In this illustrated dog blog, we're chronicling Maggie's adventures--and ours--as part-time residents of Italy's most dog- and pedestrian-friendly city. We're also sharing photos and video clips about dogs (and the occasional cat) in Venice.
ABOVE: Meg stands (or, rather, lies) watch over her domain.
Over the years, Cheryl (sometimes accompanied by Maggie) has bought t-shirts and other gifts at a souvenir cart in the Campo delle Beccarie, next to the Pescaria or Fish Market on the San Polo side of Venice's Rialto Bridge.
Recently, Cheryl stopped by the cart to buy more t-shirts for our grandchildren, and she remembered that the lady who owned the kiosk had once mentioned having a dog.
When Cheryl asked about the dog, the lady took her around the cart and pulled a drawer open. Inside the drawer was Meg, her nine-year-old canine companion. Cheryl couldn't resist taking photos, and here's a selection:
ABOVE: Meg and her owner show off their stall near Venice's Fish Market.
ABOVE: Meg, the ever-watchful watchdog, sniffs Cheryl's shoes before allowing her to touch the merchandise.
ABOVE: Having satisfied herself that Cheryl isn't a shoplifter or cat, Meg settles back onto her watchdog's shelf.
ABOVE: After Cheryl makes a purchase, Meg says "Thank you" by licking her hand. (The thanks were mutual: Meg's owner's prices are fair, and the lady has always given Cheryl a discount for multiple purchases.)
Need a t-shirt, scarf, apron, or other souvenir made of fabric?
The teardrop-shaped red marker shows the location of Meg's--and her owner's--souvenir cart. You can zoom in on the map (and drag it, if necessary) to see the walking route from the Rialto Bridge:
ABOVE: In June, this dog (plus another dog, eight cats, and three tortoises) will welcome a housesitter in Ayvalik, Turkey.
In a new Europe for Visitors Blog post, we describe a great travel opportunity for pet lovers with time to spare: House-sitting in Europe with TrustedHouseSitters.com.
The concept is simple: You take care of a house or apartment (including pets and plants) while the homeowners are out of town. In return, you get a free place to stay for anywhere from a week or two to several months.
Opportunities range from London townhouses to French farmhouses to villas on the beach in Turkey and Greece. (Listings change all the time, and if you're open-minded about location, you can vacation for a good part of the year without ever paying for a place to stay--especially after you've established yourself as a reliable housesitter.)
We didn't find any Venice listings in our perusal of TrustedHouseSitters.com's most recent opportunities, but we did see an apartment in Umbria that came with a herd of alpacas on a nearby farm.
ABOVE: Maggie demonstrates her close-range DNA sniffing skills.
Now that residents of Venice and the Veneto have voted unofficially to secede from Italy, regional authorities are looking for ways to identify true Venetians so that Italian loyalists from out of town won't be able to rig the results of any legally-binding referendum on secession and reinstitution of the Venetian Republic.
So far, the most popular proposal has been to train volunteer "sniffer dogs" in DNA detection through nasal scanning.
In the photo above, Maggie shows how the process will work:
- When a referendum voter attempts to enter a polling place, a trained sniffer dog will collect a sample of the person's DNA nasally. (For reliability, two samples will be collected, one with each nostril.)
- The dog's brain will then process the DNA data and compare the result with a chart of known DNA signatures from Venetian families. If a match occurs, the prospective voter will be allowed to enter the polling place. If not, he or she will be exposed as a tourist and offered a discount voucher at local souvenir shops.
No official referendum on independence has been scheduled, so the current DNA-collection plan is merely a pilot project. Still, the city authorities are hoping to recruit a core group of canine volunteers in anticipation of future needs.