24 June 2008

Dog Accessories, Groomers, and Walkers

Accessories are just as common for pets in Italy as in the States. I have seen dogs with raincoats, Roma shirts, and flashy collars. Some are carried in frilly purses and carriers. I saw two dogs brought into a restaurant this way just this week. In Florence, I saw a window display advertising accessories, and most shops seem to have some, even if it is not their specialty. Here is the shop in Florence, at left and right.

These bits are not uncommon, but do draw attention. More than once, I have seen Romans commenting to one another or pointing or nodding toward dogs wearing raincoats or sweatshirts. It is accepted, but not quite so normal that it does not draw attention.

There are dog groomers, including one just around the corner from our apartment, with baths, tables, clippers, and technicians. They appear to be fairly well frequented, as I have seen dogs emerging from that shop every time it is open and I am by there. Even dogs with minimal grooming seem to go there for baths.

Finally, although most people appear to walk their own dogs in the mornings, I have seen dog walkers twice while here. Just yesterday morning, while waiting for my students to turn up to go to Testaccio Market, I watched a man park two dogs, disappear into a building, and re-emerge with three more. He set off with all five, and an Italian woman out with her toddler commented on the number of cani, pointing them out to her child. Most people walk one or two dogs at once, so this dog-walker appears to be more of an exception than the rule, as well.

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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.