4. Carnevale di Venezia

Lost in the crowd at Venice Carnival

Dog at Venice Carnival

ABOVE: When the crowds get crazy, a nervous dog needs a hug.

We're in the final weekend of Venice Carnival, and the major pedestrian thoroughfares in the city are jammed with people. Unfortunately, even the busiest streets tend to be narrow, and human traffic jams can be frustrating.

The crowds can be especially worrisome if you're a dog without a leash, as the following short video demonstrates:


Françoise & Georges of Lyon greet Maggie

Maggie at the Scuola Grande dei Carmini

1Maggie with Georges of Lyon

ABOVE: Georges, shown here in civilian clothes, ruffles Maggie's fur with the Scuola Grande dei Carmini as a backdrop.

This afternoon, we were walking near the Scuola Grande dei Carmini in Dorsoduro when a pleasant-looking couple looked at our canine companion and said "Maggie"? They identified themselves as Françoise and Georges of Lyon, France, and said they'd found our blog after reading La Nuova's newspaper article about Maggie a few weeks ago.

While giving Maggie a rubdown, they revealed that they had a 1½-year-old Polish Lowland Sheepdog at home named Eros (see  photo) and knew Pongo, a local dog who has been mentioned several times in this blog.

Françoise and Georges also handed us their card (shown below), which had a picture of two elaborately costumed Carnival performers, an e-mail address, and a statement in three languages that "A nice picture would make us happy!" Only after we'd said farewell did we realize that they were the couple in the photo! (Click here and here for photos of their costumes in 2010.)

Francoise and Georges of Lyon at Venice Carnival

Canine Carnival in Venice

Carnival confetti
The Carnevale di Venezia provides an excuse for the closest thing Venice has to violent juvenile crime: throwing bits of colored paper at strangers, both human and canine. Repressed children, deprived of the opportunity to join youth gangs, go on once-a-year confetti-tossing sprees, and woe betide the hairy dog who gets in their way during Carnival. (Maggie was still wearing confetti in her fur after walking home to the Campo Santa Margherita area from the Piazza San Marco.)

Maggie and acqua alta in St. Mark's Square
Acqua alta, or "high water," made several appearances in the Piazza San Marco before and during the final weekend of Carnival, but Maggie wasn't fazed by it as long as she could stand at the edge of the water where she wouldn't get her feet wet.

People in boots during Venice flooding
 She enjoyed watching the waders...

Drain in the Piazza San Marco
...and she was fascinated by the sight of water swirling into a drain as the flood tide receded.

Bearded Collie at Venice Carnival
But for Maggie, the best part of Carnevale was getting attention from Carnivalgoers.