It’s time that I introduced you to Sabra, our german shepherd, seeing as she is such a big part of our lives.
Sabra came to us two and a half years ago. We were about to start a new chapter in our lives and moving to the country meant that I could finally have a dog, a BIG dog. My friend Rachel called to say that she had met a young couple who had a giant german shepherd pup that they were trying to find a home for. I liked the sound of ‘giant’; the more dog the better, I always say!
We spoke to the owner and Kaya (as she was named) was delivered into our arms one fine morning in November … torn from her mother, miserable, dishevelled and covered in her own vomit.
Soon however she was comfortably settled into our home in the Sannio. She grew quickly (and remembering that she was going to be a ‘giant’) we decided that it would be better to give her some proper schooling. I had read Jen Fennell’s “The Dog Listener” and began a search on the internet for an amischien trainer in Campania. Lo and behold I found a school located at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius. It was unforgettably named ‘Happy Snout’.
Federico, Sabra and I went to school for six months and it was the best decision we ever made. We studied how to become pack leaders (which basically means learning how to ignore bad behavior and reward the good behavior of your dog). It was difficult at first but the results were rewarding.
Sabra eventually grew to become a normal-sized, german shepherd mix and she is a real beauty. Whatever she lacks in size and breeeding is more than compensated by her outstanding temperment and intelligence. She has been instrumental in making the insertion and weaving of our lives into the tapestry of S. Agata dei Goti a seamless success. I have become known as ‘la signora col cane’ (the woman with the dog) and when I go out alone, the first question I am inevitable asked is “ma signora, dov’è Sabra?” (“so where is Sabra?”)