It is quite hard to write about Alaska because, out of all my father’s dogs, she is the one I feel closest to on an emotional level. Let’s just say that, if James is my stepbrother’s dog and Noir is my stepsister’s, Alaska can be considered my dog, since we have a strong connection and she relies on me to take care of her whenever I am visiting the family.
Born from a stray dog in the region of Campania (Southern Italy), she is a Maremma sheepdog mix like Ambra, even though she is much bigger than her, and they both come from the same dog kennel.
If you’ve read the article I wrote about Ambra, you will probably remember that she suffered a series of abuses at the kennel. Alaska went through the same situation and it was much worse for her, as she’s more fragile and sensible than Ambra, who’s a tough dog and is not easily frightened or intimidated.
I have always thought of George, our Pekingese, as a little lion. He’s one of the oldest dogs we have and one of the very first dogs my father’s partner bought.
He is almost eleven years old and he comes from a Pekingese breeding centre on the outskirts of Rome.
When we first met, he was a bit shy but then he started spending the evenings on the couch with me while I was working on my laptop. Having nine dogs, we usually don’t allow them to enter the living room all at once because they would probably destroy it, especially if we aren’t home, but we like to allow one or two dogs at a time to stay with us when we watch TV.
George is the one who is always present in the living room, be it on the couch or the pouf. He loves playing with other dogs (especially with Byron, our Setter Gordon; let’s say he enjoys bossing him around!) but he also likes falling asleep next to us.
Grace is an Irish Setter bought by my father’s partner about ten years ago, so she’s the oldest of the crew. She comes from Scarna’s Red Dream, a dog breeding centre specialized on the breeding of Irish setters (it is in fact one of the biggest in Europe). Born from Cordarragh Sebastian and Cordarragh Titania and originally named Aisha, Grace was among the first dogs my father’s partner got, as she switched to adopting them instead of buying puppies from breeding centres. I think this is a great option, especially because you give the dogs a chance to have a better life and escape from traumatic experiences.
As some of you may know, Irish Setters are usually very intelligent, loyal, affectionate and energetic. Grace embraces all these qualities, even now that she’s old.
She was already nine years old when I met her, so I learned through my family’s tales that she was hyperactive and vivacious when she was younger; she once destroyed the living room when nobody was home, because of her inclination to play and run back and forth in the house.
This image is quite different from the Grace I came to know; now that she’s an old lady, she spends the majority of her time sleeping on the floor or waiting for food. She is gourmand like Jolie, with whom she has a mother-daughter relationship, as I mentioned in this article about our Pomeranian mix.
You can’t imagine how much Grace is interested in food. She is always present every time we are in the kitchen, and one needs to be careful because she may literally steal you the food from your hands! I was told that she once stole a piece of Parmesan cheese from the kitchen counter and escaped to the garden to eat it by herself 😁 she loves food so much that sometimes she is the only dog showing interest for salad, too!
I adhere to the various anti-abandonment campaigns of animals in the summertime promoted by animal welfare associations and organizations.
All these campaigns stem from the desire to discourage pet owners from abandoning them before they set off for the summer holidays, when this occurrence reaches its peak. In Italy, where I live, the abandonment of an animal in the street is a criminal offense and the situation of stray animals, particularly in Southern Italy (where most of the animals we’ve adopted come from), has reached dramatic levels.
People need to stop treating dogs, cats and other pets as objects to be used only as a pastime to get rid of when they get tired of them. Taking responsibility is the first step towards stopping abandonment; I am proud to say that over the years part of my family has rescued numerous dogs who have been mistreated, abandoned and even brutally abused. Now these dogs have a loving home and they’ve been given the chance to live a happy, dignified life. I often spend time with them and they’ve helped me cope with my emotions during a particularly tough time. They love us unconditionally and are very protective towards the family. I am grateful to have them in my life and I will surely talk about each one of them individually on this blog. I also created a dog retrospective that can be found on my Flickr profile , where I show their funniest and most authentic moments.
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