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When the UPS guy comes when we aren’t home here, they drop it off at a UPS drop a few miles away and then I can pick it up there whenever the place is open. Sometimes it’s an actual Post Office, lucky for me, our closest one is an adorable little bookstore that only sells children books. Did I mention it’s adorable?

I decided to take Luna out for a walk to get there – twenty minutes walking the long, straighter streets outside the center. On the way, we met another couple with a bulldog, and we then attracted all of the employees out of the cosmetics store that we were in front of. Remember – time isn’t meaningful here. After saying goodbye to Ares and his owners, and the people from the store, and the other couple that also had stopped to get Frenchie kisses, we finally made it to the bookstore. I should not be allowed in bookstores – even children’s bookstores, because I will want to buy the entire thing. Thankfully, I had not brought my wallet.

On the way back, as we were almost to the park (we can shortcut through the greenery instead of walking up the street), a woman stopped me on the street asking the usual questions: Is it a female or male? How old? What’s her name?

This is normally where the conversation ends and we go on our ways but alas, not tonight. As she launched into her lament on how many dog owners aren’t responsible around here, and girl dogs are better because they don’t pee on the walls (a battle well fought in many cities all over Italy – in some I’ve heard it’s now law to carry around a bottle of water to dilute the pee from the walls). Then, she mentioned the fenced-in area of the park for dogs (Luna’s stomping grounds) and I immediately realized who I was talking to. Then I realized that somehow, I had found myself deeply involved in the current neighborhood drama.

“They call me The Pazza (The Crazy)!” She insisted as she threw up her hands in frustration and explained the story I already knew, but let her tell again because there was no way in hell I was going to tell her I knew her as the crazy. No, not happening.

But I did – and I do. For the past few months, the drama around the local park has heightened to having police presence – and it all began with the woman that was now trying to timidly pet Luna as we walked together through the park. Within the park, there’s a “dog park” that is gated and fenced in, with official signs, etc. There’s a fountain inside and people have brought in pots and bowls to fill, and there are three different areas with a gate between in case some dogs don’t get along with others. Park benches line the wall and the way it’s set on the hill means primetime sunshine on good days. The other day when we were there, I was in a t-shirt.

In this area, dogs can be off leash. Outside of this area and through the rest of the park – nevermind the city, dogs should be leashed, muzzled if they’re larger and on public transport, etc etc the things that are logical when you have lots of pups in tight spaces. In our park, outside of the dog gate, many owners disregard the leash law – especially in a sectioned off-area a few levels lower than the dog park – where the grass is greener (literally) and there is normally a small pack of dogs off leash there almost every day. We have brought Luna down there – only because at some points, there were more dogs her size there than the upper area where she was getting beaten up. Once we realized what a terrible and controversial idea this was, we’ve stuck to the gated area.

I don’t have to go over why they should be leashed. I agree with it. So does my new friend – who, for the past few months, has been yelling at all who unleash their dogs in the park, and has called the police enough about it that they actually showed up one day and fined four women and their little poodles. This made the news, which of course was then the talk of the dog park. There were not nice things said. Mostly surrounding the woman, as well as comments on how many other things should be patrolled before leash law offenses (they’re right on that, yes).

But now those not-nice things directed toward this woman seemed like overkill, and this woman, without the backdrop of dramatic anger of an ongoing war over garden-turf, didn’t seem so pazza to me. Ok, maybe just a tiny bit – but aren’t we all? Truthfully though, it’s simple: dogs in the dog park are unleashed and that means should get along with the majority if not all other dogs. Elsewhere, keep them on a leash.

She followed me all the way home to my door, seemingly thrilled that I agreed with her (I really had no issues – it was a generally healthy conversation) and waved as she walked up the street.

I’m not sure if I dug myself out of a hole or just deeper – but I just pray this doesn’t bring me into some real-life Florentine soap opera.

But if it does, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it on here.


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