I think being here in Montisi is definitely a dog’s life!

My name is Bella. I’m a 5 year old cockerpoo and I live with my human Mummy in Montisi, a beautiful hilltop village in Southern Tuscany for half the year. The rest of the time we live in England.

Montisi is a wonderful place to live and to visit for people who like travelling with dogs and in fact I’ve had really good experiences wherever I’ve  been in Italy. It’s a special doggy place.

It’s not like England – or probably America although I have never been there. I can almost go everywhere with Mummy. Dogs are welcome in most hotels, shops, restaurants and even some supermarkets!  When I’ve been in the supermarket I have had to sit in the trolley which was fine for me but it would be uncomfortable if you were a bigger dog like my border collie friend Alba. Or very lively like my Italian boyfriend Zampa. He’s a black and white terrier and was given his name because he looks like he has black paw prints on his white body and Zampa means ‘paw’ in Italian!

People just like dogs here. You do have to be on your best behaviour and sit under the table at restaurants – but that’s just the best place to be in case the odd bit of tasty tagliata (yummy steak) finds its way to the floor – whoosh! Gone in a second!

There are lots of great walks around Montisi but make sure you harden up those pads. Lots of roads are white roads with stones and you need to be tough! There is plenty of countryside too and it’s great fun looking for lizards in the trunks of the olive trees.

When you come, if you travel on a train or decide you fancy a boat trip on Lago di Trasimeno ask your human to buy a muzzle. Over here they are required for public transport. Shame really but naughty dogs misbehaving haven’t done us any favours.

I have to have a passport like you humans although it only has my microchip number and details about my health, rabies and tapeworm, not a photo. I am still not sure how those nice people at Calais recognise me. Mummy said she checked with the passport office for the latest info for what you have to do to take British pets abroad so you can have a look too. Just don’t tell your owners when you use the computer and don’t mention it to your cat friend if you want a bit of peace and quiet on your holidays as apparently they can come too. Don’t forget your doggy insurance either. If you’re not British I can’t help you so much, you’ll have to look up your own laws.

Travelling down can be fun, practice being good in the car and get your humans to stop lots to let you stretch your paws and have a drink. Drinking water and staying in the shade is important when you’re here too; you don’t want to overdo the sunbathing in the summer. Too much tan is not a good look or as we Italians say ‘bella figura ‘.

Sadly it’s not all good news.  As well as your passport you need to have a long chat with a vet (apologies to all my canine friends who are bit nervous about vets, take courage!) as there are some nasty diseases you can catch around here, for example – leishmania, heartworm, ticks and some dreadful other stuff from mosquitoes. You might have to have a shot or take a pill and you need to be careful at dawn and dusk. There are also some dastardly seeds called forrasecchi. You need to check for these everyday! I had one inside my toes once and had to have an ultrasound scan and antibiotics. Also you have to look out for hunters and for poisoned food and snakes! But let me tell you it’s really worth it, you’ll have a great time.

If you do come and feel poorly or have an accident there are lots of lovely vets here although it helps if you speak Italian. I’m pretty fluent now. You can even have hydrotherapy! It’s much cheaper than in the UK!

And it’s not just lovely walks and going everywhere with your human! You could have a trial lesson in doggy agility, my friend Alba can tell you all about the lovely Patrizia and her special agility campo just down the road in Sinalunga. Contact us and Alba or I will get back to you!

Hasta la vista! Or is that Spanish ?

Lots of love

Bella x