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Italians Love Their Pets

They love their food, their history and their culture. (Don't we all?) But now, Pet Set Juliet shows us just how strong the love affair is between Italians and their pets.

There are few things worse than losing a beloved pet. I miss Gomez every day. Even as I sit here writing this, I'm looking over at my late chihuahua's shrine; pictures and mementos of our amazing years together, all sitting on the leaning bookshelf next to my desk.

Downstairs, "Gomey" is resting in the den, his ashes in a small burgundy box. Always close, never forgotten. I'm going to sprinkle some of Gomez's ashes in NYC's Greenwich Village, where I first met him and Hoboken, NJ where he ruled the streets, frightening even the biggest 'hood dogs, including a Great Dane named, ironically, "Juliet".

Had I been able to bury him nearby, I would have. But the NY/NJ area isn't conducive to that, at least not where I lived. Alas, it was a dream. Luckily, for some folks in Italy, that dream is a reality.

From cats to dogs to chickens, Italy's oldest pet cemetery is open for business. "Casa Rosa" is a bucolic spot set amid a suburban neighborhood about 30 minutes south of Rome's "Pantheon". It's no Green Wood Cemetery, but for the mourning moms and distraught dads of more than 1000 late pets, it's Shangri-La.

A touching tribute to an old friend

You won't find Lassie or "Tinkerbell" Hilton, but you will find dogs owned by everyone from the local butcher to Benito Mussolini's pet chicken. (Funny enough, I had a pet chicken as a child. RIP Freddie.) Other pets-of-the-elite include those once belonging to Italian director Federico Fellini and "La Dolce Vita" actress Brigitte Bardot.

It's a heartwarming, heartbreaking experience, but one many pet owners say not only helps them through the grieving process, but adequately honors their beloved beast.

RIP Gomez Huddy 2006-2022

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