It is officially spring according to the calendar, and the weather here agrees. We have had some nice sunny days. And while the March winds persist, there are signs of spring everywhere. Some of the trees have dressed their dour brown branches with bright green leaves, and others are full of pink or white flowers. And while I am enjoying the beauty of the trees, I am much more interested in chasing the butterflies and the little lizards. Yes, lizards. They are providing me with hours of entertainment. They like to sit in the sun just outside of the front door, and I sit inside and watch them. I try to get their attention. I wag my tail, wave, and tap at the window, but they just ignore me. They are so intent on their sun bathing. Sometimes, they walk off in the direction of the yard, and I run out there hoping to meet them. But so far they have avoided me. I can see them on the other side of the fence, but I just can't seem to make my paw reach underneath far enough to get one. Some day, I think I will capture one. But then I don't know what I will do with it. After all, the fun is in the chase. I certainly don't think I would want to eat it. They don't look very appetizing. But then again, neither do the mulberry tree branches and I like them well enough.
Our weather was so nice last weekend that we went to the beach on Sunday. After Jim and Maree had lunch, we went for a long walk in the sand. I was beginning to think I might be the only dog left on earth here since I so rarely see any, but I finally found where they have all been hiding. They have all gone to the beach. There were lots of dogs: big dogs, little dogs and all sizes in between out for a Sunday stroll on the beach, and I got to say hello to most of them. I wish I could have been off of the leash to wrestle and run with them, but since I don't come when I am called, that is not going to happen any time soon. This was my second time on this beach in Senigallia, and this time I went near the water. It was such a beautiful color all sapphire blue, but I didn't go in. I think with my long coat, I am not much of a swimmer, and I should avoid the sea. But maybe one day, when it is warmer, I will dip my toes in. I am looking forward to going back to the beach again, but I still hate going in the car. The calm balm Maree bought doesn't do anything for me, but it does smell nice like lavender. She is still hoping to find something to help me relax in the car before our six hour drive to Sorrento next month.
Maree and Jim have decided to go to Senigallia for Sunday lunch every weekend between now and June, assuming the weather is nice. When June arrives, I am not allowed on the beach any more until mid-September. There wouldn't be any room on the beach for me to run around anyway. In the summer, the beaches here are wall to wall lounge chairs and umbrellas, and you can barely walk between them. Senigallia is a mile long white sand beach and it is divided into sections. Each section has a manager that provides the chairs, changing rooms, and a play area for the little kids with slides and swings. Some areas even have volley ball courts. But no one wants dogs leaving their mark on the sand during the summer, so I will have to be content just looking at it from a restaurant window once June arrives.
Last Saturday night, I met more of Jim and Maree's friends here, Euro and Patrizia. They have a house close by, but now they have another house in Lugano in Switzerland where they live most of the time. Lugano is just across the Italian border and is apparently a very Italian town. We met Euro, Patrizia, and their son Enea in a little restaurant in a town called Mergo. Jim and Maree remember Mergo because they stayed in a small bed and breakfast there when they made the offer on their house in Poggio San Marcello. We ended up being at least 30 minutes late to meet at the restaurant because I didn't want to go. So, I ran around the house under the table, in between the chair legs, around the couches and the coffee table. At one point in time Maree even crawled under the table to get me, but I am just too fast and very agile. I was having a great deal of fun, except for the fact that I knew when they caught me I would be going in the car. And it was dark and I hate the car even more in the dark. Well, eventually, they were getting rather mad at me, and they decided they would leave me at home. I have never been left home alone. I don't know if it is because they worry that I will be so upset or if they are worried I might destroy something, or maybe they think I will actually eat something that could be really bad for me. I imagine it could be all of the above. Eventually, Jim and Maree both went outside and shut the front door and locked the shutters. I heard the car engine start. I think I was getting the idea that this was not a game with them, and I started barking and jumping up and down. Finally, I let them pick me up and put my harness on. Once we got to the restaurant it was not as bad and I expected. I got some pizza crust and a lot of attention from several young children and their parents. I just hate not knowing where I will end up once I get in the car. And I don't think that recent trip to the Vet helped at all.
By the way, Jim is recovering nicely from his fall. The bruising is almost gone and the size of his hand is getting back to normal. Looks like he will be able to drive to Sorrento in April. Sigh. And Maree is always busy working on her book about Italy and buying the house here. I probably would not be such a problem if I got more attention. All I want to do is play all day. Maree would like to take me for walks, but since it is such a big issue to get my harness on, she has pretty much given up. Even though she tries to trick me, I always know when she is thinking of putting that harness on. I can read her mind, but don't tell her.
I hope you are having good dog park weather back there in California. I understand that we will be returning in October for a visit, but, hopefully, the house in Italy will sell before then and we can return for good. I am so looking forward to going to the dog park again. Say hello to all of our friends for me.
Ciao from Le Marche, Italy,
Your BFF, Dino
I think I am becoming an Italian dog. I get a lot of attention here when we go out to restaurants and other places. Everyone says I am bello. I know that means beautiful. I am also learning some other Italian words too like no, which I hear all of the time, and vieni qua, which means to come here. Even though I know what they mean, I don't often obey. I still have quite a mind of my own. I think this whole subservient position that dogs have been put in is unconscionable. It is almost like slavery and if I were in charge, I would make sure that dogs had equal rights - that's right - dogs on buses, dogs in schools, dogs in restaurants and stores. And none of this dog house thing. Why not live in the real house and sleep in a real bed? And I wouldn't discriminate based on breed or color either. We should all be treated equal - with maybe the exception of pit bulls. I am a little afraid of them. Oh, well, maybe someday I will run for office. I think I could do as well as some of those folks back in Washington now. I just don't understand how there can be a person in the White House who does not like dogs. Isn't that un-American? You know those sayings, "As American as apple pie and dogs". "A chicken in every pot and a dog in every home." HMM, I think I'll start developing my campaign now.
This week I was sick, you know the vomiting kind of sick. Maree got worried since I eat everything in the yard from branches to grass to anything that grows out there, so we went to a vet. This was a new vet that Maree and Jim had not been to before, but she was a lot closer than the vet they used to take Luca to. Well, she spoke no English, and she spoke very fast and in a sort of nervous energy way. She gave me two shots. One to stop the nausea, and the other to stop my brain from wanting to vomit, at least I think that is what she said. That shot, I could have done without. It really hurt and I am ashamed to say that I yelped like a coward, but I didn't try to bite her and I even let her pet me afterword. What can I say, I don't hold a grudge; nothing to be gained. The vet recommended that Maree and Jim throw out all of the food they are giving me and just cook for me which they do sometimes anyway. She also said no treats. NO TREATS, I thought. Is she mad? Well, apparently Maree thought she was mad too because I have still gotten some treats, and whether I will only get food cooked at home is still to be determined. The bill was only 67 euro including the two shots, medicine and the visit. I am feeling a lot better, but I want no more of the medicine that vet sent home with me. It tastes really bad. Maree will have to try to catch me if she wants to give it to me, and I know she can't do that. I still give Maree and Jim a run for their money every time they want to put my harness on to take me out. I make quite a game of it going in and out under the table, under the chairs, running around the couches. I know after a while they get tired of the game, and so eventually I let them have their way, but when I do, I hang my head and look very, very sad to make them feel guilty for doing this to me.
It's March already, and as the saying goes, "It came in like a lion". While it has been warm, in the mid-fifties and sixties, the winds have started. It blew so hard the other night that it blew the benches around the yard, and brought a lot of branches down. I don't mind the wind however. I like the feel of it as it blows my long fur. I just don't like it when it blows dirt in my eyes. Spring is in the air. The trees are starting to bloom already, and I hope the wind doesn't blow all of the flowers away. Our almond trees are full of little white flowers and there are some pink flowers in our neighbor's yard. The grass is filled with little daisies. I find them quite tasty. The warmer weather has brought out a lot of flying things too, and I love chasing after them and jumping up and batting at them with my paws to try to catch them. Maree says I play with them just like a cat. There it goes again comparing me to a cat. I still don't know whether to be insulted. One day recently, I caught this furry little flying thing on the door. I tried to bite it. I didn't like it, and I ran over to my little bed and started rubbing my nose on it. Maree wasn't sure if I got stung - apparently this little flying thing is called a bee and it has a stinger. She gave me some Benadryl just in case.
I am not the only one here who has been a little under the weather - whatever that expression means. Jim tripped and fell in the Oceano parking lot last Saturday. Oceano is a little shopping center. It wasn't his fault. The foot on this barrier jumped out and grabbed him. He injured his hand and shoulder, but as he described it, an angel came to help him replete with golden ringlets caressing her face. She made sure he did not have a concussion, but at first she thought he did because his Italian didn't sound right to her. Then she found out he was American, and it was okay. She wanted to take him to the hospital, but he refused. His hand, which was really swollen is now getting better, and he has some bruises, but I guess he is okay. Jim says he is giving up gravity for lent. Maree has had to do the driving though, which Jim doesn't like. She drives just like an Italian, and Jim is always telling her to slow down. I think she should slow down too because I am getting bounced around in the back more than when Jim drives. Jim hasn't quite figured out yet that he is just supposed to pay attention to me in the car and not Maree's driving. That is what she does when he drives and then she is not as freaked out. For me, it actually doesn't matter who is driving, I still hate the car. I am not looking forward to a six hour drive to Sorrento next month.
I had to ride in the car to Jesi a couple of times recently. That is where Maree and Jim have to go to get their Italian green card equivalent. They had an appointment at the police station back in December, and still have not heard anything, so Maree was worried and decided they had to go back to see if there was a problem. One issue was that when she looked on the web site, it said Jim's application was not on file. So, we drove the forty minutes to the Jesi police station. A few minutes after arriving, one of the people approached Maree and asked what she needed. She started to explain, and he said, that on this day it was only for people with appointments and we could come back the next day or Monday. So on Monday, we went back only to find that there was a sign saying that on Monday it was only for people with appointments. Well, this time, Maree was not going to leave without asking her question. So we waited, and finally, a woman police officer who remembers Maree and Jim from years ago, was available and we approached her window. Maree told her the problem, and she looked up Jim's application. Apparently, it was not filed under the number on the receipt we had but a different number, and it was there. She then proceeded to say that now the office in Rome is very busy and it could take four months to get the cards. In the past it took only three weeks. Well, Maree and Jim can't get their health care cards until they have the green cards, but the local doctor sees them anyway and does not charge anything. By the way, we happened to be at our friend Alessia's restaurant a week ago and there was a big party for our local doctor. He had just gotten his psychology degree. He is also a lawyer apparently. Maree says she just wishes he would get a degree in English because he does not speak any.
Well, I think that is all of the news from here, Sis. I hope you and our parents are well. I understand that Mom is pregnant again and there will be more brothers and sisters coming soon. Wow, we will be part of a very big family. Take care.
Your Italian brother,
I am Maree, the voice of Dino - or at least I am the one who does the typing. For more information about me and my life in Italy, you can follow me at theproseccoproject.com.