One of the things I love about Friuli is how gosh darn dog friendly it is.
I can take my dog into the shopping mall, the hair salon, to the bar, in restaurants, on the train…and I don’t need a special “helper dog” permit to be able to do this.
The dog laws differ slightly from region to region in Italy, and Friuli is definitely one of the friendliest when it comes to our furry four-legged friends.
They even have a PET AMBULANCE.
That’s right.; Friuli is one of the few regions that has a fully equipped professional pet ambulance and regularly staffed team of emergency vets that you can contact for any road emergencies involving domestic animals.
I’d like to share a bit more about the wonderful associations in Friuli that dedicate their time, efforts and funding to animals, so if you happen to be moving to the area (or you just love pets), then you’ll find plenty of great info here!
Sometimes when I’m driving up and down the streets of Friuli, I’m not sure whether the ambulance that zips by is that of the hospital or Mi Fido Di Te – the Veterinary Ambulance located in Pordenone.
They regularly post status updates on their Facebook page, letting the public know when they head out to assist an animal in an emergency and where they go.
I’ve even seen them in action!
A few years ago I was driving home from work one night and I saw some lights flashing and cars stopped ahead of me. I thought it was a car accident.
As I drew nearer, I realized that it was the Vet Ambulance and that they were helping an animal that had been struck by a car. The thermal Mylar blanket was out and the emergency vets were working to save the animal.
It was so awesome to see them out there with the professional equipment they needed to save the animal.
Read about my fuel gift card donation to them in this story.
The Laws Concerning Animals & Road Incidents
There is actually a law in Italy that requires a motorist to stop and assist an animal if their vehicle struck it, so I looked it up on Patente.it to find out the particular details.
ARTICOLO 189 COMMA 9-BIS
What this tells users of the road is that they are required, by law, to stop and assist any animal (domestic or wild) to the best of their abilities and that anyone involved in the accident must stop, too.
Those who don’t stop to assist can face a fine of €413-€1656
It goes on to state that anyone else involved in the accident (even if they did not hit the animal but, for example, their car was struck by the one that did hit the animal), must also stop assist.
If not, they could face a fine of €83-€331.
Whether it’s a hedgehog, cat, dog, deer, fox or any other type of animal…please stop and help.
If you live in Italy, you need to understand that it is also the LAW.
Unfortunately, the Pet Ambulance IS NOT able to assist in cases of wildlife injuries (they would like to, but by law, they cannot).
Call the Guardia Forestale if you ever hit a wild animal and they will send the veterinary on-call out to assist it.
This past August, I had an idea to combine two of my greatest passions: dogs and photography.
The result was a trip to a local animal shelter where I took some photos for their annual calender.
I honestly didn’t know how I would feel entering, because I have such a weak heart when it comes to seeing animals and pets that don’t have homes. I imagined myself fighting back tears and leaving the place feeling sad and heartbroken…
But it was the exact opposite.
First, I should tell you that this is a NO-KILL SHELTER. Actually, I believe that most (or all?) shelters in Italy are no-kill. Yay!
Upon entering, I was bombarded with a wave of barks and howls since the shelter hosts around 500 dogs and cats.
With camera in hand and a few treats to give to the doggies, I entered cage after cage of dogs and cats with one of the regular caretakers to snap some photos. There were even a few sheep that had been abandoned on the roadside a few years ago.
The dogs had mixed reactions to my presence. Some of them were old, some were young, some were skittish and some were just hangin’ out.
There were also plenty of happy, smiling pups that just wanted to us to play with them.
There were plenty of kitties – some so skittish that they never allowed anyone to get near them – yet they were still welcome to come and go as they pleased.
The reason that I wanted to take the photos in the first place was to offer the shelter some higher quality photos to use on their website.
Many shelters, as we can all imagine, don’t have the time or resources to deal with anything more than cell phone snapshots, so I thought that my Nikon D5000 might come in handy for their individual pet images.
From there, the shelter decided that the photos would be extra handy for their annual calendar, so with the help of a local printing lab, they chose their favorites and had the calendar printed to help generate sales for the entire shelter.
That is why I did not feel sad when I went around the shelter snapping photos or when I left.
I knew that I was doing something to help, and seeing the way that the volunteers and staff interacted with the animals was heartwarming. They knew all of the animals by name and had a wonderful relationship with them.
Animal friendly Friuli at its finest.
Let me tell you, friends, if you ever feel like you have nothing to offer an association like this, you are definitely mistaken.
TIME is all it takes.
I always used to feel like I wasn’t enough of an animal expert to help and that I didn’t have the extra funds to budget into regular food donations, so it felt so good to finally find a way that I could help.
The photos here will speak for themselves.
You may not live in Italy and you may not be able to help this shelter specifically, but if you want to help animals and you feel like you can’t afford to, just donate your time and your talents…your time can turn into money for those who help animals.