All in the town were still asleep,
When the sun came up with a shout and a leap.
In the lonely streets unseen by man,
A little dog danced. And the day began.
Dogs have been part of my life since I was five years old and my father brought home a little black and white fluffy ball of fur named Scamp. It was love at first sight, but Scamp didn’t last long with us—my father said he gave him to a farmer because he kept running away. We soon had another, a Cocker mix called Lady, and my father trained her immediately, and she outlived my father by a few years.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love dogs and will approach strangers who are lucky enough to have one of the little—or big—dudes with them. Dogs allow me to break the ice with their humans; I’m probably not the only one, either. I meet more people in Italy because I will rush up to them to “talk” with the dog, and I end up in conversation with the owner.
Allow me to introduce you to a few of the dogs I’ve encountered this year. Some you probably have seen before because they frequent Bar Santo Stefano. Others are new.
I’ve introduced you to Marte before as he belonged to my dear friend, Leda, who passed in December. Lili and Cesare adopted Marte as Leda had no children, and Marte now spends some of his day on a bed at the back of the bar. He is a Bolognese, a bichon-type breed that originated in Italy. Mr. Marte, who celebrated his 19th birthday last Saturday, is looking a little healthier since I last saw him.
Shakur & Cora
Shakur (left) and Cora (right) are two Jack Russells that live in Florence. They belong to people who own a condo that shares the same courtyard with the condo we rented, and when they were out, they would run to greet me when they saw me come through the door. They were quite noisy, so Emma was always trying to round them up.
I’ve undoubtedly introduced you to Fox before as I see him around the neighborhood a lot. His owner, Giancarlo, walks him and takes him for bike rides everyday. I always know when they’re on the bike because that’s the only time Fox barks….and barks….and barks.
Agata e Liam
Welsh Terriers are not a very common breed, so to see two in the same area is amazing. Agata (left) is pretty young, and while Liam (right) has a few years on her, he is still a terrier and always moving. Liam’s owners come to the bar often, and I get to love on him when he lets me. As with most terriers—and Fox above—Liam is usually more interested in food than human attention.
Luna & Zach & ?
Speaking of food and dogs, these guys are not slouchers, either. I’ve only seen Luna (left) once or twice when she came into the bar with my friend, Celinda, and she had her eye on the mortadella the entire time. Cesare took the photo of the dog on the right (whose name I don’t know), and he told me that the dog is always begging when he comes into the bar. Zach (middle) comes into the bar most mornings with Manuela, and he gets to share her pastry. It doesn’t stop him from rubbing his nose on my hand when he thinks I have something in it. He is a very sweet dog, and I thought that he might be a Doberman mix, but Manuela told me that he’s a Segugio Italiano, a breed new to me.
Zina & Bradley
Zina (left) belongs to Vittoria who owns the dress shop next to Bar Santo Stefano. She lives part of the time in Morocco with Vittoria’s son, and the warmer months in Bologna with Vittoria. They told me that someone tried to poison Zina recently, but the vets were able to save her. Paolo and Antonietta own Bradley (right), a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. If it’s not raining, he comes to the bar with them every morning.
I had to save the best for almost last, and I apologize that some of the photos are fuzzy, but this little dude moves like the devil.
Cooper is a three-month old English Bulldog who joins his humans at the bar every morning. He is a little clown who plays hide-n-seek with me (two left photos), sticks out his tongue (right), and wiggles his little butt around constantly. “They named my car after you,” I tell him, and he twirls around in circles. This morning, he tried to eat the Italian flag off of my Crocs and was not happy when I walked away.
His owners, whose names I don’t know, told me today that he goes everywhere with them. “Dappertutto (everywhere),” the woman said. I can understand why.
The Little Old Lady
When I returned from Florence two weeks ago, I took this photo of this wonderful 19-year old dog that I had seen in the bar most mornings. Her owner put her own coat on the floor so the dog would ave something comfortable to lay on. My heart broke this morning when the woman came in alone and said the dog died in her sleep yesterday. “She was such a sweet dog,” the owner said.
Indeed she was.