So you think you would like to live in Italy

This is our story, warts an' all. We have come this far since May 2004 and survived the bureaucracy, a freezing cold winter, a landslip and a diminishing money pot. Share our experiences, believe me the good ones far outweigh the bad and if you want to ask a question and we know the answer, we'll tell it like it is.

I found this little phrase in a Collins Italian Phrase Book published in 1963 ~ "passa ogni limite" pahs'sah ohn'yee lee'mee-tay which means: That's the giddy limit. Useful if there's anybody out there that quaint!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

DogBlog May


Full of good intentions. When we acquired our dogs, we determined to train them the ‘Cesar Millan’ way and we have been fairly disciplined about it. Cesar supports the ‘all humans are the pack leaders’ logic and as such we should maintain a ‘calm assertive’ stance at all times, and dogs should be encouraged to be ‘calm submissive’. If you have ever tried to teach a pup (no, to be precise, two pups) to be calm submissive you will know just how trying that can be. I’m sure we’ll get there in the end ~ speriamo. Another philosophy of Cesar is that it is normal for dogs as pack animals to sleep together so for those of you who allow your dogs to sleep with you this is perfectly acceptable, so long as they have a given space, i.e. at the bottom of the bed or on the floor. Not for us though the bed sharing thing, volume being the problem. They take up more space than us if you count the wieldiness of their legs and Monte snores to boot. So, our ‘pack time’ is the evening when the dogs are allowed into our living space but, until now, not on the sofa. In a moment of weakness we allowed Giorgio to climb up next to us. Within an hour the sofa was ‘taken over’ and has now become a dog domain. No clean living human being would sit on it again. And so the dogs have gained a bed; it will be moved down into the cowshed (the dog den) and will take pride of place amongst the gnawed toys and the chewed collection of sticks nicked from the log pile. But they are not pampered!

They may be big, they may be cumbersome but Blacky, the cat is fearless. He will make a nuisance of himself until one of the dogs gives up his bed for him. Surprisingly, they always do.

The boys made a bid for freedom again this week and surprised us all not least the builders who were working on the new house. They may not be Italian (coming as they do from Kosovo) but they are born with the same fear the Italians have of large dogs. It’s not unusual to hear a bit of unrecognisable banter between them (remember they are all brothers bar one, who is a cousin and in my experience family conflicts are the loudest) and sometimes it can become rather heated. I was in the garden plucking out some herbs when I heard a rather different tone, a good deal more emphatic than the usual raillery. Whilst I was wondering what sort of dilemma could have brought on such an outburst, Giorgio appeared behind me looking very pleased with himself for having found me. Oops ~ the dogs are out! I should add at this point that the dogs are not dangerous; it’s just that they are big boys and an excitable nudge from one of them could topple Samson added to the fact that their sense of adventure is stronger than their desire to ‘come’ even for a sausage. Monte is the chief troublemaker and if he decides to go AWOL Giorgio will follow. Giorgio on this occasion followed me back to the house but where was Monte? Ah, he’d found the builders. The Brothers immobilised by fear at the sight of Monte gallivanting around the garden appeared to be following all the rules of what to do when confronted by a wild animal. Stand absolutely still, face the aggressor, do not make any sudden moves and avoid eye contact. Maybe they stopped breathing for a while or was the grey pallor just cement dust? An amusing sight. I was very impressed with Monte as a guard dog; he pretended he didn’t know they were there at all!!! Anyway dog retrieved, brows wiped, back to work.

Meet William, the boys' youngest fan so far. He doesn't stand nearly as tall as them yet but is clearly delighted to be with them. All young pups together!

See pics of all fans in DogBlog February.

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