Paola and Gabriele have been Labrador lovers all their lives. Lola, 12, is their fourth in the “family”, the apple of their eye, a bit grey around her teeth but the sweetest dog they could possibly imagine. “Lolina”, as they call her, has never barked in her entire life, is perfectly obedient and cannot stand the three of them to be apart. So they try to never leave her alone: Whatever they do, Lola is part of it. Because this is the way it’s supposed to be, says Paola who doesn’t take it as a sacrifice but as a great opportunity to experience the joy that only an animal can provide
Would you like to present yourself?
I am Paola Vernetti, certainly older than I think but as my Grandma used to say “Women and poets are ageless”. I’ve worked in all sorts of businesses: I used to be a model, then worked in a showroom in Milan for some time, until I ended up in the village of Cascina Pellegrina, Novi Ligure (AL), where I started to work in my husband Gabriele’s company related to air conditioning. Lola is our fourth labrador (two of them sadly died far too early) and we’re really fond of her. Actually she’s like a daughter to us.
Whats so special about Lola?
A thousand things! Lola has the biggest room in both our hearts. She is very good, extremely behaved and shows absolutely no trace of aggression. Getting older we got closer obviously, that turned into some sort of symbiosis now that she’s more mature. We share and enjoy certain habits and rituals that no one else would understand. And none of us, especially her!, can stand being apart for too long. So in case one of us moves she won’t settle as long as he or she returns to the “pack”.
What are Lola’s greatest passions?
Cuddles, food, jumping into the water and saving “dad”, who’s perfectly capable to swim alone but enjoys the fun. Whoever approaches her, pronouncing kind and gentle words, will be rewarded with little Lola, belly up and waving her tail, asking for cuddles. When she was a puppy she used to “chew” on pebbles which wasn’t funny at all! Fortunately she learned not to, growing up.
Anything you say or do to understand each other more easily?
We understand each other through looks and simple gestures. There’s mutual respect for each other’s moods, no need to say anything, she would understand or vice versa. If nothing “works” which rarely happens, “cookies” is her magic word that makes everything possible.
Who would she be if not a dog?
My best friend who understands me without words.
Why exactly do you love her?
I love her because she is good with cats and all sort of animals, always obedient and cheerful. I love her because she’s funny when she walks. I love her because when she doesn’t want to do something she pretends not to hear – and certainly gets away with it! I love her too much. She is unique to both of us, like a daughter.
The cutest things she does, what are they?
Well, she has this funny way of relaxing with her belly on the floor and the legs behind her, spread out like a frog. Too cute! To ask for our attention she’d go and grab a piece of our stuff, preferably a shoe. And it works! One of us would jump up and chase after her. The always gets it her way. After dinner and some TV she decides it’s bedtime: She would grab her bone and her favourite stuffed dog and make us understand that it’s time to go to sleep. One more, less funny but remarkable thing: She uses the stairs only if she feels like it. If she doesn’t, we have to pick her up and carry her wherever she needs to go.
Do you ever leave her alone?
Until a few years ago, pre Covid, we regularly went on holiday overseas or went to see places where they wouldn’t accept dogs. My dad used to look after Lola in the meantime. Last time we left her was for a winter holiday in the mountains. When we got back after ten days she was super anxious for too long, maybe because she is getting old? That’s when we decided we wouldn’t leave her behind any more.
What are your favourite things to do together?
I love taking her for her evening walk around the farmhouse before dinner which is part of one of our daily rituals. And I love to caress her gently when she lies next to me. And I love doing gymnastics with her by my side!
Any thoughts or suggestions that come to your mind?
Needless to say, my perfect world would be with Lola by my side for the rest of our lives. Since that’s very unlikely, unfortunately, we enjoy every moment as if it was the greatest adventure, the most precious time we’ve ever had. So my advice for those who are thinking about taking an animal in: Don’t decide lightheartedly, since it’s a commitment that lasts a long time. But if you’re certain about what you’re doing be sure they’ll pay back with the purest joy you can possibly imagine.
PS: Paola’s second life is her agency for locations to rent for photo productions in Cascina Pellegrina. Check this (and many other fabulous things she does) out on @cascinapellegrina