a pup but don't actually want a dog themselves, it can only go wrong,” Klemann said.

He fears that many dogs could end up in shelters after the pandemic. “When people go back to work normally and the children can no longer look after the dog, then that becomes a problem.”

READ ALSO: 'A life without a dog is a mistake': Germany's passion for pooches

Commenting on the jump in dog sales, Kopernik said, “It's a dramatic growth, a big step in a very short time.”

In the past 15 years, he said, the number of dogs in Germany has increased from an estimated 6.5 million to ten million. Cities are also registering more applications for dog tax.

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CULTURE

‘People liked the silence’: How Berlin’s club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Berlin's clubs are suffering from staff shortages, a lack of guests... and neighbours who've grown used to the silence, representatives for the scene say.

'People liked the silence': How Berlin's club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Some operators from Berlin’s club scene are bracing themselves for a difficult autumn. For months now, people have been allowed to dance again and life has returned to normal in the dark corners of Berlin’s famous nightlife scene.

But the clubs have far from recovered from the pandemic. They face staff shortages, rising prices and the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions in the autumn.

“We go into the autumn with huge fear, because the omens are totally unfavorable,” said association head Pamela Schobeß.

Spring and summer went anything but smoothly, she said. “There has been an oversupply of events. People aren’t going out as much, and some are still afraid to move around indoors.”

Money is also an issue. “A lot of people are afraid of rising energy prices.”

The industry lost workers during the pandemic and it’s hard to convince them to come back with the outlook for the autumn looking so gloomy, Schobeß says.

Her colleague Robin Schellenberg tells a similar story. People have switched to various other jobs and would even rather work on a supermarket checkout, which may have been considered less sexy in the past. Now, he says, some have learned to love not having to work nights.

READ ALSO: 

Schellenberg runs the Klunkerkranich, a small club on a parking garage deck in Neukölln. Because a number of things have become more expensive, they have also had to increase their admission prices.

His impression is that people are going out less often and are deciding more spontaneously. In addition, people in the neighborhood are now more sensitive to noise. “Many people found the silence very enticing,” he said.

Some in the industry wonder what will happen next. Will club admission have to become much more expensive? Will that exclude people who can no longer afford it? And what happens if Covid infection numbers rise sharply?

If masks become mandatory indoors in October, Schobeß believes that would be bad for the clubs. “Even if we don’t get shut down by the state, we’ll actually have to close down independently ourselves,” she reckons.

Masks take all the joy out of the experience, she says. People have drinks in their hands and are “jumping around and dancing” and then security guards have to tell them “please put your mask on.”

The federal government is considering whether states should be able to make masks mandatory indoors starting in October. Exceptions should be possible, such as at cultural and sporting events, for people who have been tested, recently vaccinated and recently recovered.

In the event that Covid numbers soar, the states could then be allowed to tighten the rules and eliminate all exemptions.

READ ALSO: German court declares techno to be music

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