Ziti The Italian Bolognese Turns 3

Three years ago Ziti arrived in new Jersey and we celebrated this momentous event with two parties! Ziti is lucky to have some aged neighbors, two female dachshunds, one a mini and one a Tweenie, living right next door. We cut a opening into our mutual fence and now he gets to play with his little friends almost everyday, and sometimes several times a day. They enjoy running after each other in my large backyard and barking at all the dogs walking around the lake that is next to our property. In the summer, they all ride together in a small raft in  our pool. But Peanut is the only expert swimmer, Ziti doesn’t care for jumping into the pool.

This year, Ziti’s first party included a special biscuit cake with Peanut and Lily, which was devoured in no time (mostly by the decidedly unladylike girls from next door). However, once or twice a week, usually when I am in my art studio, Ziti goes to ‘Dogtopia’ a doggy daycare. He goes for the 4 hour afternoon playtime and spends it in the ‘Teenies’ room, often  with his favorite friends, Ozma and Maverick. Dogtopia is a friendly place with very youthful caretakers who do silly things with the dogs, which they all seem to love, like blowing bubbles at them, having the pups do paw print paintings, having prom night and dances and festivities and photos for every holiday. They always post on Instagram and many times, Ziti is featured. Ziti especially loves ‘Teenie Tuesdays’, when the Teenies take over the big dog room. They love to run up the higher platforms (‘I’m the King of the World,’) and there are more ‘hydrants’ to use. Once, we were told, the high spirited  Ziti led the Teenies (through a gate left  inadvertently open) into the Big Dog area and went on a wild spree through the room, knocking over the water cooler and some other platforms! It created such a mess that every Teenie and some big guys had to get baths! When we drive into Dogtopia’s parking lot, Ziti gets so excited, we have to hold him back from jumping our of the car! He loves it there. For his birthday, Ziti hosted everyone with birthday biscuits of every size, from the littlest to the biggest! And he was featured in Instagram again.

Its been an exciting year for Ziti. Although he no longer competes in the American Rare Breed Assn contests (he already won virtually every category as a Junior) Ziti traveled with us for a two week vacation to New Orleans, Memphis, Graceland and Nashville. He was welcome everywhere. New Orleans is extremely welcoming to dogs and many restaurants make custom meals for pups. Some, like upscale  Gris Gris, do not even charge. Ziti was treated like royalty in the Vampire Cafe and they made him a special gothic meal. Next we went through Mississippi where he was also received with southern hospitality  and every rest stop has an enclosed dog exercise/walk areas as large as a big American backyard.

In Memphis, Ziti rode in a Handsome cab. He did not like the Horse and was very afraid. We weren’t sure why, as the Mules in New Orleans sit very well with him. He was equally unimpressed with the march of the famous Peabody ducks! IDK!

But going to Graceland with Ziti was an absolute joy. We stayed in the Graceland Park, right on the grounds. Priscilla Presley is often still seen there and she adores dogs so they are in a very comfortable environment. Elvis himself was a huge dog lover and was known to adopt every dog in shelters he passed and keep them on his farm until he found the right home for each with his many musicians. Priscilla’s good friend Shirley, who is one of the managers at Graceland, was so enamored with Ziti that she personally carried him through a few of the museums. Dogs are allowed in every museum except for the actual house that Elvis lived in.  There is good reason for this, because, although at the time Elvis bought the home it was the largest in Memphis, by today’s American standards it is very small. And the house has been preserved exactly as it was the day that Elvis left us, meaning there are plates and breakables everywhere, lots of shiny honorary police badges, stuffed animals, and in the jungle room where Elvis watched tv, his handgun is still on the table.  (There are three tv’s on the wall and apparently, Elvis like to watch other singers but if he felt they were not singing in a heartfelt way, he would shoot out the screen – Allegedly Robert Goulet was a favorite target, lol).  But dogs are welcome in each of the seven other museums so they can accompany their humans to see the outfits, the cars and all the gold and platinum records etc.  And every night at nine , the hotel gives out free peanut butter and banana sandwiches on white bread (Elvis’s favourite) and dogs are included and served too.

From Graceland we went up to Nashville and Ziti was welcomed in all the honky tonks and enjoyed listening to country music at Johnny Cash’s Bar & Barbeque. There are many  stores that welcome dogs too and they are all friendly. On the last day in Nashville, we toured the Grand Ole Opry grounds (we went to the show without him as dogs are not allowed during musical performances) which has an Octoberfest themed restaurant and Ziti got a green Tyrolian hat, which looks adorable on him.

But as usual, when it comes to travel, Ziti’s favorite stop is the pet bathroom at the airport and Nashville, recently renovated, did not disappoint.

Our travels ended just as the holidays hit and before you know it, Ziti was three! I can hardly believe it myself. The little pup that looked like a stuffed animal is now the perfect traveler, restaurant diner and perfect companion in every way. He spends his days playing with friends, perched on the couch looking out the big picture window , where occasionally he will spot a deer,  and often he sees many cardinals and other birds to amuse him.  He hates squirrels and I am sometimes concerned he may catch one! He takes his constitutional walk around the small lake next to our house every morning, followed by a breakfast of turkey, sometimes flavor  enhanced by a small amount of his favorite bologna or liverwurst. He loves Gobble Gobbles for treats and  (all natural) Turkey Tendons.  In the evening, he usually enjoys a dinner of a small hamburger with some Taste of the Wild for nutrients/vitamins, or chicken.  He barks at his groomer, who says “he’s very handsome and he knows it”. But the whole family is very honored one of his photos was included in the Bolognese UK calendar. He has an endearing  jaunty walk, acts like he is THE BOSS, which, let’s face it, he is!  But he is always happy and smiles all the time.  Every morning, he runs up the ramp to my bed and wakes me up with kisses and cuddles. I could never ask for a better friend and companion.

Victoria Miragliotta

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

I live in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex with 2 Bolognese and I show one of my dogs.