17 February 2007
most popular dog in town

In a recent photo meme about what's me/not me, I included a picture of a dog wearing a pink, ruffled hoodie. For those who weren't paying attention or have never met me, that's really not me.

I also wrote that my doggie Luna thanks me everyday for this. Well this was no truer than the past few weeks because our little princess was in heat. And she didn't need any help attracting more perverse pooches.

Probably going to get some interesting search engine hits on that one, but let's move on.

For those of you who don't know the secrets behind dog mating rituals (and may I ask what you've been doing with your life?), a girl dog goes through menstruation just like girl, uh, humans, even shedding a small amount of blood. Since bitches (I can totally say that as that's what they are) only go into heat about once every six months, their window is somewhat wider than ours. Stop chuckling--this is serious. The entire thing can last up to three weeks, although a female dog will only be fertile for a few days in the middle of that.

You're welcome, by the way, for the lesson on dog periods. Feel free to send donations to keep this information, uh, flowing.

So, as Luna is not spayed (keeping our options open), for us, this means a good three weeks of fighting off all of the male dogs courting one of only three bitches in the town--three females and at least 10 males, all of which run free although technically "owned" by someone or another.

P joked that this is very similar to the ratio of women to men around here, and he's not wrong. No comment on the parallels of running free and courting though.

What does the doggie love dance entail? Mostly leaving their marks (yes, *those* marks) on our doors, steps, general living area. Lovely. I go through a lot of disinfectant in those weeks if you're wondering, although I still refuse to use the big pink jugs of alcohol. Fellow Italy expats, I know you know what I'm talking about. That stuff smells too nasty even in the open air. Even bleach is better, and we all know that bleach can kill you.

But that's not the true trouble with Luna's time of the year. The real issue is that all the male dogs sit and wait outside the house for anyone, Luna or not, to exit. Occasionally there's a fight amongst them, but for the most part, they just take a vacation from their normal, stressful lives, and camp out here, transforming a charming medieval house into the Hotel Horny Hound.

If we haven't run into them in the village, the other owners call us to make sure their pets are still alive. Why they can't come here, retrieve them, and keep them at home is beyond me. Oh, it'd be because no one lets dogs in their houses here. I know. It infuriates me too. Most of them do have little doghouses outside at least, but still....

And what do the dogs do when we leave the house? Well, if Luna is with us, they're literally up her butt, all sniffy and stuff--but of course we don't let them get too close. I like to keep her in front of me, so I can prevent any attacks from the rear. And truth be told, she doesn't show much interest in most of them, although there are two that she'd probably get with if given half the chance. Which doesn't happen. And won't.

If Luna isn't with us, or, more specifically, me? Easy! I become the doggie pied piper of the village with a bunch of male dogs following me wherever I go.

Grocery store? Right behind you!

Post office? Can I hold your bag while you wait?

Cappuccino? One sugar or two?

It gets old after about a minute and a half of the first day, and yet there's so much more adventure to be had after that.

Here are three of the more determined suitors:


Meet Romano Prodi.


Not to be confused with the current Italian Prime Minister; this dog rolled into town right around election time, thus the name. Although quite loveable, he's *far* too big for Luna, so he has no chance. Plus he's tried to violate me many times over the past few weeks, and (n.b.) that's never going to score you points with Mamma.


This dog's name is Zuzù.

That right there rules him out in my opinion. He's also needy, and that's just annoying in a partner, canine or otherwise. Sorry Zuzù.


And here's Bobby.

He and Zuzu are brothers, but Bobby's got a temperament that just shouldn't be replicated. Or, as my mom would say, he's nasty as cat shit. He snaps at everyone, including children, but he loves me. If you think maybe Luna has something to do with that, you're sniffing in the right neighborhood. Anyway, another one with no chance at the Balloopers, although he sure does give it the old college try.

Then there's Scooby, Whiskey, Lucky (who won't live up to his name as far as Luna is concerned), Tobacco, Tommy (just visiting), and two others that don't really have names. Go ahead. Comment on Italian dog names--it's worthy of a whole other post.

If I had my druthers, I'd go with Scooby, and I think Luna agrees. When Scooby lived closer to us, he used to come up to play with Luna. He'd cry outside and I'd let her out, prepare them some snacks, and beam with motherly love. Now that he's further away, though, we have to go to the piazza for play dates.

Being a doggie mama is tough sometimes, I tell you. Especially when every boy dog around wants a piece of this:


And can you blame them really?


Oh, and FYI, despite the posizione porno, she's still pure as the driven snow. La Mamma di Luna has won another round.

Thank goodness I have another six months to gear up for the next one.

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15 Comments:

Blogger Waspgoddess said...

Wonderful, funny tale. Luna is a beauty and I can absolutely see why they are all so enamoured with her.
It brought back some memories from my childhood when our collie was in heat and every dog in the village camped out in our garden.

There was one little chap in particular, a little pint-sized thing, who was especially determined. He travelled all the way from the nearby village (5 kilometres away), not just once but three times. His owner and my mother became really good friends as a result.

Anonymous Something... said...

Our doggy looks a lot like Luna. I have a doggy bikini bottom that I make her wear in the house when she's on heat. The kids think that its hilarious. She's quite used to it and will help me put it on her by putting her leg through the right hole. My English friend had a big dog and so adapted her own undies and a sanitary napkin until they had her spayed!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Glad to spark some bitchy memories ;)

Something: you know, dog hoodies are a definite "no" for me, but dog panties? Now you have me thinking... Luna already wears a harness to go outside, so she's used to offering up one paw at a time...I'm guessing that getting her to lift the back ones wouldn't be too different. I'll have to try that next time!

Anonymous J.Doe said...

Funny Post. I remember a co-worker once told me that she too had to keep her eye out 24/7 on her female dog who was in heat. (she went to sleep one night and the dog was 'raped' by her other (male) dog)
Good luck although all the suitors look cute to me.

Anonymous Judith in Umbria said...

I could stand that about 30 seconds. Cats are even louder.

This is one of the funny posts I have ever read. I liked how you broke it down, detailing the suitors (incl. photos) and how they try to "step to" Luna. LOL.

My family in the Caribbean think it's bizarre how Americans allow pets inside. My parents have two cats now and they live outside. Seeing how it never goes below 75 degrees it's a pretty sweet life chasing salamanders, chilling under a mango tree, etc.

Blogger Cherrye said...

Great post, Michelle! I was literally lol - once again, the family thinks I am a pazza Americana!

I am amazed at the English language names these dogs have. Bobby? Really? I can't even pronounce one of the neighbor-dog's names. It is phonetically-speaking (at least for me) Jesul-mena...I dunno.

Blogger The Other Girl said...

I may be crazy, but I find this story almost unbearably charming. Dogs in love! Or, you know. And I think Romano Prodi is very handsome, though it sounds as if he's a little on the freaky side. Luna deserves a one-woman man ... er, one-dog dog.

Blogger Shan said...
Blogger Gil said...

Great post! At least the males aren't trying to jump through the windows.

Blogger Giulia said...

Cute post. Luna looks very bendy in that photo. "Posizione porno" sounds about right, it's no wonder the dogs are after her! ;p
Gotta love those names though.

Greeting as well from your 2000 bloggers neighbor. Thanks for stopping by to say hi.

My parents bred huskies when I was a wee little writer. It was a dangerous proposition indeed when one of the females was in that special time of the year, keeping every wiry haired mongrel in town off of her. I remember being sent outside with my cap guns (the only time I was encouraged to make noise) and scare the lonely punks away.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I was reading this post, I couldn't believe reading that you said your mom says "they are nasty as cat shit". My mom, from PA also, says that too! I have never heard anyone else say that.

Anonymous franca said...

Very funny and adorable post. My mom's dog, Nero, would easily fall for Luna :).

And my cousin Mike, who lives in Puglia, baptized his dogs with funny names too...Prince, Zeus, Nebbia, Bobby and (God rest his sweet doggie soul) Klaus.

Speaking of funny pet names, my budgies are Tic Tac and Smarties. I'm determined to name them all after my favorite candies. Haha.

Blogger sognatrice said...

I'm a little late in responding to comments here...seems I was too occupied keep away the suitors. Anyway, we're back in heat here, so I came back to visit, and I see I didn't respond to comment. Huh.

JDoe, there will be no raping here--no male dogs allowed inside the house ever!

Judith, cats are HORRIBLE. I swear they're even worse here in Italy, or maybe it's just that there's more of them around me. But ugh!!!!

NYC, they definitely think I'm weird for having Luna inside too...but you know what? I actually know of an Italian family here now that does the same--with two dogs. We're spreading the love!

Cherrye, gelsomina probably--jasmine. Cute, right? Yes, Bobby is actually a very popular dog name here. Weird.

TheOG, I completely agree. And anyway, Romano is enormous. And Luna's not. And that's not a good combo for doggie love I don't think (not that I'd really know).

Shan, yeah it was funny to me when I read it after it happened...now that I'm the middle of it again, well....

Gil, thank goodness my windows are high enough off the ground that they can't! Good point!

Giulia, Luna really sleeps in this position a lot. Guess it's comfy but I can't imagine how.

Writer, if you're not doing anything, we could use those caps (for noise) around here too....

Anonymous, what a weird thing we, or our moms I guess, have in common! I've never heard it anywhere else either.

Franca, another Bobby! So it's not just here. I could definitely go for naming pets after favorite candy...Here Snickers! Aw ;)

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