21 October 2016 | Category: Tips and advice for studying in Wageningen

Tale of tails

By Pranav Kulkarni

MSc Animal Science

“Every dog has his day!”

Animals have formed a very important part of our society since ages unknown. We have kept them close for various reasons, sometimes productive, sometimes simply because we love companionship of our mute, four-legged brethren. The bond of love that we share with animals is beyond words and comparison to the one we share between ourselves. It’s pure in its own way.

I have a pet dog back at my native place. He has been breaking bread alongside us for the past 12 years. It’s a beautiful feeling. Having a pet makes the family wholesome and happy. Imagine, coming back home from a long hard day just to find your pooch wagging his tail, waiting on the porch anxiously to greet you. The yelp of delight and loads of kisses and licks that we get after that, makes your problems to melt away and the fatigue is forgotten within moments. Such is the love and enthusiasm of these companion animals.

Since I came to Wageningen, I thought about my dog a lot. But then I realized that this beautiful town also has a bias for pet animals. As I began to think about it, I realized, many people here also have pets. They love their pets, keep them healthy and spoil them with many niceties. As you walk down the street, even one day won’t go by without you seeing a person taking his/ her dog for a stroll (or is it the other way around? Hehe, Just kidding!).  You can see them everywhere, even on the railway station. Such is the love; people over here have for animals.

Besides dogs, you can also see other pets ranging from beautifully groomed cats to mice, guinea pigs, gerbils and even some weird, exotic ones like giant snails and so on. The biggest contributors to this pet population must be the students of the university (although I cannot be very sure). The students live away from home for studies and miss their families. It’s always better to have a companion who makes you feel at home.

The other day, a friend of mine, got a pet dog. A Rottweiler! Exception to the stereotype, this little pooch is very friendly. I must say, I have come to thoroughly adore this little guy. I must admit, he is partly the reason I chose to write about this topic. In my neighbourhood, I found, a significant population of pet dogs and cats. It’s a very heart-warming situation. Some pets enjoy a special privilege, like the famous Haarweg cat, Barry. He is a proud owner of a facebook page in his name. He is loved and liked by all who know him. Such is the love, Wageningen has for its pet population.

If you want to keep a companion animal in Wageningen or anywhere in The Netherlands, there are a few things that you must know. Apart from good management and feeding, there are also some regulations that need to be heeded.

  • There is a formal law that makes regulations for the pets, The Health & Welfare of Animals Act.
  • A pet you wish to import from your native place should have a pet passport and a valid vaccination certificate as described in the law. Your pet must not be a protected species of Exotic variety as laid down in international guidelines. If such is the case, then it’s better to contact the Customs office. Or send an email to helpdesk@access-nl.org.
  • Your pet’s best friend is a veterinarian or Find the one who lives closest. Always contact him/ her/ them before and after you get a pet. Here is one I found.
    • Rijksweg Zuid 11, 6662 KA Elst gld, NetherlandsDierenkliniek Elst.
  • If you buy your pet in Netherlands, it has to be registered at your local municipality. They have special regulations for dogs and cats (Psst, even taxes, I heard!)
  • There are some places that allow your pets and some that won’t allow pets, always confirm the status. Some places like beaches have a seasonal ban on pets.
  • In case of emergency, there is a veterinary ambulance active in most cities. But in Wageningen, the vet hospital listed above handles emergencies.
  • Never forget to clean up after your dog/ cat. Negligence can lead to heavy fines.
  • For ex-patriots and foreign students like me, this is the best way to look up for information.
  • There are few shops specialized for pets like Pets Place XL, Happy pets, etc. Also supermarkets mostly have pet food and other paraphernalia.
  • In case, you have to go on a vacation, or will be away for a few days, they have boarding and kennels for dogs and cats. But students prefer to leave their pets with friends who share their love for animals. It’s not a bad idea, to locate such a friend before you get a pet.

Other than this, one can find tons of information by simply surfing the internet, but this is good for the starters. The above list maybe overwhelming, but don’t let it discourage you from getting a pet. It’s a very blissful feeling, believe me.

If all turns out fine, you will enjoy a very pleasant stay in Wageningen along with your four-legged family member. Do give it a try!


Figure 2. [Source]

By Pranav Kulkarni

MSc Animal Science

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