Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Doggie Consciousness--Vito's Rescue

Vincie was a shelter dog--a pup who stared at me quietly while the others barked--he lived with us for 17 years.
Vito, basking in attention from his new friends
The subject of dogs is an interesting one for all the non-Italians we have met here in Calabria. To put it plainly--there are lots of dogs and there are lots of strays, both abandoned pets and feral offspring. The rest are owned as hunting or watch dogs and only a few are cherished pets. We aren't experts on this subject because we are cowards...we don't want to know exactly what happens to each stray we meet who then disappears! It is an enormous problem that seems beyond the capabilities of us foreigners to positively affect. We have heard of roundups, but they aren't often and we don't know first-hand the conditions in animal shelters. We do know that many strays die--either poisoned or run over or starved. 

This is the story of Vito, one dog who was saved thanks mostly to Fiona, a woman we met on the internet who adopted a stray herself a couple years ago and who asked us for help this time. Our assignment was to find him where she last remembered he hung out (she had to leave the area since she lives in the U.S.) and to deliver him to a shelter in Lamezia Terme from where a Dutch woman would take him to Holland with her. We accepted, although we wondered whether we could find him and find the shelter. It sounded like a good thing to do for dogs. Vincie (our good old dog) would have wanted us to try since we found him at a shelter in America where at that time and place he would have either gotten adopted or gotten killed. 

Vito meets Francesca, who runs the shelter where he'll live before he flies to Holland

Vito was reported by Fiona to be hanging out in the hilltown of Guardia Piemontese--at the cemetery. We were supposed to meet Mario and his partner there. They are with an animal protection group in Cosenza helping with strays. Mario and his friend would help us search and then direct us to the shelter. We worked together and managed to find him nearby at a panificio (bakery) where he begged for food. He was more handsome than the photo Fiona sent. Some of us just aren't that photogenic.

The shelter, called Rifugio Fata is very nice-- handles up to 150 dogs.

We and Vito had a very long ride to Lamezia, but he was welcomed by many new dog friends. He was very clean and obviously used to people, although he might have bad dreams of being dumped in Guardia Piemontese.

Meanwhile, at home in Santa Domenica, we feed Raggedy A**, a friend we met in the parking lot. We wish we could take her in, but we promised ourselves that we wouldn't own a dog in SDT again. We know there will always be strays who befriend us, we wish there was a better answer for them all. She is lucky. A person unknown to us had her spayed so she will not add to the feral dog population. That person, and we, feed her and keep her alive. We're adding a collar this week which is the local way of saying "this dog should not be taken in a roundup."

Vito looks out of the back of our car on the way to meet Francesca.  Good luck in your new life!


  1. You guys rock! I get why you're not adding more doggies to your home, but the fact that you would search for, and find Vito then take him to the shelter is so neat! thank you from one of your followers and a dog lover as well!

  2. by the way Raggedy A** is adorable! give her a doggie treat from me!

  3. Hi! I just found your blog today.
    Yes, it's good of you to take the time to help rescue Vito! I certainly would have done that, too.
    I love that photo of Vincie. He lived a very long time for a lab. I don't know if you still have him.
    I have had 4 labs and have had to say goodbye to them all after long lives.
    My hubby was born and raised in Oregon. We met at a ski resort in Colorado way back in 1975. We have three grown children and now live on a SMALL farm raising pigs and chickens near a big wilderness area in the Colorado Rockies.
    Periodically, I dream of doing just what you have done. I have been reading about Calabria lately and am now reading "Christ Stopped at Eboli." Maybe you have read it, too. Very fascinating!

  4. Hi Katsing, I hope my daughter sees that we can still rock! She works at a large vet firm in Portland with clinics all around the country and also is a dog lover.

    Carerina B - Welcome.Yes, Vince died last November and we are not going to have more pets. We can simply help local strays -- much like feeding homeless people in cities! Your history is interesting. I was working at the Steamboat Ski Area in 1975 and later I worked for the USFS in Aspen overseeing the ski areas and outfitters in the wildernesses there. It was a fun job where I got to ride horses in the mountains and ski on the mountains and get paid for it! Have heard of the book but not read it yet. Cheers, Doug

  5. Hmmmm....small world. My hubby and I met in Vail in July, 1975. He had dropped out of the U of O in Eugene and drove out to Vail to ski for "one season." We met and he never looked back. He still loves Oregon but loves Colorado more.
    How did you two decide on Calabria and how did you find your village?

    1. We refer you to the listing of past posts on the right. Look for April 4, 2013 about or decisions to move to Calabria and Santa Domenica T.

  6. Forgot to mention that there are 45 posts carrying the post category Why Calabria. There is a list of categories on the right side of the page.

    For a quick answer that doesn't do the question justice, I would say it was a mix of people, sea, mountains, architecture and romance. The spell of old Italy is intact here despite all the problems.



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