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January 2011

Maggie gives the sniff test to Johnny Depp

Maggie tracks Johnny Depp in Venice

ABOVE: Maggie gets up close and personal with Johnny Depp's familiar scent.

In our Venice Travel Blog, we posted a video earlier today titled "Johnny Depp's Palazzo in Venice." The video shows a house on the Grand Canal that the star of Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean, and (more recently) The Tourist just bought for a reported 10 million euros.

Since this blog is about Maggie, we thought you might be interested in hearing about the role that she played in helping us scoop the mainstream media with our paparazzi video. In the clip below, you'll see the palazzo, followed by actual footage of Maggie sniffing at the back door of Johnny Depp's new holiday home to confirm that the star had been there recently.

Trivia notes for "Making of" fans:

  • Before finding our way to the palazzo, we refreshed Maggie's scent memory from last year by having her sniff a photo of Johnny Depp from a local newspaper, La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre.
  • We also downloaded a digitized scent file from a Hollywood film-industry site,
  • Maggie had no trouble remembering Johnny's scent, since she spent a considerable time trying to track him down during the filming of The Tourist in Venice.

Here's our video, shot earlier today, of Maggie putting her nose to the grindstone (or at least to the stone sill of Johnny Depp's back door) as a service dog for the entertainment-gossip industry:


Cute Italian dogs disarm terrorists and criminals

West Highland White Terrier in Venice

ABOVE AND INSET BELOW: A Westie of the Italian Army's Cani Carini unit plays the cuteness card in the Campo Santa Maria Formosa.

West Highland White Terrier in military camouflage Not so many years ago, it wasn't uncommon to see Italian soldiers with large German Shepherd dogs in the immigration and customs area when you arrived at Venice Airport.

Today, the Italian government is experimenting with a kinder and gentler approach by using West Highland White Terriers and other cute dogs to disarm terrorists and other criminals (figuratively, if not physically) as they enter the country and move about the city of Venice.

A spokesman for the Italian Army's Cani Carini ("Cute Dogs") unit explains:

"Anche i cattivi dicono 'Ah...' quando vedono un cane simpatico. Se riusciamo asciogliere i loro cuori con un animale adorabile penseranno due volte prima di impegnarsi incomportamenti inappropriati."

("Even bad guys say "Aw..." when they see a cute dog. If we can melt their hearts with an adorable animal, they'll think twice about engaging in inappropriate behavior.")

Bottom line: If you're approached by a West Highland White Terrier or a Dachshund in military camouflage during your trip to Venice, don't be alarmed. The dog hasn't been trained to hurt or intimidate you--it's there for your protection.

Maggie rehearses for the Gustavus Choir

Maggie sings in Venice

ABOVE: Maggie is inspired by one of the Gustavus Choir's signature pieces, "How Can I Keep from Singing?"

Last night, we attended an outstanding Gustavus Choir concert at the Church of San Salvador near the Rialto Bridge. Maggie was so impressed by our enthusiasm that she wanted to audition for a mascot position with the choir, even though we don't live anywhere near the Gustavus Adolphus college campus in St. Peter, Minnesota, USA.

Fortunately, Maggie got cold feet (or possibly a sore throat) after rehearsing her audition piece near the Frari Church. Here's a video: