Sharing the Love

Claudia and her snowwhite mixed-breed Mimma share a lot of passions. Hiking is one of them. Yoga another. And while Claudia feels her dog all over her body while going from Downward Facing Dog into Handstand or others, she can’t help but ask herself who’s the real Yogi soul. They just now started to participate in Animal Assistent Interventions to help people in need get better

My compliments, You look perfectly fit! Thanks to Mimma…?
Well, I’m doing my best! I’ve been trying to calm down her incredibly playful character. You can see some results but… Mimma just cannot hold herself back when she’s happy (which she always is!) and since she’s not exactly a Chihuahua, I’m trying hard to keep her from dragging me away. Mimma is a very sociable dog, she wants to say Hi to everyone, play with everyone (even with the cats but they don’t always understand her), wants to run, swim and, above all, roll in everything she finds that’s stinky or yucky in some way. Bad luck for me but a great business for the city’s ​​dog ​​toilets.

Tell me about your life.
Mimma and I spend a lot of time together and try to make the most of it. We love hiking. Well, hiking is not quite right: As soon as she sees a meadow,
a beach or any other open space, she starts running happily all over the place. Mimma is a very active dog and loves to explore and dig big holes when we go on excursions. While we walk she repeatedly comes close to touch me with her nose, as if to make sure that Mom is still there. Once we went for a walk to the lakes of Alimini, near Otranto. She couldn’t resist throwing herself into the water to chase three ducks swimming carelessly in the middle of the lake. Another day, close to the beautiful and scenic Acquaviva Bay in Marittima, she accidentally fell into a well full of dirty water. She eventually got out again and shook herself wildly, getting everyone around her wet and dirty. Yet she’s easily forgiven because she is so sweet! I simply wouldn’t know what to do without our occasional excursions, no matter where and when. Seeing her run freely (especially in the snow!) makes me very happy.

You live in a city (Lecce, Italy), not exactly the best place to let dogs run free. How do you cope?
Yes, that’s a a problem, especially for larger dogs like Mimma. Where do we go run, play with a ball, hide and seek? The city park unfortunately opens too late, therefore we cannot go every morning. That park has a dog area which unfortunately is below expectations: small, dirty, full of fleas, mosquitoes and who knows what else. Not exactly the best place to take her. But unfortunately there’s very few alternatives. South of Rome there don’t seem to be any more walking areas for dogs. It’s a mess for people and dogs like us.

Do you share Mimma with someone or is it just You and her?
There’s also Michele, my fiancé, who invited me to come live with him and welcomed the two of us with great patience. He would never admit it but he got very attached to Mimma, too. When he comes home from work he’d whistle the legendary jingle (the Jurassic Park soundtrack) and Mimma looses it! She usually waits for him at the exact same hour, wagging her tail and waiting for him to cuddle her, give her the cookie (their ritual), calming down only when he gets out of his shoes.

Any other things you share?
There is Yoga, which I used to do before she arrived and which we practise “together” now. Let me put it this way: I try to do yoga and she thinks I wanna play, so she runs around me and under me like crazy. We both love these moments! We have also embarked on a path that will enable us to practice what used to be called Pet Therapy and is now AAI (Animal Assisted Interventions): an initiative where a specially-trained dog and professional handler work together, in conjunction with a human services professional (eg therapist, social care practitioner, teacher or healthcare provider), to promote improvements in the physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning of a person. In order to help them build self esteem, overcome anxiety, interact with others, change certain patterns of behaviour and many more. It’s interesting and challenging for both of us! And I hope it’ll help me to make people in need participate in what I enjoy every day.


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