You might think he's doing something else. But in reality, he's learning how to sit/stay, and not doing a very good job of it (he eventually learned how to do so beautifully ... sort of ).

venerdì 22 ottobre 2010


It’s the picture at the left that sold us. Actually, it was a posted picture of a small abused little white poodle which first stirred us – so much, in fact, that I wrote to my friend and said, “Where is that poodle?” As it turned out, the poodle – unlike so much of the Please Help this Pup Out photos that we get – happened to be in Florence. We happened to be third on the waiting list, but we lost out to the first.

At which point Florentine Sister (aka Bobo, who pairs wine with my recipes) sends us a photo, the one you see above. We write to the woman who saved her. Here’s what Marilena wrote:

Carletta [the name Marilena gave her] and her lucky choice.

“I was transferring a dog to a friend’s house. While I was going down a country road suddenly a little black muzzle popped out from under the guardrail, and threw itself before my car; if it weren’t for my instinct of always checking the side of the road, the little pup would already be dead. She chose the right car to throw herself in front of. Carletta is a young little dog, let’s say around a year or less, weighs about 10 [20 plus pounds] kili but has the paws of a bassett hound. She’s very sweet and affectionate, and has fears being abandoned. In fact, as soon as I took her she attached herself to me [as she’s done in one day with me]. Now she’s at a friend’s house who is also hosting another dog, so I must help her find a beautiful family who will love her, because her will to survive had her choose the right car.”

Read it and weep. Well, I did. Negotiations began; we were told that Carletta was “vivace, curiosa, e testarda” (lively, curious, stubborn: three adjectives that could be applied to many a small dog).

Marilena belongs to a national organization here in Italy which rescues abandoned dogs. In a country where inefficiency is as common as pasta is for dinner, this We Help Dogs (literal translation) is remarkably the opposite.

Michela, a local representative who’s a medieval classicist and philologist in Pisa when she’s not rescuing canines, came to interview us, and said interview lasted an hour. We filled out a complicated questionnaire. Fortunately, we passed, and were told that a team of vets from Germany (why not Italy, we wondered?) were heading to the south of Italy to offer pro bono spaying and neutering (a requisite of this program, though emphasis – typical – is placed on females; remember, this is a balls-oriented country). Pup would be spayed and then sent up.

Probably because a convoy was on its way north, this plan was scrapped. Michela, the Scallion, and I met with a trucker at an exit ramp/parking lot on the autostrada just outside Florence, and picked up the pup. He opened the truck door, revealing several containers of crated dogs, all destined for loving homes. Our pup, wildly shaking from fear (she’d been in the back of a semi overnight from Naples) was crated with another youngster destined for a home in Pisa. You wanted to cry, and I did. Horror at the people who abandoned these dogs, and joy that these pups, at least, were saved.

She stayed pretty shy yesterday, and her body reveals that she – heartbreaking at her tender age – has had at least one, perhaps more – litters. She does indeed have bassett paws, and probably the most ridiculous tail we have ever seen.

The sun cooperated mightily, and we spent most of the day sunning ourselves. Lulu took one look at her and basically yawned. Harry returned from the hospital only that evening[1] and seemed most intent on humping her. Though we have yet to hear the pup speak, we did hear her growl at him on more than one occasion.

Solicitations for names via Facebook were all terrific, creative, fun. My mother, recalling her decades' long dead dog: Scrappy. Claudia in Amsterdam: Annunziata; Judy Z in the States: the beautiful Biblical name Selah; High School Chum Scott in Houston: Dinah … “as in Roadside Dinah” (he added helpfully). Dogeressa of the Broken Halo: Ella, Cleo, or Jane. Long Tall John from Ithaca suggested Bitch. Canadienne Red in Chicago: Little Tiny Baby Little Small Thing (quite the mouthful, no?). Some went edible: Gamine Stephanie in Florence suggested Biscuit, and Cecilia, also in Florence, suggested Muffin. Frau Doktor von Spritz, London resident and perhaps taking a cue from Canadienne Red: Eleonora (da Toledo?) or Sancia. Auntie F also in London started with a Halloween theme (Glinda, Elvira) and added Bessie for good measure. Florentine Sister championed Pepita. Paula from Ithaca (she of the cold soba noodle recipe): Chibi. Preacher Guy in Nashville, Tennessee: Oreo, Mr. Jay (explicable only to those of us who went to the same high school, but pretty funny nonetheless), Mickey, Paws, and Midnight. Michele in Boston: Lia, Roxie, or Maxine. Aunt Bets in Toronto: Lira. Chantal in Brooklyn: voted for Glinda and Eleonora. Zoe’s Person: Daisy (impossible, as Cousin Daisy just died this year). Jenny, Zoe’s Person’s Daughter: the delightful Doris. Doc G in Charleston, South Carolina: Daphne. Lisa in Florence simply sent a message full of exclamation points, which made us very happy.

Susie, a dear pal from San Diego, suggested a name, which we quite liked. A lot. My sister suggested the same name while we were having our daily morning U.S./Italy chat. Kismet.

Her name is Rosie.

[1] Two nights before he’d eaten about two cups of cooking oil carelessly left on the kitchen counter, breaking the container. He began to heave later that night, and at 5 in the morning we decided to take him to the Splendid Vets for observation and to make sure that he didn’t have any glass in his stomach. He didn’t, but was put on a drip, and stayed overnight. One of his prescriptions includes Maalox.

3 commenti:

  1. Auguri! Does this mean you get hamburgers this week too?

  2. Thanks, mac! Yeah ... we would if you'd only give me that Dominican burger recipe.

  3. and it's a late entry, but how about J-BOWWW-WOWW for Rosie's stage name?