By Deborah Taylor-French on Dog Leader Mysteries
“Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.” – Max Eastman
A funny thing happened to me after I crossed the street. A reddish-brown miniature poodle trotted out from under a grand Roman archway. He stopped on the narrow sidewalk. And then, he looked at me and he laughed.
You do believe me, don’t you?
His laughter (like his ability to see with his nose) did not need enlarged moves for the human eye. Plus his laugh came as a throaty chortle…so softly I doubt anyone else heard.
Once I got over my surprise, I felt instantly worried for the little red poodle. A dog off-leash on the frequently tourist mobbed streets of Florence equals a dog in DANGER. I had seen only a half-dozen mutts following their masters on-leash. I spied only two dogs without leashes, playing in a car and truck protected corridor between souvenir laden wagons.
So far, no pedigreed dog had walked off-leash between the forest of fast-walking people and traffic. The streets of the heart of Florence tend to narrow. People bumped into me. I dodged their elbows, feet and bags. Buses crammed one-lane streets after motor scooters and bicycle riders rolled by. I could not find a safe place to avoid hurtling vans and would duck into shop entrances to feel safe. That’s how crowded I felt every hour on the streets of Florence.
I imagined this classy dog looked back at me in amusement. Why was I there? How dare I stand on his sidewalk. Then he went on his way smelling new and old messages. I had nothing to fear. He kept to the sidewalk. The instant his mistress a blonde woman in a handsome suite, said the dog’s name, he rushed to her and sat. He waited to have his leash attached.
This Dog Laughed
Off they went down toward the Nave River. The poodle pranced like a model canine good citizen, just behind his mistress. Italian dogs show good manners, either walking just behind or just in step with their pet parents.
I walked with my camera on, trying to capture a blog worthy photograph of the dogs we saw.
Happily, I have a few lucky photos to show.
In my six days in Florence, Italian dog lovers kept a good hold on their dogs.
Italians who live in Florence do not permit their dogs to pull on the leash, get in the way of passersby or bark at strangers. Italians expect their dogs to behave well.
Do You Think Barking Dogs Are Laughing?
Only at rare moments did I hear any dogs bark. After sunset, a few little yaps echo as little dogs celebrate getting outside from city apartments.
Once two guard-dogs barked at us from behind a high fence. They quieted as soon as we passed and near a public garden.