Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. ~ Groucho Marx
A woman with an Irish wolfhound bigger than my six-year-old boarded a bus we were on, headed toward Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy. She bought a ticket for herself and her pooch and took a seat.
In the year we have spent living in Italy, we have seen dogs of every size, in many places that would have stopped us in our tracks in the USA. Almost every day I see someone enter a boutique I would feel underdressed for, with a huge dog. It is a daily occurrence to see people leaving Gucci or Prada with their shopping bags in one hand and their leash in the other.
In shopping malls from Rome to Milan, dogs are welcome. Their paws click as they tread the marble tiled floors and navigate the escalators as if they are right at home. I lost count of the number of cafes we have frequented where dogs of every size are people watching, with their owners.
We see dogs on Vespas, on the beach, in restaurants, department stores and on trains, and they are as welcome and celebrated as everyone else in Italy. They even sell huge bags of pasta for dogs in the supermarket!
It has been wonderful for our children to have access to these beloved pets as one of the downsides to a nomadic life is the lack of four-legged friends. It is just one more way that Italians demonstrate their inclusive definition of family. Their passion for pets is in alignment with their passion for everything worthy of its expression.