Sunday, April 25, 2010


European dogs are cuter than American dogs. Easy. Minus the mangy, dirty strays that roam all around (and sometimes these are cute, too) these dogs are all extremely well-groomed. They are all well-behaved. They don't smell. The variety of dogs in Europe is astounding; instead of seeing every woman walking a mini chihuahua and every man walking a fat little pug, the Europeans like to mix it up. There are big goldens, weiner dogs, thin Greyhounds, and poodles. Lots and lots of poodles that are so well-maintained they actually look like poodles. In America, poodles don't have the fluffy balls on their feet and tails. In Europe, they do. I've had more than one conversation with friends about how seeing all the Europeans walking their beautiful dogs makes me want my best friend Bobo here in Italy with me. I miss him so much. I'd do pretty much anything to have my dog here in Europe. Dogs are everywhere and I desperately want mine here to fit in. Plus, I think my crazy dog could take a page out of the European good-dog handbook. In Europe, there aren't any regulations against having your pets on the train. You can bring your dogs into the bars, into the clothing stores, and even into restaurants. It's abnormal not to. They are so well-behaved the owners feel safe bringing them into these places. I haven't seen one bad dog, yet. Even the mangy street dogs are good. They even allow their dogs to roam freely, unleashed, and they faithfully trot alongside their owners. They know to look out for cars, they know not to wander too far away, they know not to stop for too long to catch a wiff of another dog's pee. I feel such longing when I watch how good these dogs are, and I DESPERATELY WANTED TO PET ONE.

I knew which dog I wanted to pet. Outside of my apartment is the San Lorenzo church. There is a piazza outside of this church and my favorite breed of dog next to a Huskie lays out there every day. Right in front of the steps, begging to be pet. Every morning before school I walk through this piazza and restrain myself from stopping for ten minutes to sit with this dog. He is bigger than a bear, fluffy, adorable. I'll stop myself from continuing. As I approach everyday I can't help but feel like all I want in the world is to bend down and pet this dog. His owner is one of the only non-creepy San Lorenzo marketplace shop owners. I wondered if his non-creepiness would be displaced to meanness and was terrified to ask if I could pet his dog. I tried to smile at him every day to let him know I was friendly, hoping my friendliness would incite him to allow me to pet his dog when I finally bucked up the courage to ask. The closest I ever came to asking was one beautiful, sunshiney morning when he asked me if I wanted to buy a belt. No, sir, I don't want your belt, but can I please pet your dog? It didn't sound right. How agonizing it became to walk past this dog every day and not bend down and pat his soft, brown head. He just layed there, unmoving, every morning. I daydreamed. I'd buy a ball and sit with this dog and play fetch forever, watching him bound around the piazza with his long tounge lolling around. He'd run back to me with a slobbery tennis ball and drop it in my lap and I'd throw it again and again. I know, I'm pathetic. I just really wanted to pet this dog.

It wasn't until nearly halfway through my schooling, during Spring break time when I was lonely and unhappy, that I couldn't take it anymore. Screw the language barrier, I was going to ask this San Lorenzo man if I could pet his dog. The dog was so cute, just laying there on another one of the only sunny days in the history of Firenze, I just needed to pet him. The cobblestones weren't wet, I could sit there for a minute or two. I'd had a good breakfast and was feeling brave. "Scusa, Signore," I said, hesitantly. "Ciao bella!" he cried. Of course, I'd underestimated his creepy. I suppose the Ciao bella's come with the San Lorenzo territory. It must be part of the job description. Anyway, I asked "Questa e sua cane?", "Siiiiiii" was his long, drawling reply. He wasn't getting a sale and I wasn't interested in making out with him later and so all that San Lorenzo friendliness was gone. "Posso coccolare il cane?" A curt nod, and I was elated! I practically bounced over to the dog, completely out of my mind with happiness. I bent over and put my hand out for him to sniff. He didn't even bother. To my great disappointment he took one look at me, got up and walked over two or three cobblestones before lying down in exactly the same position he'd been in before I'd disrupted him.

I guess Eurodogs are just as unfriendly as Europeans. And Bobo, you're still the best dog in the world.
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby.

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