Gus the Gentle Neighbor

We cannot wait until it’s June again! That’s when Manuela Falcolini, 70, and her beautiful hunting mongrel Gus, 4, arrive from Rome to spend the summer in Savelletri. Along comes Manuela’s mother, a beautiful, witty lady of more that 100 years. And just enough colors and canvas to keep Manuela, a retired teacher and passionate painter, busy in the evening hours…

Will you tell me how you met each other?
One of my daughter’s friends had found a litter in the countryside and was looking for adopting families for all the puppies, including Gus.

What’s so amazing about him?
He is the cutest guy, so happy and kind that it’s contagious. Just looking at him will make you smile.

What is your relationship like?
It’s based on love, irony, provocations, mischief…

Do you know about his secret passions?
He can get enthusiastic about anything: Food, balls, running in the meadows, rolling in the grass, playing with other dogs.

What type is your language? Do you have a secret code?
To tell you the truth, I got so used to decoding, interpreting and understanding his body language that I often don’t even remember that he is not speaking. He also seems to understand many of my words and maybe even more so the tone of my voice. However, he can get quite naughty sometimes.

Do you have a “trick” that makes him listen no matter what?
Throwing the leash towards him, as they told me to do, seems to works quite well. Or attract him with his favorite toys which are fake bones and balls. He usually gets it.

If your dog were a person – who would he be?
A very kind and affectionate child.

Why do you love him?
He’s been with me ever since he was three months old. I remember when I first saw him curled up in a shoe box. I watched him grow up. How could I not love him?

An unforgetable moment with your dog?
I will never forget when, a few months old, he ran away from the meadow where I always take him.  He had lost me and ran home chased by an old man. Luckily some people caught him since he had crossed a very busy road. In that very moment I understood how much I loved him and what it meant to lose him.

Has your dog ever made it easier for you to interact with other people?
Many people stop to pet him, this way you get to talk easily, even to perfect strangers. I actually made a lot of new friends in the neighborhood – with and without dogs.

Where do you leave him when you go away for a couple of days? How does he take it?
I leave him with my children. When I return he usually goes crazy with joy. Must be because of the food I prepare for him.

Is there anything that bores you about him?
There are dogs that he doesn’t like much and he barks when he sees them, even if they are far away. Furthermore, he sheds a lot of hair.

What do you like to do together most?
The walks

Do you dream of doing something special with your dog?
I would have liked to do a rescue dog course but he is not the right breed and he has never wanted to go swimming in the sea.

Is your dog part of the family and 100% at home? Does he sleep in your bed etc?
Gus is just one of the family to an extent where my son doesn’t even want him to be called dog. He doesn’t sleep in my bed, but climbs onto sofas and armchairs.

Any advice you would like to share?
It’s definitely challenging. And quite a commitment. But you’ll find that a dog lifts up your mood, no matter what. If you’re ready for that, go for it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *