7. Celebrities

Did Maggie see Johnny Depp, and...

Palazzina Grassi entrance

ABOVE: The main street entrance of the Palazzina Grassi, a boutique hotel where Johnny Depp is reported to be staying during the filming of The Tourist with Angelina Jolie.

...Just as important, did Johnny Depp see Maggie?

That's the question that has Venice (or at least our insignificant little corner of Venice) buzzing today.

This morning, Cheryl took Maggie on a long walk, as usual. The two happened to stroll past Johnny Depp's Venice digs to take a photo of the Calle Bernardo, a street on the opposite bank of the Grand Canal where we often walk Maggie to check out the morning and nighttime boat traffic. 

As Cheryl and Maggie approached a tinted glass door on the hotel's street side, Maggie pulled strongly toward the door, which was straight ahead. 

Cheryl looked up and saw a man of medium height with glasses, a short moustache, and a goatee looking out at her and Maggie. She shrugged at the man, and then she wondered: "Could that be Johnny Depp?" Unfortunately for our readers, Cheryl isn't a hardened paparazza, and she was too polite to grab a snapshot at pointblank range.

Now for a confession: We've been somewhat tongue-in-cheek in our reports about a "celebrity-sniffing service dog," but in the last several days, Maggie has led us to Johnny Depp's hotel (see our earlier post with photos) and to a man who either is Johnny Depp or looks very much like him. 

Does Maggie have a gift for tracking movie stars? Johnny, if you're reading this, Maggie would very much like to know if that really was you staring out of the Hotel Palazzina Grassi at a shaggy dog and a lady in a dark grey coat with a purple hat. You can reach Maggie by e-mailing: maggie [at] europeforvisitors.com.

BELOW: Maggie sniffs the new privacy screen that hides the Palazzina Grassi's water entrance from the Ramo Grassi on Venice's Grand Canal.

Maggie sniffs for Johnny Depp at the Palazzina Grassi

On the trail of Johnny Depp, take 2

In an earlier post titled "On the trial of Johnny Depp," we showed a video of Maggie, our celebrity-sniffing service dog, running her nose over a traghetto pier in response to Cheryl's command to "Find Johnny!" 

During this morning's snowstorm in Venice, Maggie once again showed off her detective skills along the Calle Bernardo, a quiet side street that leads past the Palazzo Nani (now part of Ca' Foscari University) to the Grand Canal:

Maggie in snow
1. Maggie notices snowy footprints in an unmarked campiello off the Calle Bernardo. Her nose twitches. Has she detected Johnny Depp's DNA in the snow?

Calle San Bernardo Venice
2. When Cheryl barks the command "Find Johnny," Maggie barks back and leads Cheryl to the end of the Calle Bernardo, where the Palazzina Grassi is visible across the Grand Canal. (Palazzina Grassi is an upscale boutiique hotel just a few doors away from Ca' Brangelina, a.k.a. the Palazzo Mocenigo, where Angelina and Brad Pitt are staying for the filming of The Tourist.)

 Johnny Depp's privacy screen at the Palazzino Grassi
3. Cheryl notices that the Palazzina Grassi has a new set of green privacy curtains hiding its water entrance The curtains are similar to the blue privacy screen that was installed at Ca' Brangelina before the Jolie-Pitt clan moved in.

Later, Cheryl checks her online sources and discovers that Johnny Depp has been spotted at the Palazzina Grassi. Good work, Maggie! Now all we have to do is figure out how to make plaster casts of those footprints in the Calle Bernardo for our CSI: Venice evidence file.

On the Trail of Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are in Venice to film The Tourist, and we've put Maggie to work as our celebrity-sniffing service dog. 

In this video, which was taken near one of the movie's locations after Cheryl said "Find Johnny!", Maggie shows that Bearded Collies aren't just herding dogs: When it comes to sniffing out Hollywood stars, Beardies leave Bloodhounds and other breeds choking in the dust.