Benvenuti! I hope you enjoyed out little foray into life and pets in Italy on Wendy's Animal Talk on Tuesday. If you didn't catch it then click here
I had a ball talking to Wendy about my life in Italy, my pets and my website www.petsinitaly.com which aims, among other things, to find homes for Italy's many homeless dogs. Some of these dogs' only hope of finding a home is through the internet. I never realised until I started the site just how many appeals there are circulating on the net, posted by the many different groups of 'animalisti' (animal lovers) in Italy who do their best, often at their own expense, to look after abandoned dogs or those from dog shelters. It is usually the old ones or the hunting dogs (cani di caccia) or the handicapped ones that have a hard time finding homes.
Italy has between 400,000 and 600,000 stray dogs and only about 150,000 of those are in shelters. Some of the shelters, like the one I volunteer at in the Casentino in Tuscany, are really excellent, the dogs are well looked after and the adoption rate is good. Others are quite bad, verging on shocking, including the notorious canili lager (if I tell you lager is taken from the German word for prison camp, you will get the idea) and some dogs in these pounds have not been let out for many years.
I actually adopted a dog myself through an Internet appeal. He is an English Setter called Gaspare (Gassi for short, which Italians pronounce Guess-ee!) and he has been with us almost a year now. Although he is as mad as a hatter, he is my pride and joy. You can read his story here.
I hope this will be the first of many chats I have with Wendy on her fabulous show.