Sunday, August 9, 2015

I Love This Bar, Part IV

A sweet little guy visited the bar one morning.

 “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the 
ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”
MK Clinton

The world's worst kept secret is that I love dogs.  Love. Dogs.  I can barely remember the short time that I didn't have a dog of my own. What I do remember from that time is that my Aunt Ann and Uncle Frank had a standard dachshund, Nero, so named because they were Italian, and he was a black dog: Nero is the Italian word for black.  I finally got my own dog when I was in first grade, and not many days have gone by when one has not shared the house with me.

My friend, Kathy G (who was a member of the second group), said I am a dog magnet (below).  Tré true, although it might be better said that the little pookies are magnets for me. I can approach anyone who has a dog and start a conversation with him/her because I know we have at least one thing in common.

Moi being a magnet with a cute beagle whose name I don't remember.
"What is your dog's name?" I usually ask.  They tell me, and I continue. "I miss my dog, Riley, who is at home in the United States."

"You should bring him with you," many of the people tell me.

"It's too difficult," I always have to tell them, and it is.  Don't think I haven't tried to figure out a way to bring him with me.  I make do, though, loving on the dogs around me.  (Don't tell Riles. He is quite the jealous little baby.)  Meet some of my Bolognese quadruped friends.

Welsh Terriers rock! Liam in front of Bar Santo Stefano.

Liam (above) is a little Welsh Terrier whose owners frequent Bar Santo Stefano daily.  Like another Welsh Terrier who shall remain nameless, Liam is more interested in food than people.

"What do ya have in your hand for me?" he'd ask. I'd show him my empty paw, and he'd turn his attention elsewhere.

Zina (above the two photos below) is the resident dog at Vittoria's dress shop next to Bar Santo Stefano.  Zina and Vittoria open the shop every morning after they arrive on their scooter. Vittoria wears a helmet, but Zina doesn't like things on her head. 

Zina is about nine years old, so she likes to take it easy most of the day. She'll sleep on her chair (below), and she'll follow Vittoria around.  Over the last two summers, she's gotten to know me and will come to the door if I walk by.  She's also started bringing me her toy so I can play.  I'm sure she doesn't want me to be bored while I'm around her.  :-)

 “I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; 
they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role 
model for being alive.”Gilda Radner

Ulisse (Ulysses) walked by the bar one morning when Mike and I were sitting outside.

"What kind of dog is that?" I called to the owner.

"Cane corso," he told me.  A cane corso is an ancient Italian breed, an Italian mastiff, if you will. You can probably tell by the size of his head that Ulisse is a HUGE dog. I can verify that he is not only big (He sat on my foot.) but also a docile soul.  He's more likely to lick you to death than bite you.  While we were talking to him and his owner, a lady at the table next to us ran into the bar as she was terrified of Ulisse.

"He loves everyone," the owner told me.

"Some people are just afraid of dogs," I told him.  He shrugged.

OliverIf I remember correctly, this Bernese Mountain Dog puppy's name was Oliver. We saw him and his owner in a piazza one afternoon while the owner was trying to teach Oliver to 'STAY.' Having the attention span of a gnat, Oliver was having nothing to do with it. 

 "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when 
I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Fox (pronounced 'fauxxx) is one of my terrier buddies. I met him and his owner, Giansomething (Sorry, I forget), last year, and I see them a lot since they live around the corner from my apartment.  Fox, like Riley, is six years old.  He's also very food-motivated which should come as no surprise to anyone.

One morning last month, Mike and I were walking down Strada Maggiore, the main street in town, and we heard a dog barking.  Because of how the buildings line the street and how the porticoes enhance sounds, the barking reverberated all over the place.  Suddenly, I saw Giansomething riding his bike with a barking Fox in the basket.  Giansomething pulled over to the side of the street to calm down Fox.

"Fox!" I greeted them.  "How's it going, Pooky?"  Giansomething picked Fox up and set him on the sidewalk so we could talk.

"He never barks when we walk," Giansomething said, "but put him on the bike., and he becomes a loudmouth."

Sure enough, as soon as Giansomething put Fox back in the basket, Fox started barking again. We could hear him for five minutes as we walked in the opposite direction.

Artoo is another of my old friends. Mike and I met him when we came to Bologna the first time.  An older dog, he's very food=motivated, and he loves to play frisbee.  At age 14, he has sight and hearing problems, but he can somehow find the frisbee when someone throws it for him.  He's also not lost his sense of smell and knows when food is in the general neighborhood.

This poochie is 19 years old, and her owner joins the morning ladies some days.  I can't remember the dog's name because they aren't there a lot of the times I am.  (Sorry, Pooky!) Except for being a little sight-impaired, she's in relatively good health.  She, like Zina, follows her owner everywhere.

Next time: A few observations....

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