“Don’t Overthink it – just DO it!”

Marcella, 55, pharmacist, passionate swimmer* and mother of two young adults in Lecce, never expected to have a dog – ever. Grown up in a family where dogs had never been allowed, she didn’t even know what she was missing out. Then Bowie arrived – and changed her life. She told me the whole story the other day, over morning coffees at 300 mila bar in Lecce, too beautiful not to share it with you   

How Bowie and I met?
Well, he was brought home by a friend who had found him and two little brothers walking on a provincial road. The two little brothers had been adopted. And this one, the shyest of them all, was all alone in this world. My friend told me to help out until she would find a long-term accommodation. I said yes, sure – no idea was I was getting into. Because from there, from my house, he never left again. We called him Bowie. His generic, as a pharmacist it’s all about generics, would be the Malinoi spepherd. 

Bowie is the most intelligent and intuitive dog in the world! No kidding. Bowie really is extraordinary for his intelligence and his intuition.

Our relationship is a special one for me because he changed my life. He changed it because I have never had animals. My parents didn’t like animals, they were even afraid of animals. I could never even think of having one at home, or, like now, wanting another one! Bowie changed my sensitivity towards not only the animal world but also made me understand many other things. It’s a relationship of gratitude, no less than that. At least on my part. Maybe even on his part because if he hadn’t met me who knows if he’d still be alive. I’ll always be grateful for having added something special to my life, for increasing my sensitivity.

His passions? Well, unlike other dogs of his size he doesn’t care much about food. He loves to roam freely, run on the beach, not be on a leash.

We don’t have a special language, for sure not a stereotyped one since he’s never been trained. It depends a lot on the situation. What I usually do is try to make myself respected at least in the most important issues. And he respects that. Anyway: A sausage is always a valid reason to make him do what I want!

If he were a person he would certainly be my third child who arrives perhaps late in life, unexpectedly. And for this reason the mother has a particular eye on him.

We love Bowie for many reasons! Because he is patient, whatever we do to him, pet him all over, kiss his ears, things that perhaps shouldn’t be done with dogs. But he would sit there waiting, patiently, and accepting our perhaps excessive effusions.

Bowie never did anything strange but one thing he did made us laugh a lot. It was eating a half-frozen fish that I had put on the stove and waiting to come back in the evening to cook it and I received a phone call from my daughter who said, “but Mom, did you forget to defrost the fish?” In reality Bowie had made it disappear. Very discreetly, really, without even moving the plate where I had placed the fish an inch.

Bowie never made it easy for me to interact with other people, because he is so afraid when we are around other people. He often barks when he sees an individual dressed in black with a hood. It’s an outfit, a certain kind of person, that scares him a lot and therefore I have to try to physically place myself between this person and him to reassure him. With me as a filter he remains calm. Otherwise, since he is afraid, he would try to defend me from what agitates him.

When I have to leave I usually take him to Giusi Luperto (3299212222) who is a certified dog trainer. Giusi is very good with dogs of any kind and her dog made friends with Bowie over the years. But when I go to pick him up he pretends to be angry. He is thrilled when he sees me but as soon as he gets into the car he turns the other way and doesn’t even give me a glance. I do know that he is happy there, Giusy always sends me videos of him playing with other dogs. And it is good for him to socialize with others of his kind. But he has to make me feel that something wasn’t right. Every single time.

Let’s just say he doesn’t do anything that bothers me. I’m sorry that he has this controversial relationship with the surrounding world when we go for a walk. But it was my responsibility not having accustomed him from an early age to socialize with the outside world. I always kept him at home a lot, he used to play in the garden and never became familiar with the outside world.

What we love to do together is go out where he can be free, where there is no one, on the beaches when there are no people, countryside. I would like to let him have many more of these experiences, in places where he can be free for whole days and wander around without having to be on a leash.

Bowie as I already said, is my third child, as well as the third brother of my children. Of course he sleeps on the bed, on a sheet that I put there for him. In fact what he does is move up and down all night, according to his needs.

Advice? It’s actually not what everyone says: Think carefully about getting a dog, etc. etc. Even though it is true that a dog is a responsibility and therefore we need to think about it. But it’s also true that if I had had to make the decision to keep him rationally, I would never have accepted him. So without knowing it I would have given up one of the most beautiful things that happened to me in life. Sometimes decisions made on impulse are the best. Because they make you discover a world of affection, sweetness, wealth that I would otherwise never have known.

PS: Marcella’s pharmacy is located in Lecce, Casciaro pharmacy. She also sells veterinary drugs.

* Together with a handful of other swimmer friends Marcella created the Association “SwimilSalento”, with the intention to surround the heel of the boot. 222 km in the open sea, swimming freestyle, in the summer as well as in the winter.