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Kennel's Story
Arno, Brando, Camilla, Gastone, Ginevra, Tabitha

Brando...much more than a dog
by Manuela Alterini
It was the 1998 when my life changed dramatically. Following a car accident in fact, I found myself in a wheelchair. In that flying down towards the scarp, I didn’t loose my legs only, but part of my life; it was a nightmare, made up by despair, pain and humiliations. But thanks to the presence of lovely people that gave me much support, I can still say- I am here alive! Woman in career, always lively, sporty, healthy, all the time busy, I had to face a very different and at the same time shocking reality.  
My first 3 years in that situation have been pure hell: due to various complications, I spent, with incredible sufferings,  most of the time in bed. I undergone may surgical operations, devastating physical and pharmacological therapies, and always prevailed the same desire to quit with everything and above all… with my life.
When suddenly Brando arrives: one day, while I was spending a rehabilitation period near Bologna , I read over an article about a  Golden Retrievers breeding just close to Ferrara . I have always liked dogs, but I never had that kind of life that allows to keep one, since I was always moving around!!! I knew this breed characteristics but so far I hadn’t truly seen one. Hence, I managed to go to this breeding run by two people in love for this breed: I was welcomed by 12 Goldens in desire to play with me and that sweetly jumped on me and licked me: suddenly, for a moment, I felt quiet!
After a long chat with Meri, the breeding owner, I was introduced to 11 wonderful puppies. All of them were already assigned…except for one: Meri putted him on my arms and that little puppy…looked at my face and falled asleep into my armpit. It was me that chose him or vice versa?
Due to the consequences of the accident I couldn’t go back to live in the house I used to live: too many barriers and my parents were too far, so, for a while,  I wandered in friends houses that were accessible for my conditions. At that point the issue was that I couldn’t propose to my friends to give hospitality not only to me, but also to a puppy that had already found the way to my heart.
But when friends are real, they are real deeply….after a week I came back to Ferrara to pick up Brando, 6 kg of goldy hairs and sweetness. From that moment we never splitted each other, his bed was under my wheelchair; trips, hotels, physical therapies centres etc, always and everywhere with me. Thanks to him, after long time, instead of the usual grimace due to the physical pain and to my condition,  the smile came back.
Nowadays he is 3 years and 2 months old and he is already father of 7 puppies: I live in a big house in the countryside nearby Florence , a nice garden, a wood for his excursions and 5 cats.  I live with two people that moved from their house, just to stay with me and give me full support.
And what about Brando? He still sleeps with me in his bed nearby mine, he is my shade, but, since I cannot do it,  of course he doesn’t dislike those friends that bring him to have a walk in the river, to the lake or running. With sweetness and determination, he gives me protection when he feels that it is necessary. My house is always crowded with friends, family, children…and he is all the time so sweet with everyone (even if I am and remain his gaggle chief and he deeply shows that when he feels it is necessary to).  Furthermore,  since we decided to keep one of his female puppies, he is not alone anymore when we go  working (after 3 1/2 years I am back to my previous activity). Her name is Asia and she is 10 months old… she is very pretty and funny as well.  
I think it is clear how Brando’s presence has been and still is fundamental in this distressful experience of life; obviously all the people that are around me are essential, but nothing is so special as the mutual understanding there is between us.  It is as if since the beginning, he has always told me: - I give you my unconditioned devotion and my love but do not make light of this, do not joke with me, don’t leave me alone, don’t go away! I like to think as such, it is thanks to his presence also that I started to convince myself that I have to cohabit and keep going with my tragic reality.
And when someone says: “but he is only a dog…” I smile…because they do not understand anything, the do not have any idea of what “that dog” can give in terms of love. But luckily I do know it and I have a demonstration of that every single day: it is enough to look at him and to wait for his good morning “lick”. Thanks to him, every day seems better and easier.