Moving from the UK to Slovakia was sure to be a culture shock – the language barrier, the weather, the crazy traffic; it’s easy to think that life in Eastern Europe may be more stressful than back in the UK, but what about life for Slovak dogs?
When I first moved here I was amazed at how relaxed and well behaved the dogs are. Many pet parents walk the wide pavements with their dogs off the lead, or on a very loose lead. There is little to no barking, no dog aggression, no pulling on the lead, no jerking of leads, just lots of very chilled canines.
I can’t help wonder why there is this massive cultural difference between Slovakia and the UK… Now, I’m not saying that all dogs in the UK are crazed canines, but we certainly have a generation of dogs that in all honesty, are under exercised and under stimulated. The ‘weekend warrior’ pet owner with a dog that only sees the outside world at weekends (if it’s lucky) can be spotted a mile off buy conscientious dog owners.
Pulling on the flat collar attached to a lead can damage a dog’s delicate trachea
Here in Slovakia, it’s common to see dogs being walked at all times of the day and joining their pet parents in the local bars for drink or accompanying them to the market (even helping by carrying a basket!). Could this greater integration of dogs into family life be the key to their well mannered behaviour? It certainly is food for thought.
This beautiful German Shepherd was carrying a wicker basket to the market. Note the way it walks on a relaxed, loose leash.
It’s been a month and I’m ashamed to say this is my first update from University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice, Slovakia. The past four weeks have been an emotional whirlwind of new languages to learn and new subjects to get to grips with.
While our courses are taught in English, much of the veterinary terminology is delivered in Latin – having only used Latin to describe species, learning the intricacies of Latin grammar has certainly got the old grey matter working, but I can see how essential this terminology is for medical terminology to cross borders and languages.
It pays to know you noses – learning the anatomical differences between species is key to understand anatomy.
It is well known that veterinary medicine is an extremely hard degree and if I’m honest, I hadn’t imagined it would involve the level of work we have already had. Studying in Slovakia is certainly different from a standard degree in the UK. For a start, there is no room for failure. In the UK it is possible to fail a certain number of credits annually and still graduate – in Slovakia, all credits need to be passed to undertake exams and to progress to the following year. As you can imagine, this pressure is very motivating – fail and the veterinary dream is over.
Bones of all shapes and sizes can be studied in the university museum
There are some live animals on campus for some much needed horse therapy if time allows.
I will do my best to keep the updates coming, particularly with some of the exciting modules I have in store next semester. For the time being, it’s time to dive head first into more anatomy revision.