Nelly Divella, business manager from Bari, has a lot of amazing dogs stories to tell. How she grew up with stray dogs because her grandma couldn’t resist to take them all home to live in her big garden.
Or the story of the mixed breed Pupi, who she literally picked up from the streets in Bali, sick and skinny and doomed to die, and and who now lives happily in Monopoli with Nelly and her family. Together with a handful of Chihuahuas – the smallest of which is Tita, barely two kilos of pure affection and unconditional love. A keyhole view into their everyday life
A rainy day in Monopoli. What are you up to today?
We just came back from a long walk along the Adricatic coast. I’m always amazed how tenacious Tita is for being so little! She can run for hours and never gets tired. Maybe that’s also because I take them out all together. Being part of a pack makes it more entertaining, I guess. To tell you the truth, Tita is everything one would never expect from a Chihuahua. Super sweet with everyone, not aggressive at all, a Chihuahua anti cliché. All my five dogs have learned to live in a hierarchy, that makes my life easier. And they’re all very affectionate and loving! So I guess that’s what we’ll do today: Lie on the sofa and cuddle. Wait for the thunderstorm to pass and for the the sun to come out again.
How do you communicate with your dogs?
We understand each other perfectly through looks, a whistle, some exclamation, never shouting because there’s no need.
Do you know their secret pleasures? What do you do to spoil them every once in a while?
Fresh meat is always a winner, that works no matter what. Then there is this treat they adore, from the animal shop: a piece of dry beef. They all go crazy for it! Especially my little rebel, Pupi, the Bali dog.
You brought a Bali dog home?
Yes I did, couldn’t help it. I found her on a street, very sick and super tiny. Because I didn’t want to leave her, she was sent on an incredible journey: All the way to Jakarta at first where she got a new passport, then on a plane via Istanbul and Rome to Puglia. Eight days on the road and in the air, looked after by living, helping hands. But Pupi is a hero, she made it. And we love her unconditionally.
Getting back to your latest arrival, Tita: Who would she be if she was a person?
She would be a tribal warrior girl! You may not believe it but she once chased a big dog just by barking at him, her little mean kind of barking.
You travel a lot, sometimes stay away for weeks. Where do you leave your dogs in the meantime?
There is a young woman close to where we live: She is a dog trainer and very happy to keep them while we travel, which is at least twice a year for about a month and a half every time. The dogs adore her! And they are just as happy when we come back. It would be lovely to be able to take them with us every time we leave. Unfortunately not everyone welcomes them the way they should. I once went to Miami, where there are parks for small dogs only, where they can play we each other safely. Isn’t that phantastic? In Italy, especially in the South, they’ve got as whole different approach, a different mentality really.
What’s your favourite thing to do with your furry kids?
Long walks by the sea are our favourite. I try to do it every day! We’d spend at least two hours outside. During the winter, when we’ve got the beaches around Monopoli for ourselves, it’s even more exciting. They love to run together and I enjoy the moment of peace, every problem you may have gets lighter, any bad mood disappears while you’re walking, in nature, with your dogs.
Any advice you’d like to share?
Dogs make our lives richer and I would suggest everbody to get one. But I think not everyone is capable to understand how to really make a dog happy. Dogs need all our love, yes, but they also need to be treated like dogs. They need long walks even though they are small, they don’t need to be over clean, they need to eat dog food to stay healthy and they need rules in order to be happy. They need to run free and they need a pack leader to run back to. The most beautiful thing that happened to me with my five dogs is to understand that dogs love to live with other dogs, love to play together and to sleep cuddling each other. They have their own rules to live together peacefully.