Nina: The journey from a roadside reject to a young couple’s treasure.
This dog is called Nina.
Her story is just one of the many sad tales that unwanted animals experience around the world. And like most of these discarded creatures, Nina faced her impending destiny, kept strong, and won the fairy tale life that she deserves.
I came across Nina during the summer of 2017 in Italy, when I met her owners during a casual afternoon out. What seemed to be just any beloved pet turned out to be a heart-warming story of survival.
Nina belonged to a family living in the Northern part of Italy. This family decided to take their vacation during August in 2015, and regarded their dog as being a burden. The quickest way to overcome this ‘obstacle’ to their planned holidays was to abandon their dog by the side of the highway. At least, these people had the common sense to throw over a three metre fence, so at least she could not run into the middle of the road and become a victim of oncoming traffic.
After some time, Nina found herself on the terrain of Latte di Brescia, a big factory in the north of Italy known for producing milk products. She settled under a tree, where she made a new home and kept a safe distance away from humans. The scars from being abandoned had already left an imprint with this gentle dog.
Two factory workers used to take care of Nina, supplying her with food and water over a period of two months. Despite this kindness, Nina was still very shy and kept her distance from them.
Over time, Nina came into contact with a young man who she perceived to be different to other people. His special relationship with dogs seemed to spark her curiosity. So one day, she made a big decision – to get closer to a human for the first time in a long time.
The following day, she accepted food out of his hand, which he gave her next to his car on his way home. On the third day, Nina made a crucial choice. As this young man was leaving, she plucked up all her courage and jumped into this car, ready to go with him wherever he decided to go.
What Nina did not know at the time was that her future was going to be a very bright one. This young man’s wife was a passionate dog-lover as well, who owned a beautiful vineyard in Franciacorta and was still grieved over the loss of her beloved dog. The second she laid her eyes on Nina, it was love at first sight. From that moment on, Nina conquered each and every heart, as well as every square metre of the vineyard.
Unfortunately, not all animals that have experienced the same hardship as Nina survive. It is still very difficult to educate people and children what it really means to take over the responsibility for an animal and to take care till the end of their life.