puppies - update

03/22/2013 - 07:04

Just thought some people might like to know that the puppes are doing really well. Weighing in at between 1.2 and 1.8 kg when I found them on 2/2, they now weigh between 5.5 and 6.5 kg. LOTS of hard work (cleaning the "nasty" stuff mostly) but great fun and very rewarding - although the noise is sometimes deafening and nerve shattering!To cut a long long story short they will be leaving me early April to go to Britain thanks to the fund raising and efforts of a small animal welfare trust there. I fully understand why some (many?) people won't approve of this - but as it is really hard to place animals in good homes in the area where I live, I am just glad that these pups will be going to properly vetted homes with follow up visits part of the deal.I really hope that I will never find any more abandoned animals in the future - but I certainly have absolutely no regrets for picking them up and bringing them home


Well done, Sabina. You have done something wonderful for the pups and I am sure that they will bein the best possible hands. it would have been very difficult to find them homes in Italy with the current crisis. our own doggy was once an abandoned one. She is now 17 years young, in good health and we hope that she may keep on going for a long time. And she enjoys going to Italy with us because the neighbours also love her. We did the right thing when we collected her from a refuge and I must add that we did not adopt her, she adopted us.

A wonderful story...  well done you! If I ever do reside in Italy permanently, a rescue dog will be a must have!  For the present, I make do with my neighbours cats who reside on my terrace whenever I go as i feed them proper cat food, not just bread & pasta!  Wish I could persuade their owners to neuter them, but that's another topic!

Absolutely!  There is a vast minority of Italians that love and care for their animals in the best way possible.  It is also the EU country with the most animal welfare laws - but like so many other laws here, they are sadly ignored by many and rarely enforced.  It is also true that the number of animal abuse cases, animals taken to shelters etc is on the increase in the UK, but there I think it is perhaps a growing minority of people who mistreat their animal whereas there is still a large majority who don't. Hopefully the trend can be reversed sooner rather than later. Many of the problems in Italy, in my view anyway, based on more than 30 years of living and or working here - and in different parts of the country too - stem from an unwillingness - for whatever reason - to spay and neuter their pets and this results in vast numbers of unwanted litters, many of which are then killed at, or shortly after birth, later abandoned in the countryside or - worse still - thrown out of a moving car.  Many dog owners in particular, rarely feed their dogs proper dog food, but rather fill them up with "doggie pasta! (not very nutritious) or their own table scraps and left overs.  Out in the country, many dogs are left tied up on short chains year in and year out, and some do not even have shelter from the elements other than perhaps, if they are lucky, a nearby bush or parked / abandoned car / tractor etc.  In this area at least (NE Lazio) hunters seem to believe that their dogs should be kept in skeletal conditions so that they will be more keen to hunt (personally I would have thought the dogs would be more likely to eat the  prey, but....) and very few of any of these people have their dogs vaccinated etc.  In the cities, large and small dog breeds sometimes spend their entire lives on a small balcony - with perhaps the pleasure of a walk just once every so often.... In my experience, many people here are afraid of dogs, whatever their size.  Most mothers immediately shout at their children to "stay away" if they try to approach a dog (an instinctive reaction in small children), rather than perhaps asking "can we say hello / stroke the dog" - and then teaching the child how to approach a dog in the safest way possible.  They also seem paranoid about the germs and bacteria they might pick up!  Whilst I wouldn't recommend allowing a street dog to sleep in or even on your bed before it has been bathed and treated for fleas etc - generally speaking no dog is going to cause any major problems as long as you are sensible (washing hands after dealing with a dirty bottom etc).  As someone said on an earlier thread - you're more likely to be at risk from your computer keyboard than a pet dog. My hope is - perhaps very naively - that the new Pope - having said he chose his name after the saint from Assisi, will at some point talk about caring for animals!  But - I won't hold my breath.

We noticed a big change in the way animals are cared for when moving from Marche to Liguria. Here, no-one calls their kids away from our big dog. We often have parents ask if he is OK and can their kids pet him. Many people have big dogs as pets and I see them walking them. OK - we could do with a bit more poopy scooping but the difference in how they are regarded is quite marked. I am sure the further inland we go it will change.

Unfortunately I have had similar experiences with litters of abandoned puppies. Last August in our village in Basilicata there was a stray dog with a litter of puppies. They were being fed sporadically, and I tried to get the local vigile urbano to do something about them with no success. Somebody eventually 'adopted' the mother and one of the puppies, but the fate of the others is unknown. Now there is another litter of puppies from the same mother, but the 'owner' is unwilling to have her neutered, preferring to let nature take its course. Two English ladies in the village are trying to persuade him to let them take her to the vet. The puppy from last year's litter is mainly kept in a small kennel, he is a lovely dog but absolutely enoormous, unrecognisable from the fluffy bundle of last summer. Yes, the dogs are all fed watery pasta... It is all very distressing, and I wonder what will happen to the current litter, now 9 weeks old.  It is good that Sabina has managed to find a solution for her puppies, but obviously this is impracticable on a wide scale. I don't know what the answer is.

Yes - I was extremely lucky....and in fact the pups left for the UK on Thurs so at the moment I am feeling quite bereft!  I am hoping and praying however that I don't come across another litter in the future as I am sure that the UK solution would not be an option again. As to a solution?  My dream is to win the lottery and set up a mobile clinic offering free spaying and neutering and a decent, comfortable shelter....It will never happen of course but as they say here, "la speranza è l'ultima cosa da morire" There is an Anglo-Italian society that supposedly already does this: www.aispa.org.uk. but I have yet to meet anyone who has ever personally seen any evidence that they are  around!  Am sure they must be but... The whole cultural approach to animal care is different here - despite all the laws and the many people who make excellent pet owners.  Perhaps going into schools and trying to educate the young would help - but several vets have told me they think that it is unlikely schools would allow this to happen, for fear of backlash from parents whose children might go home and start criticising what they are doing!  And - sadly - to repeat what I said before, there is also an increase in animal cruelty and neglect in the UK that also needs to be reversed.  There are also many expats in Spain who have had to, for whatever reason, return to the UK....and apparently a huge number of them are leaving their pets behind, sometimes turning them out into the street, leaving them locked inside an abandoned  house / garden with perhaps enough food for a week or so (assuming the animal doesn't woof it down in one...).  Thankfully there are various animal rescue organizations - run by expats - who keep an eye out for such situations and manage to rescue many pets quite quickly, avoiding immediate tragedies, but then having to try and rehome many more animals than usual.