Alessandro Forlani’s guide dog, Asia, helps him see. But when Forlani got an unexpected chance to meet the new pope Monday — and found himself temporarily speechless – Asia helped out with that, too.
Forlani, a visually impaired radio reporter, wasn’t sure he would be allowed into the pontiff’s first meeting with the press because dogs are prohibited from the auditorium in which it was held.
“As I waited in line to enter the hall, the security guards told me that most likely I wouldn’t be allowed to get in with the dog,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “But after a few minutes, Vatican officials gave me the green light and I was accompanied by a Swiss guard to the audience hall.”
To Forlani’s surprise, he and Asia, a yellow Labrador, were shown to seats in one of the front rows.
He listened to Pope Francis talk, and then stood in the background as reporters who had been approved to meet the pope lined up to greet him.
Although Forlani was not on the approved list to meet the pope, he was approached by Vatican officials. “They said that Pope Francis had asked to meet me,” the reporter wrote. “He had seen Asia and wanted to see both (of) us.”
Once standing with the pope, Forlani — despite being a host for Italian public radio — was at a loss for words.
But Asia helped out again, serving as a conversation starter, according to Rome Reports.
Forlani, once the words came, asked for a blessing for his daughter and wife, which Pope Francis provided.
“And then he thought about my dog saying, ‘and one for the dog.’ He reached down and patted my dog,” Forlani said.
Pope Francis’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, was the patron saint of animals.
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alessandro forlani, animals, asia, blessed, catholic, dogs, guide dog, host, italy, meets, pets, pontiff, pope, pope francis, public radio, radio, religion, reporter, rome, visually impaired
A dog in Italy who attended his owner’s funeral has been showing up at the church where it was held everyday for two months.
Maria Margherita Lochi died late last year, and her funeral was held at the same church she regularly attended with her dog – Santa Maria Assunta church in San Donaci, Italy.
After her death, Tommy, her 7-year-old German shepherd, followed her coffin as it was carried into church and sat quietly through the funeral.
And ever since, Tommy, a stray who was taken in by Lochi, has been showing up when the bell rings out to mark the beginning of services, according to the Daily Mail.
“He’s there every time I celebrate mass and is very well behaved,” Father Donato Panna told the newspaper. “He doesn’t make a sound.”
None of the other parishioners has complained, Panna said, and villagers give the dog food and water.
“I’ve not heard one bark from him in all the time he has been coming in,” Panna added. “He waits patiently by the side of the altar and just sits there quietly. I didn’t have the heart to throw him out — I’ve just recently lost my own dog — so I leave him there until Mass finishes and then I let him out.”
(Photo: Tommy at Santa Maria Assunta church (Nikonarte Fotografia / Daily Mail)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, church, daily, death, dog, dogs, funeral, german shepherd, italy, loyal, loyalty, Maria Margherita Lochi, master, owner, pets, San Donaci, Santa Maria Assunta, stray, tommy, visits
Watching an Italian supermodel suffer in a hot car may not spur exactly the same emotions as watching a dog trapped in one, but we’ve got to give PETA credit at least for keeping this issue in the forefront.
“… Elisabetta endures the panic and pain that a dog feels when left in a car on a summer day — even with the windows open a crack,” PETA says. “…. As panic and anxiety set in, Elisabetta’s condition deteriorates rapidly with the addition of excessive thirst, lethargy, lack of coordination, and a rapid heartbeat.”
Elisabetta aside, the facts are these: On even a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a shaded car can rise to 90 degrees; in the sun it can climb to 160 — and in just a matter of minutes.
Animals can quickly suffer heatstroke, sustain brain damage and die in as little as 15 minutes.
Here’s PETA’s advice should you ever confront a dog in that situation:
Posted by jwoestendiek July 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advice, animals, cars, dangers, dogs, elisabetta canalis, health, heat, heat stroke, hot car, italian, italy, locked, model, parked, peta, pets, psa, public service announcement, safety, summer, supermodel, tips, warning
With the death of his owner Maria Assunta, who took him in off the streets, Tommasino inherits, kind of, her $13.3 milliion fortune.
Assunta, the childless widow of a wealthy builder, initially tried to find an animal welfare association that would take care of the cat after her death, the Telegraph reports.
But none, in her view, provided adequate assurances for his future, according to her lawyer.
Instead, Assunta — 94 when she died last month — bequeathed her entire estate to Tomassino, and appointed a fellow cat lover as a trustee. The millionaire cat is now living at an undisclosed location outside Rome with that trustee, who is being identified only as “Stefania.”
Under Italian law, animals cannot inherit directly, but can be named beneficiaries once a trustee is found.
According to news reports, Assunta met Stefania in a park, and sometimes the two got their cats together for play dates. Stefania, a nurse, also went on to help take care of Assunta.
“She was very discreet and quite, I knew very little of her private life,” Stefania said.
“I promised her that I would look after the cat when she was no longer around. She wanted to be sure that (he) would be loved and cuddled.”
The Telegraph reports that only two other animals have inherited more money than Tommasino.
The world’s richest animal is believed to be Gunter, a German shepherd who was left $138 million by heiress Karlotta Liebenstien. Kalu, a chimpanzee, was the beneficiary of $61 million bequeathed by Patricia O’Neill, wife of former Australian swimming champion Frank O’Neill.
(Photo: That’s Tommasino at the bottom; Sky News)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bequeathed, cat, estate, inheritance, inherited, inherits, italy, maria assunta, millionaire, pets, richest, rome, stefania, stray, tommasino, trustee, wealth, will
Italy’s state-run RAI TV has suspended popular cooking show host Beppe Bigazzi for touting cat stew as a Tuscan delicacy.
The suspension is for an unspecified amount of time,” the Associated Press reports.
Bigazzi, 77, who hosts a popular morning program that offers food tips and recipes, said he had enjoyed cat stew many times. When that startled his female co-host, Elisa Isoardi, Bigazzi defended his culinary tastes, noting Italians eat rabbit, chicken and pigeons. Horse meat also is sold in Italian shops.
“Cat, soaked for three days in the running water of a stream comes out with its meat white, and I assure you I have eaten it many times,” he said on the program. “Now there will be letters from nature lovers. Why don’t they defend rabbits?”
His critics included Health Ministry Undersecretary Francesca Martini, who said Italian law protects pets from mistreatment and that Bignazzi’s comments contradict the growing public sensibility toward animals in Italy.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, beppe, Beppe Bigazzi, bigazzi, cat, cat stew, cats, co-host, cooking, cuisine, culinary, eating, eating cat, elisa isoardi, fracesca martini, health ministry, host, italian, italy, pets, rabbit, RAI, sensibilities, show, television, tuscan, tv, video
A new law goes into effect in Italy next month that does away with the country’s list of “dangerous” breeds and insteads holds owners responsible for their pets’ behavior — whatever breed it is.
Under the old law, owners of pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, bull dogs and 13 other breeds, were required to keep them muzzled in public places, and failure to respect the law could result in the animal being put down.
The new law works on the theory that any dog could be potentially high-risk and holds the owners or caretakers responsible for controlling a pet’s behavior.
“This is a historic day because we have established for the first time the responsibility of the owner or the person who is momentarily in charge of the animal,” Health Undersecretary Francesca Martini said earlier this month.
“The measures adopted in the previous laws had no scientific foundation. Dangerous breeds do not exist. With this law we have overcome the black list, which was just a fig leaf (over the larger problem), and we have increased the level of guarantees for citizens,” she said.
The new law requires vets to be responsible for compiling a register of individual dogs who they believe may be potentially high risk. Owners of those dogs will be required to keep them muzzled in public.
The law also requires dog owners to keep their pets on a leash at all times in urban areas, pick up their dog’s mess, and to carry a muzzle with them in case of need.
It also forbids training dogs to be aggressive using sticks and protective body gear, doping, surgery that is not for health purposes and dangerous cross-breeding.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, army, behavior, breed-specific, breeds, dangerous, dogs, francesca marini, health, italy, law, list, mastiffs, muzzle, owners, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, responsibility, risk, rottweilers
(Warning: This video contains graphic and disturbing images)
A total ban on dog and cat fur goes into effect tomorrow across Europe.
The ban, endorsed by European Union governments in 2007, prohibits trading in dog and cat fur in the 27 EU countries from the start of 2009. (Five countries have already unilaterally banned the trade – Italy, Denmark, France, Belgium and Greece.)
“The ban comes just in time as I understand there is something of a revival in fur in the fashion world,” said Struan Stevenson, who campaigned for the ban for nine years. “The onus is now on retailers and others to ensure that such demand doesn’t encourage unscrupulous fur dealers to search for ways to break the law.”
Stevenson said the ban would save the lives of millions of animals slaughtered every year in Asia – mostly in China – to serve a European market. But he warned it was now up to importers and retailers to stay vigilant against a “vile” trade in which cats and dogs are rounded up and often skinned alive.
Humane Society International first exposed the trade nearly a decade ago, revealing evidence of a thriving cat and dog fur market in many European countries including France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.
The proposed ban was supported by Heather Mills and her former husband Sir Paul McCartney. Mills collected more than 250,000 signatures in an on-line petition on her web page demanding an EU ban. More celebrity support came from Dennis Erdman, the director of television show “Sex And The City,” who persuaded Hollywood celebrities to write to the European Commission supporting a ban.
The ban follows similar legislation in America and Australia. China continues trading cat and dog fur.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 31st, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: austria, ban, belgium, campaign, cat, cat fur, china, countries, denmark, dennis erdman, dog, dog fur, europe, european commission, european union, fashion, france, fur, germany, hether mills, italy, paul mccartney, pelts, rick wakeman, scotland, skinned alive, spain, struan stevenson