The Dogs that Run Venice

Drifting through the winding streets of Venice, Italy, slowing down and getting lost, you see domesticated dogs running off-leash. With no cars or other vehicles in the city, the animals run free through the streets, canals, alleys and bridges. Dogs have a long, honored history in Venice...

Venice honors Saint Roch and the dog that saved his life by bringing him bread and licking his wounds. Statues and artwork depicting Saint Roch and the dog can be found throughout Venice.

At the Guggenheim Museum there, Peggy Guggenheim is buried beside her 14 dogs. Visit the blog Dog Art Today to read more about Peggy Guggenheim and her love of dogs.

The liberated, off-leash Venetian dogs are surprisingly friendly and nonchalant. Observing their calm natures, I wondered about our comparatively frenetic, leashed dogs in New York city and how we relate to and live with them. The absence of cars and other vehicles in Venice makes it possible for animals to run free. But the cool, civilized personalities of the dogs also seem to be a reflection of their laid-back owners. Maybe we can learn from the serene dogs that run Venice and their human counterparts.

Images: Rachael Grad