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Puppy Love

Italians, it seems, are crazy about dogs.

Every time we go for a walk, there is an incessant parade of puppies, doggies and dogs on the street with an adoring human walking behind them. Once, I counted seven dogs passing by us in the space of a minute.

A cute little dog is excited to see us
In fact, dog spotting is our favourite activity on a day to day basis here in Vicenza. We go down the street, with me pushing the buggy and my baby squealing in delight every time we come across a dog. Which is often.

A dog waiting for his owner

All breeds and sizes are represented. And all seem absolutely adored and totally spoiled.

A dog in a tartan top in a stroller

I became aware of this national obsession with dogs the first week-end after we moved to live in Italy. Out of all places that we could have visited that first Saturday in the Bel Paese, we chose to go to Ikea. I know!

Well, our flat was full with boxes stuffed with our belongings and we urgently needed some home-related things plus babyproofing components. So, we went to Ikea, where among the throng of shoppers and amid the vast showrooms were dogs. Quite a few of them. Some were wheeled around in the shopping trolleys…

A dog is resting in a shopping trolley in Ikea

…whereas others were patiently waiting for their humans to make up their minds about swatches.

A dog is patiently waiting for his humans in Ikea

The dogs felt right at home and no-one (apart from me) batted an eyelid at them being there, which confirmed my impression that unlike the UK and Bulgaria, dogs are actually welcome in shops in Italy.

Since then I have come across many a dog in many a shop. Like this tiny little pooch in a tights shop in Verona.

A tiny dog in a tights shop in Verona

And this fabulous dog accompanying his master to the phone shop.

A dog with his master in a local phone shop

Often dogs are not just visitors to the shops. Quite a few shop owners take their pets with them to work every morning.

I have seen a dog spending his days at leisure in a hairdresser’s salon, a dog quietly sniffing the books in a bookshop run by his devoted lady owner and a dog who actually spends every day in a funeral shop. Have a look below, if you don’t believe me.

A cute little dog spends his days in this funeral shop

This adorable little doggie is a big attraction in a local fitness centre. He is always perched on top of the reception desk and lets you pet him.

A dog is perched on top of the reception desk at a local fitness centre

During the hot months many shops leave a bowl filled with water on the pavement in front of their premises. This is for passing dogs, so that they can have a drink when the sun gets too much.

A water bowl is left outside a shop in Vicenza for passing dogs

If the shop doesn’t admit dogs (because it is a grocer’s, for example), there usually is a polite note on the door with the picture of a furry friend and the words ‘Io non posso entrare’ (I can’t come in) in Italian affixed to the door.

In such cases, sometimes the shop provides a place for people to tie their dogs whilst they are doing their shopping inside.

See here.

A place to securely tie your dog before you go in a shop

But some dogs are so well behaved, they simply wait for their owner to come out of the shop without the need to be tied up.

A dog waits patiently for his master in front of a local deli

In winter dogs in Italy are as fashionably dressed as their style-conscious owners. Little jumpers and even puffa jackets are deployed to make sure that man’s best friend is kept warm and cozy.

A dog is wearing a jumper and a puffa jacket to keep warm

Look at this great onesie. It has a hood, too!

A dog is wearing a onesie with a hood to keep warm

When two dogs meet, their owners meet, too. In other words, they smile, stop and have a quick chat, whilst their pets get acquainted with each other. Cooing over the other dog is totally permitted.

Two dogs meet in front of Arena di Verona

People are genuinely happy if you approach them and ask them about their dog. Seeing my baby getting super excited and repeating ‘Doggy! Doggy!’, dog owners often come to us and ask if she wants to pet their dog.

I have to admit that I have always been a cat person at heart, but seeing all these cuties on a daily basis around Vicenza in particular and in Italy as a whole, is slowly starting to convince me that yes, my husband has been right all along and we should get a dog one day.

A cute little dog

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