Closed: Writing Competition.

Curtesy of Dyson, win either an upright or cylinder vacuum cleaner by entering a short article or story into our writing competition; experiences, amazing situations, topics... anything that you think reflects life here.

Participation in the writing competition is easy. Simply send your script to the email address below. The text should ideally consist of around 250 words or 40 lines. It can be provided in an email or as an attached file.

After the closing date, a jury will choose the story that it considers to be the most original or expressive. The winner will subsequently be informed by email in order to arrange the delivery of the prize.  If you are interested and have accepted the terms and conditions, just take a break, reflect for a moment and write down what crosses your mind. Closing date: 30 April 2007.


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The Winner Article:

Owning a dog in Düsseldorf is easy. The city is open, not too crowded and most people actually love dogs… if you keep them on a leash. Any breed of dog above knee height however, can tend to cause slightly nervous looks when approaching especially if they are black. But a couple of innocent words and a smile tend to break down any barriers.

There are so many places to walk your canine friend. Municipal parks are dotted all over town and then, of course, there are the river banks. Here there are many areas where pets are allowed to run around free and can enjoy interacting with other furry creatures.

Go down to the river on a sunny evening or during a warm summer day and you will always see many dogs. It's a good way to meet people too; sometimes a dozen dog owners are gathered together chatting away. They may however, regard a lonesome soul out on their own with some scepticism.

Over the years, Düsseldorf has been compared with Paris for many reasons. Fortunately, one comparison does not have to be made. If you have ever walked between parked cars, you will know how far Parisians walk their dogs for their daily needs. And they leave it lying right where it fell. The streets of Düsseldorf are far less dangerous, thank goodness.

If you do stumble across anything nasty it's because the fines that one incurs if the dog is involved in any wrongdoing are, as with many other topics in Germany, rather low and certainly less than in Britain or in the United States. Leaving poo costs only € 75 compared to $ 1,000 in New York and £ 500 in the UK.

Most pets in Germany are trained well. There are very, very seldom attacks and there are rather strict laws governing the keeping of all pets. Some local residents find the charge for a dog licence rather high and complain that the money is not used to make life with pets any easier. But I consider it to be good value for money. Whatever you do though, make sure you have insurance. It is cheap and the coverage is quite comprehensive.

My dog, Hermann loves to run beside me, while I'm riding my bike. He's quite a character, loved by the neighbours I think and adored by a few cute female canines in the area we live. And he loves to ride in the car especially when we head for the countryside. Try such places as Kaiserswerth, which is fairly close or the hills of the Eifel, about an hour south down the motorway.

Author: Regina Schulte

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