This Sunday, April 2, the people of Greece get to live out my lifelong dream and bring their dogs to the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens for a “World Stray Animal Day” event. To rub salt in my wounds, the museum said that visitors would be welcomed by a “puddle of puppies” from the Socrates Shelter that are currently looking for forever families.
The museum partnered with the shelter, opened and funded by Athens’s Municipal Department of Urban Fauna since 2021, to encourage the adoption of stray dogs in need and shed light on the dangerous conditions stray animals face daily. The shelter is run by professionals and volunteers to help lost pets find their families and stray animals find new homes, and to ensure every animal that passes through their doors is treated with love and kindness. The shelter is responsible for medical care, food, and collection of all stray dogs within the municipality.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art boasts that it is the only museum in the Attica region to welcome dogs, stating that its current Artistic Director Katerina Gregos made that objective her priority when she took up the post in July 2021. The visiting guidelines indicate that the museum is pet-friendly year-round, not just on the day of the event. Visitors and their pets are encouraged to view the museum’s current exhibition Modern Love (or Love in the Age of Cold Intimacies) to “spread a different message of love.”
The “World Stray Animals Day” event is from 11am to 2pm on Sunday. The museum does list some simple ground rules for furry friends: Owners should come prepared with their dog’s vaccination records and waste bags in case of accident and all dogs must be kept on a close leash at all times, no flexi-leshes allowed. Female dogs in heat will not be allowed to enter.
Those of us with pets in the US are out of luck when it comes to visiting any famous art museums with our best friends who aren’t registered service animals, but there are quite a few institutions spread out across the country that have opened their doors to four-legged patrons.