Monday, 18 February 2013


Our little puppies, well not anymore, will turn 4 years old this coming week.

Imagine four years ago, we went shortly after their birth to Capena a small town just a few kilometers outside of Rome, a suburb by today's standard. Capena is famous for being in antiquity a town for wealthy Romans who had villas. Marcus Tulius Cicero (the father of lawyers) was one, Livia, Empress of Rome, mother of Tiberius and wife of Augustus, also had her famous summer villa at Prima Porta.

We had heard, I do not remember how, of the Casa degli Orsi, (the house of the bears) which is a breeding kennel for Wire hair Dachshunds and for Saint Bernard's, two very different breeds of dogs.
The kennel is owned by a well known Veterinarian Dr. Massimo B. and his wife Tiziana who have won many trophies and awards.

We loved the farm or kennel, lots of big trees and meadows and old stone farm house, there was also a big pool full of Koi fish. The two bitches who were with their litters were inside the house. The puppies being new born still had their eyes close and were very small, smaller than my hand. Tiziana picked up one little female puppy and then went over to the other box and picked up a little male. The two mothers looked alarmed and kept an eye out so that their puppies would not be harmed. When she returned them to their respective boxes the mothers licked them, checking that nothing had happened to them.

The male dogs who fathered the litter were kept outside in a pen with the other wire hair dachshunds.
With Will at the farm in Capena, left Nora and right Nicky at 6 weeks.

We decided then to adopt the two puppies and left them at the farm to return 6 weeks later to pick them up. We also had to think of a name for them, in Italy you cannot give just any name to your dog, there is a complex registration process and papers have to be filled out, it is as we say ''la bella face''. We had a contest on the internet and a friend came up with Nicky and Nora as in the 1940 movies about Nick and Nora Charles. It was explained to us that both dogs could not have names starting with the letter N, so a device was invented to go around this rule.
Our Nora before her grooming session at the Salon.

Nora close up in 2010, Rome

So our female dog was named Eleonora della Casa degli Orsi, we call her Nora for short. Her father was Hungarian, Erik Ligetfalvi, her mother was Italian and named Lucy.

Nora was born on 19 February 2009, feisty even has a new born with a hunting dog mentality, very independent.

Our Nicky, we named Fantastico Nicky, born 23 February 2009. Both parents are Hungarian, the father was Indian Catullus and his mother Filomena Catullus. Nicky is not a hunter more of a show dog  like his father, life is a catwalk, very vain, he knows he is beautiful, how can dogs know this, he knows, its his Italian side, all style.

Fantastico Nicky groomed for his birthday on Saturday 23 February.

We got proof of origin for pure bred dogs (Hungary) and registration of birth in Italy and then permits were issued by the province of Lazio (Rome) with their Health Certificates. We being the owners had to provide proof of identity and our Codice Fiscale or tax number. They also got their European Union international chip inserted when we went to bring them back to Rome.
This is by far my favourite photo of Nicky in our den at home in Rome on Via dei Villini.

The trip back to the City down Via Tiberina and then Via Salaria in our car was comical, Nora was happy to go and settled quickly, while Nicky whined all the way for 25 minutes, very unhappy to leave his family and the farm. It turns out that Nora has a large vocabulary of sounds to tell you things and will bark at you to indicate different things that she wants. While Nicky whines, he does not bark unless he is upset about something and it is usually one sharp bark. He may give a low ominous growl as a warning but that is all. He can also tell time, per example 7am is breakfast time, 17:35 is dinner time and 22:00 is bedtime, if you forget not to worry he will remind you. He is very precise about such things, we just find it strange. I suspect he as a little watch like a Piaget hidden in his kennel.

Nora and Nicky on the ancient Via Appia, posing by a funeral monument in the Spring time, Rome.

Happy Birthday to our little Dachshunds who bring so much joy to our life.


  1. many happy returns, indeed !

  2. Film! Film! Nicky and Nora film! BTW, were they named after a musical called Nick and Nora? I only found out about its existence when reading a programme devoted to Jerry Herman's Dear World, which is having a fabulous renaissance in London (for those of us who like that sort of thing, and I do) with the superlative Betty Buckley.

    1. They were named after a series of detective story films in the USA called The thin man with Merna Loy and William Powell.

  3. They grow up so fast. What a handsome pair! I love the pic of Nicky in the sunlight. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Welcome. I may have some more taken today.