Seriously. It's true. And not the dog you think.
Mr. Wild Dingo had a bright idea to take the dogs to Lucerne on one of his days off earlier this month. Since it's known to be one of the most picturesque mountain towns in the world, I thought it would be a fabulous dog walking venue. The dogs are familiar with big towns and small cities, having been to Lausanne often and a long weekend in Lugano last spring, not to mention the towns in California. A two-hour car trip Northeast, a whirl around the town and then off to a hiking vista shouldn't be a big deal, right?
So Mr. Wild Dingo gave the dogs a good 1-hour walk where they took care of their business and were pretty much empty before the long car trip.
Loki surprised us with a sub-crack threshold for most of the trip until we got off the highway and then just couldn't contain his yappy excitement. After Mr. Wild Dingo's "Lets go home, we can't find parking and I'm about to lose it with the cracker yipping" hissy-fit (Internet, it's not easy managing 3 child-like souls), we used our intuition and found parking at the Gare. There's always parking at the town's Gares. I even caught a hold of the information office on the way and found a clean, pay-for-use, bathroom at the train station. Within 20 minutes of getting out the car, the dogs got to experience the information office, the busy train station and the waiting room outside the pristine public bathrooms. Every time we passed the escalators (and we passed them 3 or 4 times) Loki looked at them as if "No way Jose! Not again!" So we always took the stairs. But it did give me plenty of chuckles to see him look at the escalators with "fond" memories.
Still through it all, my cracked-out dog was fairly grown up. Not a peep out of him. Not even when we saw the in-tact muzzled pit bull.
The town was absolutely delightful and I'm excited to return to it. It was everything it lived up to from the descriptions. Chapel Bridge is a 14th century covered footbridge that spans the River Reuss, protecting the town from attack. The octagonal tower served as a lighthouse, a prison (are we surprised?) and a treasury. Painted scenes of Lucerne's history cover the bridge, telling stories of St. Leodegar and St. Mauritius, the towns martyrs and patron saints. In 1993 the bridge was partly destroyed in a fire but was rebuilt and restored.
It's the oldest wooden bridge in Europe and the symbol of Lucerne. So it seems the appropriate place for Juno to have her first melt down.
Up until then, everything was going fine as we wandered into the old town. Until we walked through the cafe area next to the water. The area was jam-packed with people walking and dining. There were tons of dogs of every breed and size, every other restaurant we passed, sitting quietly under the table, unphased by the cracker or the criminal passing them only inches away.
But Juno was pulling in a way she never pulled before. We made our way out of the crowds and into a more spacious area when a German woman stopped us to compliment the dogs. She asked where we were from and when we told her we were Americans living in Switzerland, she asked how our German was. "About as good as our French," we replied. As in: "We don't speak a word and when we do everyone instantly switches to English anyway."
No sooner after breaking away from her, a group of Chinese and Russian tourists stopped us for photos with the dogs. Seriously. Juno was definitely not interested. We politely made our excuses and moved on to walk the covered Chapel Bridge wooden footbridge. Three-quarters of the way through, as I was enjoying my mountain view, I heard Mr. Wild Dingo, who was handling Juno, exclaim "Oh NO!" I turned and found Juno half squatting, half trying to run away in shame in the middle of the wooden bridge with a bucket of diarrhea shooting out of her jodhpurs. I've never seen Juno poop in an inappropriate place. In the three years I've had her, she's been rock solid in terms of temperament. Nothing phases her. Though she's not instantly affectionate with strangers, she made an excellent therapy dog because she'd perform tricks, engage and then warm up to them with a gentle kiss or paw shake. Which to me told me she was appropriately cautious to strangers but certainly never too afraid. So this new nervousness was a bit of a surprise to us.
Mr. Wild Dingo had the pleasure of cleaning up that mess while (what felt like) 11,000 people passed and starred. Oh well, shit happens, right? Thank Dog my dog knapsack was stocked full of tissues, wet-ones and dog bags. After the mess, we made our way toward fewer crowds and to the outer city walls for a walk.
And what a beautiful walk it was. I think all of us loved it. While there were plenty of people enjoying the walk, none of them seemed to want more to do with the dogs other than a smile. For once the views held everyone's attention instead of fussing over a Husky. Are you bored yet with all the Alps photos?
Because if not, here's one more with the city wall.
And a photo of its towers which I read are available for climbing for even better views. Though I can't imagine how much better. Because we were pretty stunned just on our walk.
We got hungry so we headed back down to town for a bite in an outdoor cafe. Only as we approached that busy cafe area again, Mr. Wild Dingo felt Juno pull again. So we decided to look for a quieter location. But it was too late. Before we knew it, Juno was in her half squat again with diarrhea shooting all over the ancient cobble stones of Old Town Lucerne. The thing is both times, there was hardly anything inside her because that she had emptied before the trip. It was obvious that this was not a bug or sickness. We took Juno's cue and cut our visit short.
I'll say it again. The cracker impressed me that day. Sure I was in "high management" mode with him, but he held himself together and we all had a really quiet ride all the way home.
Juno? The sweet thing must have been stressed. Having had the crap scared out of her twice that day, not only did she sleep like a rock, but she was intolerant enough to take up most of the back seat and not to let the cracker push her into a corner as he usually does. In fact she even used him as a pillow once or twice. Even Juno has her limits!
Regardless, we loved Lucerne and we'll be visiting it again soon. Sans chiens!