Paying her a visit, in her lovely rooftop home right across famous Basilica Santa Croce in Lecce, means stumbling across a handful of gentle animals of almost any kind, a couple of cats and, of course, Dante and Hunter, Beatrice’s faithful furry companions. In the midst of everything, “la padrona professoressa”, having coffee and cookies in the warm Salentino morning Sun
How did you and your Golden Retrievers meet?
Hunter was a gift from my late husband. After an operation I could no longer have children and he brought him to me as it was a puppy, saying that Hunter could become our “little one”. He has been for 13 years while unfortunatley my husband is gone.
How has your life changed with them?
My husband used to travel a lot for business and Hunter stayed by my side. Eventually my daughter came back home from University so there were three of us in the house, plus three cats that Hunter got along very well with. The younger cat is convinced that Hunter is her mother, he protects her from the other cats, they often sleep in one bed etc. Then, two years ago, Dante arrived.
What is your favourite thing to do with them?
Stroll. Especially early in the morning, when I leave the house for the first time and let them loose, each with his lease in his mouth. A lot of people stop to have a chat and all three of us are very sociable! When the weather permits I take them to the sea: As true Retrievers they adore swimming! Even Hunter with his now 13 years still likes to get his paws wet and young Dante never gets tired.
If you could go back would you take them again?
Both of them, for sure! Hunter has always been a good dog, never caused any problems. He may have dug a few holes in our garden close to Martina Franca where we used to live in a Trullo. Or he ate fruit from under the trees like figs or kakis and was sick for hours… Dante on the other hand was pure terror as a little one! He ate everything in the garden, including my favourite roses, and broke I don’t know how many vases. Luckily growing older he’s getting calmer too. I like to call him the gossip boy of Santa Croce , because he is always there, on two legs, watching the world pass by from the third floor. When he sees something interesting he calls me barking as if to say: “Look who’s passing by down there, let’s say Hi!”
Anything you would like to tell people who don’t have dogs?
From my point of view, dogs are the best company in the world. They’re always in a good mood and never criticize you. My advice to those who don’t understand the meaning of life: Get a dog, it will make your life meaningful and happy every single day.
This article was previously published in Amazing Puglia Magazine.