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Interview with Livia Ritthaler About Walking Wild – The Guide Book for Dog Owners in Berlin

Das Hundebuch “Walking Wild” zeigt die schönsten Orte für Hundebesitzer und ihre vierbeinigen Freunde. Findet neue Ideen für die tägliche Gassirunde in Berlin oder den Urlaub mit Hund in Brandenburg. Autorin Livia Ritthaler erzählt uns mehr darüber.

Photo Livia Ritthaler
Portrait Björn Weiser

Walking Wild is an ode to all dog lovers. It showcases some of the best places to walk your dog in and around Berlin. Get ready to set out for a stroll at the heart of the city or take your four-legged friend on holiday with you in Brandenburg. The book’s author, Livia Ritthaler, reveals more.

Livia, you recently teamed up with our publishing house, The Gentle Temper, for Walking Wild. Talk us through the book’s concept. What awaits readers on its pages and who was it created for?

Whether you’re on the lookout for a short stroll in a park in your neighbourhood or planning a more extended day trip, Walking Wild provides new impulses for adventurous walks with your dog in and around Berlin. Our guide features over 40 recommendations for local dog runs and parks alongside excursions and accommodations for vacations in Brandenburg.

Walking Wild starts off with maps of both Berlin and Brandenburg. These are designed to help readers identify which locations in the book are close by at any given time. The book also opens with some useful tips and an overview of the most important rules connected to owning or walking dogs in Berlin. These are then followed by our recommendations, categorised according to their cardinal direction. Each is accompanied by a short text and photos.

This book is most interesting for dog owners. That said, it can also be useful for families looking to explore Brandenburg’s countryside or individuals who are new to Berlin and want to get to know the city a bit better.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Livia, I’m a 31-year-old Berlin-based art director, and I own a design studio. I’m heavily pregnant, so I’ve been a bit short of breath lately. I’m originally from the countryside in southern Germany, so I really enjoyed setting out to discover all these wonderful places in nature near Berlin.

The dog on the book’s cover is called Bob. Who is she? 

I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of owning a dog when I moved to Berlin and took Bob in. She’s a pretty wild mix of breeds. I got her from an animal welfare organisation (adopt—don’t shop <3). When I’m juggling lots of projects simultaneously, Bob always reminds me of the things that are so important, but also so easy to forget about, in life—spending time outside, getting some fresh air (if possible, in the forest), and taking regular breaks from my computer.

And which dog run does Bob love most? 

That’s a bit difficult to say, but it’d probably any of the ones where she can sprint her heart out, especially when her dog buddy is along for the fun! On days when we’re a bit more strapped for time, we keep things classic and head to the exercise park for dogs in Blankenfelde. She also really enjoyed it when I took her south to Erpetal and north to Schönower Heide because she had lots of space to run around in both places.

Why do dog owners in Berlin need this book?

They say a tired dog is a happy dog—but always sticking to the same routes can become quite draining for owners. Hence, this book is brimming with inspiration for fun activities with our four-legged friends, regardless of where we are in Berlin or how much time we have on our hands.

Walking Wild’s map extends from the centre of Berlin to the outskirts of Brandenburg. What’s the best way to get to these different destinations? And what should we keep in mind along the way?

I made an effort to select places that are easy to reach via public transportation. If one of the destinations seems too complicated to get to by train and you don’t own a car, there’s always the possibility of renting one. Having a dog along for the ride isn’t an issue with most car rentals.

Large dogs are officially required to carry tickets at a reduced fare on trains. Puppies and small dogs can usually tag along for free. To safely transport your dog by car, take a travel box with you. Alternatively, you can also purchase a special seat belt that you fasten to your dog’s harness.

You also included a selection of dog-friendly accommodations in the book. What makes these places special?

Aside from the accommodations’ dog-friendly nature, it was also important to me that owners wouldn’t have to sacrifice their sense of well-being just because their hounds are on holiday with them. In northern Brandenburg, for example, Blockhaus Schorfheide is equipped with a private pier that extends out into the water. At Wasserwerk in Bad Saarow, on the other hand, you can spend the night in a series of uniquely designed lofts.

Last, but certainly not least, tell us which lake you love visiting most with Bob!

Summer See in Mühlenbecker Land! It’s really idyllic there in summer and it doesn’t get too crowded. In winter, the entire lake is illuminated by yellow reeds.

You can order via our Onlineshop and follow Livias and Bobs journey.

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