Italian Dogs

Who needs an Italian man when you can get an Italian dog?

One of the best experiences of my time in college was when I spent a semester abroad in Italy. Italy is the one place in life where the cameras and movies do not fully capture the essence of it. It is a country crawling with people, tourists…and dogs. But there is one place in particular that seems so odd for there to be dogs, the ruins of Pompeii.

There are about 50 dogs living within the destroyed walls of Pompeii. They have been there for so long, they almost act as tour guides who intermingle with all the tourists. As a tourist, you are not only seeing a part of history, you are walking around the dogs’ domain.

The dogs used to be less fortunate. They had to rely on sympathetic tourists for food and water. That changed in 2009 when Pompeii’s Emergency Commissioner, Marcello Fiori, announced that the dogs would now be cared for by the city. After the announcement, volunteers from Italy’s top animal charities traveled to Pompeii. They fitted all the stray dogs with microchips, collars and name tags. The new official residents of Pompeii were christened with the names of actual ancient Pompeii residents such as Meleagro, Odone and Plautus. The dogs were then treated for any illness, and were sterilized.

As good as that was, this is not all that has been bestowed upon the once-stray dogs. The new goal for the ancient city of Pompeii is to find families for all of the dogs. That’s right, the dogs of Pompeii are up for adoption. I can speak from firsthand experience that all of the dogs are extremely people-friendly and deserve a good home. Whether they would make it through customs on the way back with you to the U.S. is another question altogether!

Have you ever been to Pompeii? Did you see the dogs there? Tell us about it in the comments!

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