Hundreds of dogs brought a splash of colour to a grey September morning in Krakow, as the city’s annual March of the Dachshunds got underway – with many of the pets turning out in fancy dress.
It’s an event that has been a favourite for Cracovians and tourists alike since 1994, and is unique to the city. But this year, besides the spectacle, there was a very serious message for visitors.
Several stands were set up offering advice and information about all matters canine – with a special focus on safety and welfare. The charity Nobody’s Dachshunds (Fundacja Jamniki Niczyje) was at the event to boost public awareness of the need to find homes for abandoned dogs, while the Psi Los Foundation provided free tagging as part of the international SAFE-ANIMAL programme. Visitors could also get nutrition, health, training and behaviour advice from vets and other experts, and talk to the police and city guard about problems with aggressive animals or animal abuse.
For the truly pampered pooches there was also a dog accessory stand, a beauty salon, and information about pet-sitting.
Jamniki Niczyje’s message was particularly hard-hitting – leaving no room for misinterpretation about what happens to dachshunds that are homeless. The foundation is dedicated to one dog in particular – Agata, found on a freezing February day, clearly neglected, balding, and with serious inflammations. Unfortunately, vets diagnosed Agata with cancer and she died on May 2 this year. Jamniki Niczyje hopes to avoid the same fate for other dogs, by promoting adoption to caring owners. The charity admits that such a commitment won’t be for everyone, so all applicants are assessed to see if they are suitable dog owners. After a visit, the successful applicants will sign an adoption agreement and take their animal home. The charity aims to sterilise all dogs before they are adopted, to prevent adoption for commercial breeding and homelessness by uncontrolled reproduction.
Supporters can help the foundation even if they do not want to or cannot adopt a dachshund, by offering donations, transport, advertising and more. For full details, visit the website at jamnikiniczyje.pl. To find out more about pet tagging, animal welfare and protection in Krakow, visit the Psi Los website, at psilos.org.