Home stories Growing Up In Italy: A Dog’s Story

Growing Up In Italy: A Dog’s Story

written by M.E. Evans May 22, 2014

We’ve had Oliver since he was ten weeks old. He was a gift from my husband for my twenty-eight birthday (his friend’s dog had puppies, Oliver isn’t a puppy-mill dog). He said, “Don’t worry, a dog is-a like-a plant.” If by “plant” he means humpy creature that lives for 20 years and requires more work than three human babies (and a prescription for both xanax and prozac “just in case”). Exactly like a plant, Francesco. Anyhow, we love Oliver. We’d be lost without him even if he’s made our lives considerably more difficult. I blame most of his separation anxiety, attitude problem, and general hysteria on the fact that his mother’s name is Sheena, a village dog, who wears an over-sized pink scrunchy on her forehead.

Oliver is from Cassino, like my husband, but he grew up in Florence. He’s been to nearly every region of Italy, and to the United States. He’s a world traveler but I think his favorite place is the Florence center. Why wouldn’t it be? The women in the stores rush to play with him, the shop assistants all know his name and scream, “OLIVER!” when we enter with him. The butcher gives him scraps, the lady at the bar near our home keeps treats on hand for her doggy customers. In restaurants, Oliver gets waited on more than we do, often with water and occasionally with ham. Yes, seriously, people often bring him things to eat and drink while we’re having our meal because “poverino,” he must be so bored and starved. All of the attention has taught him that he’s a rockstar. Wherever we go he looks around like, “Why the fuck aren’t you guys all petting me right now? FUCKING PET ME I SAID! ” Random old women in the street stop me to say, “Your dog is too thin! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HIM!?” Then I assure them that he’s at the exact weight that he should be, but to be honest, Italians stuff their dogs like a sausage so he’s possibly the ONLY thin dog in Florence. Old men will stop me in the street and hold out their cell phone for me to see pictures of all of the poodles they’ve ever owned in their entire life. “Here is Mario, he died three years ago, this is Lucy, she died ten years ago, this one is like yours, we called him Vanilla, he lived to be twenty-five,” while their current dog plays with Oliver under our feet (and probably wonders why the hell this guy won’t shut up about dead dogs). Growing up in Florence is a dream for most dogs especially for one as needy as ours (P.S. Poodles are Needy, dogs are a 10-20 year commitment, a lifelong commitment, so don’t rush out and buy one just because Oliver so damn handsome).

Regardless of his crazy, he made our dysfunctionally awesome little family complete. In reality he’s perfect for us with his long list of quirks. When my friends see a dog humping a lion or a dog playing the piano, they think of us. What more could you ask for?

His long list of weird.

These Things Piss Him Off:

1. Sneezing (apparently I’m an asshole if I sneeze).

2. Vomiting (in this case he also bites the toilet while you throw up. It sucks. Google has never heard of this before).

3. Hitting a wall (only a specific part of the wall. It really pisses him off).

4. Gagging (He barks at you).

5. Gypsies (He has bit 3 of them to date, but only Gypsies with the long skirts).

6. Being left along. Being alone is the absolute worst.

These Things  Scare The Shit Out Of Him:

1. Orange peels

2. The wind

3. Arguing

These Things Are So Awesome He Can’t Even Control Himself:

1. His pastel unicorn that his “uncle” Ty bought him, and his “uncle Ty.”

2. Plastic water bottles

3. Francesco. He’s obsessed with Francesco. Like in a creepy way.

4. Peeing on other dogs.

5. Doing training (because treats).

6. Barking in your face for no fucking reason.

7. Flipping his shit right before bed time.

8. Sleeping in a four inch space under our couch.

For throw-back Thursday here is a look at Oliver’s life as he grew up in Florence, Italy. We probably made a lot of mistakes with him (mainly spoiling, but whatever dude) but all in all I think he’s very, very happy.

Related Posts:

A Table For 2 1/2 Sir: Dogs In Florence 

Dog Bronchitis In Florence: Oliver Is Sick (Again)

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GirlinFlorence May 22, 2014 at 8:19 am

what a cute post! I think we need a dog date and honestly a dog will never have a better life than in Florence ;-), treated like kings here!

The Notorious GLB. May 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

oh my god, I WANT TO EAT OLIVER’S FACE OFF HE IS SO CUTE!!!! I want to introduce him to Zola but a)im pretty sure she’s a lesbian so she wont be interested and b)she is literally scared of almost 99% of other dogs and when she meets them for the first time, she tucks her tail up under her butt and hops away like a drunk rabbit.

lucyandtheskies May 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

He looks just like a teddy bear! The biting the toilet anecdote is hilarious xxx

Pippa Pirrip May 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Oliver & Bexley really are going to be BFFs, she also HATES the wind. If the wind blows while we’re outside, she’ll sit down and refuse to move until it stops. Sometimes she’ll stare at me like, “WTF Mom! Make that shit stop!”

I wish we had puppy valium. We leave for New Orleans on Sunday and she knows something is up, so she’s been extra up my ass. I can only imagine how crazy she’ll be when we get to a New Place and I have to leave her for the first time…

M.E. Evans May 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

That’s exactly what Oli does. We really do have xanax for Oliver but we’ve never given it to him. The vet said that it’s very habit forming and we didn’t want Oliver to be all addicted to xanax. But, we do have it for emergencies. . .

Expat Eye May 22, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I think your only mistake was putting him in leopard print… Such a cute story! 🙂

M.E. Evans May 27, 2014 at 11:14 am

He chose it himself. He’s a bit of an old drag queen at heart.

Expat Eye May 27, 2014 at 11:40 am

Or a closet Latvian 😉

M.E. Evans May 27, 2014 at 11:47 am


Expat Eye May 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Olivers 😉

Cindi May 23, 2014 at 3:29 am

What a great post! It’s so interesting to see how dogs are treated outside of the U.S. Aren’t canine family members absolutely the best? (Love the head out the window “weeeee!!!” image!)

Maxine May 23, 2014 at 6:17 am

I love all of your posts. When I see them pop up I make a tea and sit down to enjoy. I am babysitting my daughters pug who I love, she sits cuddled up the whole time. What a pleasure. Thank you so much for brightening my days with your great posts and pictures.

M.E. Evans May 23, 2014 at 8:39 am

That’s really sweet, Maxine. Thank you so much! I’m a sucker for dogs. Pugs are especially adorable. 😉

K.M. May 23, 2014 at 11:41 am

Great post! Have you had any difficulty renting an apartment in Firenze with a dog? Just curious as to what your experience was…

M.E. Evans May 23, 2014 at 11:45 am

Nope, never had a problem. I’ve rented three places there with Oliver and nobody has ever batted an eye.

Dog Boarding, Adoption, And Dog Parks In Florence, Italy | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy. October 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm

[…] I’ve mentioned in posts like, A Table For 2 1/2, Sir, or Growing Up In Italy: A Dog’s Story, Florence is extremely dog-friendly. They can go most places with you. A few exceptions of places […]


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