As the Americans would say, Puglia which has been nosing ahead in the abandoned dog statistics ( get the headline ?!) has now jumped way ahead of every other Italian province. We now have more abandoned dogs than anywhere else by a country mile.  These are stats compiled by the various dog protection agencies so do not reflect the numbers that are never reported by members of the public or taken in by mainly British expats. I would imagine if you added those in we would be world champions at “losing” dogs.

The majority of Brits down here are doggie people. Whether that is a British trait or maybe it is just fortuitous that doggie Brits keep moving  to the right area of Italy I’m not sure. Any other province and they would have a leaner time grabbing a doggie off the road.

I am not a doggie person myself but we are surrounded by Brits that are. It is normal, it seems, for them to have 6/7 dogs on the premises and some far more. A lady around the corner has 15 of them at the last count though she is unsure quite how many she feeds.

Italians in the country have dogs that they keep in cages in the garden. However with the recession lingering on and on more and more cages are empty now. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that there hasn’t been some terrible disease that has caused this decline. The dogs are clearly part of the statistics and were let out of their cages and  “encouraged” to seek pastures new . Libero “free” is how one of our Italian neighbours described the missing dog when I asked about the empty cage.

In the north of Italy Italians tend to have dogs as pets rather than in a cage. They might not sleep in the house but they are walked with a lead and generally well looked after. It is noticeable when they visit here for their hols they are out walking the dogs which is not something you see here at any other time of the year.

To be fair there is almost nowhere to take a dog if you no longer want it or can look after it unless you want to pay a vet and they are very expensive. It is also hard to have dogs neutered . Male vets just won’t do male dogs and they always want female dogs to have had a least one litter before they will do the task. Does it say something about the Italian male I wonder. Answers on a postcard please.

Rome is also quite a doggie place. A family friend I used to visit in the early 1960s had an Alsatian that he inherited when he married a countess. Caff as he was always known  though it was his surname ( like inspector Morse) drove a large Alfa Romeo and he had trained the dog to run alongside the car and when he tooted the horn twice the dog would jump in through the rear window. So the dog got plenty of exercise and Caff got to drive the Countesses big car. In those days though dogs on leads in Rome all had muzzles due to rabies still being a huge problem.

Monte Carlo is probably the doggie capital of the world and the advice I got when staying with friends there that ” the tourists look up at the buildings and the locals look down at the pavement” was hugely valuable. There is  dog poo is everywhere .

Not being a doggie person I can’t get too excited about them and  so on my daily walk I have made a list of dogs that I really wouldn’t mind if they ” disappeared “. The bullmastif that throws itself at the gate as I walk past, the yappy little thing that nips my heels if the owner isn’t around, Paulo’s dog that barks most of the night. The list goes on. Several have gone in the last couple of years and my walks are a lot quieter now than they were.

Doggone it Paulo’s dog has just started barking again and the sun has hardly set yet. Anyone know a dogcatcher ?




About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
This entry was posted in Expat in Italy, Expat Italy, Italian Living, Puglia, Puglia Food, Puglia Lifestyle, Puglia Living, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Doggone

  1. I so enjoy your blog but….as a canine blogger I felt rather upset on hearing about all these poor cane (as the Italians call us) woof, Martha x

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