Berlin is a city of “dog wars”. It boasts a lake dedicated to the hundreds of dog owners who like nothing more than to walk their pets along its pine-fringed shores. But it has also spawned an anti-dog political party whose sole purpose is to campaign against the copious amounts of excrement deposited daily on the capital’s pavements. But now the canine controversy has intensified further with the arrival of a new delicatessen catering exclusively for furry friends.
Located in the wealthy Grunewald district, Pets Deli sells healthy organic meat and vegetable treats for dogs. Portions are priced from ¤3 (£2.50) to ¤6, and treats such as cupcakes cost ¤4. The food is sold “to go” on plastic trays or can be consumed on-site in metal bowls set before rustic wooden logs, while dog owners enjoy a coffee.
Predictably, the deli has begun to draw criticism. “A store this decadent gives the impression that we do more for animals than for children,” accused Wolfgang Büscher, who works with disadvantaged children. And: “Do we need a gourmet restaurant for dogs?” asked Germany’s mass circulation Bild newspaper.
David Spanier, the owner of Pets Deli, is convinced we do. He said his store was essential to improve canine health. “Junk food is bad for animals,” he said. “It’s as if I ate fast food every day. I may like it, but it’s very bad for your health.” The deli’s manager is an animal nutrition expert who serves beef, turkey and kangaroo meat with broccoli or berries. Mr Spanier added that the food could be “safely consumed by humans”.