Animals Without Limits

American Swedish non profit organisation

Category Archives: Amica



A couple of days ago I was down working at our hospice in Southern Italy. My last day, I took some clients with me to Dr Damiani´s clinic. Dr Francesco examined our Amica since she seemed to be in pain. Amica previously had been a very happy stray with her friend outside a food store named CONAD for many years. People knew and fed them and kept an eye on them, too. I remember three years ago when AWL started in Italy, a veterinarian and I stopped to check on them because earlier had I seen a wound on one of the dog´s ears. Suddenly, out from CONAD strode the store manager holding his two arms in his side asking what we are doing? The veterinarian spoke fluent Italian and told him who we were and that we only wanted to make sure the dogs were doing fine. He nodded his head that we could go ahead but he watched every move we made.

The parking guard who watched over the dogs was very friendly. Every time I went in to the store I bought them each one dog pate. We were allowed to feed them if we walked away from the store and fed them at the parking area, he showed me where. These two dogs were chubby; well fed by many and content.

One day after XX months I received a text message from Martina, that the dogcatchers had taken Amica, the older female. Someone had reported she had cancer and had to be removed from the streets. We had to get her back!

I said yes, of course.

Pio drove to the dogcatcher and veterinarian station, and told them about the hospice. We would take care of Amica. If we assured that we would medicate and re-wrap the surgery wound on her leg she could be ours, but we had to come later and show her to them to prove that she was doing better. Pio came to the hospice with Amica and all her medications. Twice a day I wrapped Amica´s leg, it was always a struggle, she was slippery like an eel. But she never did anything to harm us, never growled. She got her own room on the second floor, and it was a victory the day she walked down by herself and out in the grass to do her business.

She was always quiet and beautiful-her squirrel-like eyes always looked at you very intensely and seemed to be questioning if we could be trusted?

Fast forward to the second weekend in December: Dr Francesco examined her and felt big lumps, he could tell she was in discomfort, just as we imagined. X rays were taken and it was with misty eyes I could see, she had big tumors and skeletal cancer. Her time had come to cross the Rainbow Bridge. Even if that is what our hospice is about —to give them a wonderful time before they start to suffer —it is always painful to make the decision and to say goodbye.

You need to be a certain kind of person to be able to do this type of work — to be there when it is time, and make the tough call. But at the same time we are happy that she didn´t have to die under a car on a cold day, suffering. Or, at a dogcatcher’s shelter in a cage on cold concrete floor with a lot of desperate barking around her. Instead, two of her old friends were holding her paw when the eternal sleep was put in. Very calm and no pain, her former street friends were waiting happily for her arrival across the Rainbow Bridge, where the grass is green and lush, and no dogcatchers or concentration-camp/shelters exist. Because That´s Amore.

She will be missed by many, and those who loved and took care of her.



Outside the CONAD food store in Lago Patria there have been two strays living. They had been living there for many years and some of the local people couldn’t even remember when they had first arrived. Many times when I went there to do some food shopping, I would buy an extra pate of wet food for them. I know I was not the only one. They were kind of chubby.

Two years ago one of them had a wound on his ear, a veterinarian and I stopped and wanted to medicate. Out came the store manager asking what we were trying to do. The veterinarian, who thankfully spoke Italian, explained who we were. The man looked at us and nodded his head, we could medicate. The people were looking out for “their” strays.

Many people were kind towards the animals, feeding them and keeping an eye on them. Some international people just can’t seem to stand seeing what they feel is an abandoned dog, one who is not laying on a dog bed.
The difference was, these dogs were born free, lived free and didn’t understand what a dog bed was!

The male got better, and his partner an older female that I called “Momma dog” stayed around the parking lot. This last year people started getting worried about Momma dog, she was old and winter became so cold for her. But what to do with a dog who didn’t want you to touch her or bring her somewhere, she only wanted to live and die outside her store:
CONAD. That’s why we often don’t like to watch documentaries about animals in the wild, where Mother Nature let them die or become eaten when weak.

Working with the Italian volunteers was wonderful. They were my eyes and updated me about the strays who lived around us. One morning last week, a message from Martina came to my phone. She was very upset and told me that ASL (Governmental veterinarian/dogcatcher) had caught “Mamma dog”
and brought her in. Someone had called and said she had a tumor on her leg (which she had).

I became upset since I knew they would never put her back where she belonged, where her friends were, two legged and four legged. I could only image how afraid she must have been. She was a very shy, laid-back dog, never went up to strangers, stayed a little removed. You actually didn’t see her even if she stood in front of you.

Locked in a cage in a truck, brought to a noisy place with other dogs howling, shots and then woke up in another cage with more noise. They would afterwards drive her to the Governmental Shelter in Giuliano — the well known death shelter — where we had filmed and many volunteers broke down crying.

I texted back asking Martina to call and ask after the dog, “Could we take her?”

Martina knew this dog, she knew the people who fed her. She would try but it would be difficult.

Sometimes, your love can harm and destroy. “Momma Dog” had a small tumor on her leg, and for that, her freedom would be gone. Her last months would be on a wet concrete floor, never go out and where a water hose stuck in through the bars, and cold water rinsing away her poo and pee. A water bowl with green algae bottom, and the noise from 300 dogs never quieting, always horrifying. She would die alone with strangers and not the one who loved her, who she had spent her life with.

Some dogs with long freedom and friends, should end their life’s there, if not suffering. How would you want to die? In a mental instuition tied to a bed among strangers and their constant screams?

Martina texted me back. We could come and pick her up the next day as long as we changed bandages and gave medicine. After Easter we had to show her to the ASL again. The next day Pio drove fast and picked poor “Mamma Dog” up who was clearly terrified. Lovely, but terrified. She didn’t look at you, it was like “if I don’t see you, you won’t see me!”

We brought her up on the second floor at the Hospice, where the big balcony was set up for her, with blankets as beds and plenty of food.

When she met Martina she became very happy and her tail went off wagging rapidly, she saw someone she recognized, a friend. The next day when I came she was happy and sweet, like she understood this was a good place. For several days now I have changed bandages and injected anti-biotics. Tomorrow Pio is taking her back to ASL so they can check that we have done a good job.

Please keep your paws crossed for “Momma Dog,” alias Friend (Amica), that she can return to us again. We have a plan B for her, an Amore plan B.