Love is not Enough

Vincenzo Cicirelli, 38, always wanted to be a vet, “like everyone would like to be a vet as a child”.
Why everything turned out a bit different from what he expected, why vets often have dogs that are in bad shape and why he loves his job more than anything else in the world

You dedicated your life to treating and healing animals.  
I always wanted to be a vet. Like everyone would like to be a vet as a child. What many don’t perceive is the fact that a sick animal is a serious matter. Petting a puppy doesn’t have anything to do with it! As a vet you have to deal with serious pathologies, have to cure animals that suffer a lot. And sometimes, sadly enough, you have to be ready to euthanize an animal that can’t take it anymore. No wonder the  course of study to become a vet is one of the most difficult ones that exist.

How do you work? What distinguishes your style as a vet?
Well, my approach changed through the years. At the beginning I had more of a scholastic approach. But you learn to listen to the owners.
They usually tell you quite precisely what the problem is. For the rest I follow my instincts, based on the knowledge I have acquired.   

Tell me about the dogs you adopted from the streets of Puglia!
I have three dogs, Rachel, about 10 years old, Trilli, about 10, and Gigio, the latest arrival, about 2 years old. Veterinarians often have dogs that are fundamentally in bad shape. I picked all of mine from the streets. Found Rachel on a highway, for example, Tinker Bell under my house, with an injured paw. And Gigio had been run over and I had to have his spleen amputated. Saving an animal is a major way in which an animal connects to its owner, in this case a veterinarian: The animal feels who saved its life.

In what way are your dogs amazing?
They are three dogs with completely different characters. Rachel is the most affectionate one, always closeby, asking for cuddles. And she’s the smartest of them all so she is also the group leader, the alpha female. The other two respect her for that. Trilli is the most fragile one, very delicate ever since I found her, never managed to overcome her fears. And then there is little Gigio, playful and crazy like every puppy, the little naughty boy of the group.

How would you describe your relationship?
We are pretty much best friends, spending time together as often as possible,  we sleep together etc. But they know very well what my role is in the group, so they respect me. Especially Gigio, the slightly more exuberant one, is almost afraid when I raise my voice. I talk to them a lot. And I think from my tone of voice they understand what I want and how I want it and they are very good at listening. Or let’s say, the group leader is very good and the others obey Rachel’s signals. 

Any advice you’d like to share?
I recommend getting a dog only if you have the time and energy. And don’t underestimate the money factor! Love is not enough. Sometimes you need practical things that are useful to make the dog feel 100% comfortable. 

One last question: Are you ever afraid of dogs you’re supposed to cure?
Well, I’m more afraid of cats than dogs. When it happens I use anesthesia. It is important to be a good anesthetist to be able to sedate an animal, calm it down and also make it less stressed.    

PS: Cicirelli is an expert in internal medicine, soft tissue surgery and reproductive pathologies. He operates in the Bari area. Cell +39 3408685648;


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