Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Kölle-Zoo Pet Store in Heidelberg

Their slogan is Herz und Verstand für Tiere (Hearts and Minds for Animals)

Apollo gets over-excited on walks and pulls ahead. With a collar, he always sounds like he’s having trouble breathing but doesn’t slow down whether we try to give him more or less room to roam. I was worried he’d hurt himself, and he was wearing down the fur at his neck, so I wanted to get him a harness. In early June, we decided to go to Kölle-Zoo to get one.

There are a wide range of collars and harnesses available from inexpensive to what I would consider quite expensive. The first ones I saw were about 30 euro which seemed like a lot for a harness for a tiny dog. But toward the end of the display on the left, I saw ones that were about 8 euro. Unfortunately the one I picked up was hanging on the wrong peg which was for extra small dogs, but the next one over was about 12 euro which still wasn’t too bad. After confirming it was adjustable and figuring out how it would work, we decided to get it.

Unfortunately, the rain began to pour down as we were about to leave. It was coming down so hard you couldn’t see anything out the windows but water. I didn’t take a picture of that, but here’s a picture from a few days before I left Florida that may give you an idea of what it looked like. So, we decided to walk around the store for a bit. We were on the mid level so we checked out the lower and upper, starting with the lower.

As you enter the lower level, there’s a koi pond. I’ve usually only ever seen koi ponds in restaurants, and I’ve never seen one in a pet store. This one was kind of cool in that it also had a boat in it.

They had a koi pond.
With a 'shipwrecked' boat, which I thought was neat.

The rest of the lower level has reptiles and fish. We started with the reptiles. I lived in Florida for three years and there were geckos everywhere. Some treated them as pests and I’ve heard hair spray worked as a trick to stun them so they could be taken outside. I didn’t mind them inside as they eat bugs, but I felt bad that if I could not get them out I usually ended up finding them shriveled up somewhere. In any case it was kind of amusing to see them for sale in a pet store because if someone really wanted one bad in Florida, they’d just have to step outside.


In fact, here’s a picture of a Florida gecko. He’s not as pretty as the one seen above, but there were some colorful ones down there. I took a picture of this one because I had been sitting by the pool and he kept coming around me.

Florida gecko

Near the geckos were turtles. I felt bad for the one on the right as he seemed to want to get out. In fact most of the fish also gathered near the front of tanks even when they had huge ones, although I didn’t take a picture of that except for at the koi pond. I don’t know if that’s a normal thing to do for tanked fish, but I’ve never noticed it before.

Doesn't the one on the right just look like he wants out?

We walked through the fish area checking out aquarium supplies. This was where I took the picture of the fish tank road signs you may have seen when I posted it for Photo a Day in June. The signs are for no stopping/standing and priority for the next intersection.

German road signs for a fish tank. The one on the left prohibits stopping or standing on the roadway, and the one on the right is a sign indicating you have the right of way at the next intersection only (rather than all intersections on the road)

My husband started making fun of me for taking pictures inside the pet store. He said he didn’t even know what kind of tourism you would call that. But I would take pictures inside a pet store in the US. In fact, my friend Katie S. and I once took pictures in a pet store in Florida when we’d gone in as a random part of a day out with her kids. I had planned to get her input on this post as to which pictures I should share here from that trip. Unfortunately, she passed away the month after I made this trip and, being so behind on posting, I didn’t have the chance to share it with her first.

She had mentioned our pet store trip over the phone a few months prior though and had told me that one of her sons, who was about two at the time we had gone and a couple years past that at this time, had talked about how we had gone to the pet store when she mentioned me. I did happen to go through old photos about a month before she passed and shared the ones from our trip with her in case she didn’t have them. She thanked me and said she remembered the pictures and “that was a fun day.” That was actually the last conversation we had before she passed. I guess this goes to show that sometimes it is the little seemingly inconsequential places we go and things we do with people that can end up being worth remembering. Here are a few photos from our trip:

19 steven at the fishtank
Even if taking pictures in a store wasn’t something I’d ordinarily do, I would have had to when I saw the tank below. These are mooskugel, commonly known in English as moss balls (although they aren’t actually moss but a type of algae). I hadn’t seen anything like them before. They don’t look as cool in a still photo, but I did find a YouTube video of some in action. The sign above the tank (not pictured) says “ohne Moos nix los” which I’ve seen translated as “Without moss nothing happens,” a version of “no ticky, no washy”. I guess they want to make sure no one touches them without buying them, but with Moss being used as a slang for money as well as in the name of the plant, it’s also kind of a clever application.
I've never seen moss balls (mooskugei) on sale before...
The last section of the store we went through was upstairs with the birds and hamsters and things. I didn’t take pictures there as that was probably the saddest part of the store. Many other pets can be given some free room to roam but birds in cages make me sad as it’s always clear that, even in the larger cages, they don’t have room to really spread their wings. While we were up there, the rain stopped, so we checked out and left.

When we got home, my husband put the harness on Apollo. He seemed to like it for a minute, but then I caught him trying to chew it off. I hoped once he could connect it to taking walks, he would like it better. I thought I took pictures of my husband putting the harness on him, but I don’t have them now. Instead, here is Apollo seeming to have already adjusted to the harness on the way to his first walk out in Heidelberg, which I’ll tell you about soon.


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4 Thoughts on “Kölle-Zoo Pet Store in Heidelberg

  1. I am so sorry about your friend, Amanda!
    And I have to say that the pictures of the pet store really make me sad. The poor dogs!

    • Thank you.
      Yeah I tend to have to stay out of pet stores because it makes me sad to see them. I wanted the dog in the picture with Katie but stopped myself lol. I ended up getting Gir in another trip to a pet store where a friend and I took her out to play with her. I had a dream about her a week or so later, went back, and she was still there, so I got her. At least with the dogs I hope most of them will find a good home where they’ll have room to play. The birds make me sad because I know that even if someone buys them, they are still going to be confined to a cage for life.

  2. I am sorry about your friend, Amanda. How significant it must have been to both of you, that one day you spent in a pet store in the US.

    I didn’t know that geckos were a pest in FL (when I lived there it was more about the flying cockroaches) but I think it’s rather “funny” how they are a plague in some countries and for sale in others.

    • Thank you. It’s kind of weird that it was since it was just a small part of a minor day but it was something that we had done on a whim and that one of her kids would still talk about a couple years later, so it kind of became more important than I’m sure either of us would have thought. It’s the little things lol.

      I don’t know if they’re really pests to everyone but I know people who mentioned them usually weren’t excited to have them around…and certainly no one would have bought one as a pet when they could have caught one if they were so inclined lol. I would rather have geckos than other bugs, especially those flying cockroaches deceptively known as palmetto bugs. My dog used to chase them and tear them up if they got in the house lol.

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