6. Speaking of welcome, don’t take “no pets allowed” as the final say when looking for places to stay.
After a month trying to learn Italian while Seymour slept beside me in class, we ventured out, reservation less, to explore more of Italy. Mostly I used AirbnB.com to search for inexpensive rooms that allowed pets. There were times that the perfect place would say “no dogs.” I would email them and include a picture of Seymour, and ask if they made exceptions. All but twice, they agreed. One even wrote a review of us and said that they didn’t allow dogs normally but were glad to have allowed us to stay and would welcome us again. It helps to have a small, semi-well behaved and friendly dog. So “no pets” doesn’t always mean “no.”
7. Invest in a doggie sling.
The sling was one of the best items I brought with me. It was light weight and easy to stuff in my backpack. And yes, it looks like a baby sling, but I didn’t care. I took it with me everywhere. Seymour and I walked for hours in the hilly towns like the Cinque Terre villages, Assisi and Matera. His legs would give out before mine and he would stop in front of me and almost jump into the sling. He had a comfortable vantage point for viewing the sites, was at the right height for people to come by and pet him, and he was able to rest those tired legs. He also rode in the sling on the trains and buses. .
Technically some charge extra for a pet that is not in a carrier, but he rode free for 3 months except for one time. That time we were riding a bus from Napoli to Matera and I don’t think they had ever had a dog on their buses before. They treated him like a child and even asked his age so they knew what to charge! We paid the extra fee and I let Seymour sleep in our extra seat. He would also hang in his sling while I ate in the cafes. It looked a little funny having a dog hanging in a sling over my chest while I ate a meal, but no one ever acted like it was an unusual event. We also used the sling when going into stores or supermarkets. I would leave my make- up bag at home before I would leave his sling.
8. Bring a folding doggie purse.
The sling was wonderful but it didn’t fully hide Seymour. There were a few places, like the duomos that wouldn’t allow dogs, even if they were being carried. I believe “it is better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission” in those cases, but we were unable to get in to see the mosaics in Ravenna, the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi, and a castle in Bologna. We tried, but once they saw Seymour peeking out of his sling, they asked us to leave. I believe that if I had him in an a little doggie purse, I would have been able to visit more of those sites. I am willing to give it a try next time.