Ciao Bella!

Puppy Love

I love Rome even more these days. Last week, almost every single press office published articles about animal rights in Italy and in particular Rome. On 24 October 2005, the Comune di Rome unanimously approved new laws for animal rights, that will vigorously go into effect on 9 November 2005. Dogs have to be walked and can’t be chained on small chains nor for too long, no more undersized goldfish bowls, protection of all native fauna including reptiles, amphibians and arthropods, work horse hours not to exceed 6, These highly detailed laws are stupendous and the fines are outrageously great, from 50 to 500 euro.

It’s a dog’s life here. You can bring your dog into practically any restaurant, store or church. (Priests bless them, especially on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.) Places that dogs aren’t allowed usually have signs, dog parking or are very obvious (museums, movie theatres, libraries and the Roman Forum, all tested by moi). Bella, my ragamuffin yorkie from the NYC ASPCA, comes with me every where I go. She had lunch at Gina’s last Saturday where the owner told me that even though he didn’t have the “io mangio qui” sign, dogs were clients too. On Sunday, I counted 9 dogs for lunch at La Scialuppa in Frigene, not including Drexall (Charlotte’s pug) and Bella. Not place is too good for a dog. Bella has rubbed her back all over the carpet on the second floor of Prada and last week, Drexall liberated himself from his harness at Fendi, running around naked and showing off how carino a carlino was he. This makes me happy, especially since I was once kicked out of Valentino in Beverly Hills because, even though I was picking up several thousands of dollars of clothing for my boss’s wife, I had a dog with me (in my ARMS).
As I write this, Drexall and Bella are ready to call the cops on me. They want to walk. In fact, I have to take Bella to the vet which doesn’t just freak out Bella but used to make my skin crawl. Its taken me a long time to find a vet that I like. And its taken my friend Charlotte lots of tears and stress as well. Drexall had an eye problem that turned into an eye disaster. Imagine- scratch, swelling, eye-lid sewn shut, lots of blood, idiot analysis, cone again, drop every day every hour for 15 days. Yeah, drama.

My vet visit is simple. Bella needs a leptospirosi vaccination which my vet told me is a disease transmitted by mice that is present in Europe but not in North America. I lived in Rome for 2 years, and have intimately known at least 5 vets. This is the first I’ve ever been told of it. Why?

Things I’ve learned across the globe: Not every vet practices surgery, not every vet has an x-ray machine, not every vet is open on Mondays or Saturdays, not every vet (nor embassy) will realize that you may not know what vaccinations are needed here (but not native to your country), not every vet will suggest that you get a pet passport, not every vet will anticipate potential problems (see above Eye Drama). Not every vet will tell you that along with the passport, your pet will need the libretto which documents all standard vaccinations. And lots more.

There are several decent vets (Trastevere, Campo, Balduino, Via Nomentana) but after trying to find one with an ultrasound and thus, my subsequent harassing of every dog owner in Rome, I have found one that I really like:

Centro Veterinario Prati SrL
Viale delle Milizie, 1 (Prati) at Ponte Matteoti
English, French, Italian are the main languages spoken
06 3210473

I also love the ASL, next to the Zoo, even with its awful hours.

Dr. Luca Tosti Croce is very patient and helpful. He’ll direct you to the appropriate vet, and tell you exactly what you need for the Pet Passport and Libretto.

ASL-Roma
Via Aldrobrandini, 12 (by Villa Borghese)
06 32650570
06 3215188

Useful websites:
http://europa.eu.int/abc/travel/pets/index_en.htm (passport information)
www.udacomuneroma.it/normativa/reg_com.asp (animal rights, rome)
www.akela.it (vaccination information)
www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-1845136,00.html (article on animal rights in Rome)