12 May 2008

Roman Dogs

As one of my themes this summer, I’ve decided to consider Roman dogs. I naturally notice people’s dogs, and I am interested in the breeds, norms, and behaviors of pet ownership. Because my two miniature schnauzers are at home in Pennsylvania, the dogs of Rome will help to assuage the loneliness, even if only in pictorial form.

The Area Giochi (di Villa Borghese) per Cani

By chance, wandering in the Villa Borghese, we found a dog (cani) park and a sanctuary for abandoned puppies (cuccini). Some of the dogs I encountered are featured below:

Literally, the dog park the "area of the park for dogs".

At left, the ever-present small terrier, along with a large dog and a darling little girl. Below, a fuzzy Airedale and her owner, chilling in the park and watching the smaller ones go by.

The Valley of the Puppies

Two of the puppies are these handsome shepherds (at left). The abandoned puppies of the city, the sign tells us, are brought here, where they receive rehabilitation. They even have an agility course! We were politely asked not to take any further photos, so this is the full story on the abandoned pups.

General Observations

Although the majority of dogs in Rome appear to be small terriers similar to Jack Russells, I have seen a wide variety within three days. In addition to a variety of mixes (including a lovely gentleman with whiskers and wire-hair), I have encountered a number of large breeds (Golden Retriever, Labrador, Airedale, Great Pyrenees, German Shepherd, and a Doberman) and small breeds (Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, English Bulldog, Maltese, a variety of Jack Russell terriers (or something very similar), and two Yorkshire Terriers—one held in a woman’s arms and the other asleep in a box in front of a gypsy woman.

The Romans have quite a few dogs, and it appears normal to have them at sidewalk cafes and inside the door of the more casual trattoria.

Some of the additional places I would like to begin to explore include pet shops (there is one a block away from our apartment) and other parks (to see if dogs are allowed more generally or only at the designated dog parks). I need to work on the language enough to ask people to take photos of their dogs and to meet and/or pet their dogs. I would also like to begin to get a handle on the laws about dogs in the city—how are they licensed? What are leash laws like? Are there ordinances about picking up after pets (which does not appear to be the case at least in some neighborhoods, where watching where you walk is the wiser course!).

1 comment:

UNA H said...

Watch for weener dogs! They are everywhere!

Works Cited

Fiona Wild, ed. Eyewitness Travel Rome (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1993), 2007 edition.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Marble Faun. New York: Penguin Books, 1990/1860.

James, Henry. Daisy Miller. New York: Penguin Books, 2005/1878.

Powers, Alice Leccese. Italy in Mind: An Anthology. Toronto: Vintage Books, 1997.

Steves, Rick. Rick Steves' Italy 2007. New York: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006.