In 2015 towards the end of a very hot Italian summer in the Casalatico region, a couple from England were having lunch in a café overlooking the baking hot town square. Their talk over lamb chops and wine was of the holiday they were just starting and of how the dogs back home would settling in with their sitters.
It was while they were wondering about their dogs back home that Kara and Adrian noticed a very nervous and heavily pregnant bitch skulking in the shadows of cars, trying to get out of the relentless heat and watching them. She was not watching anyone else and did not appear to be with anyone. She looked hungry but laden, with a belly full of pups and milk that could burst at any time.
Kara and Adrian tried to entice her with a piece of meat from their plates. Still very nervous but wanting to eat, she wasn’t happy when Adrian tried to tempt her but seemed happier when Kara did. She quite obviously did not like men regardless of how gentle and kind they act and sound. On this first day she was very tentative and did not take any food from them. Only when it was placed some distance from the table did she take the offerings. That was on the first day.
A few days later, she had worked out that Adrian and Kara were actually trying to help her. She eventually gained enough confidence to approach them wherever they were sitting and be fed by hand by Kara. She had also worked out their routine. Mid to late mornings there would be coffee and croissants at a café. Then later there would be lunch and even later, dinner. No matter where they were, she would turn up looking expectantly for the next handout. Croissants, lamb, chicken and calamari; she soon became used to fine dining. Probably not the best diet for any dog but when you are desperate anything will do. Whatever the dish of the day was she was there to sample it.
Near the end of the two week holiday she felt safe enough with Kara to allow her to stroke her. This moment of close contact revealed several wounds to her ears from scraps with other strays and a huge tick burrowed into her left eyebrow.
It was during this first moment of physical contact, the ultimate display of trust between any two living beings, that Kara decided to name her; "Cassie." After all they were in the Casalatico region of Italy so it seemed highly appropriate.
As far as Kara could work it out, Cassie was living in a field at the edge of the village without very much protection from the elements let alone be a safe haven to have her pups.
Kara and Adrian had to leave the village at three thirty in the morning to be able to start their journey home. They had cleared out their fridge of left overs. Possibly not the best of combinations for a dog but it was food that really would not do any harm. They also bought a tin of dog food. They drove to the edge of Cassie’s field in the dark. Kara whispered her name into the night half expecting her not to appear. Time was pressing on and they had to leave soon if they were to make it to the airport on time Then out of the darkness Cassie waddled to Kara as fast as she could and ate her breakfast.
Emotional "Goodbyes" were said. Hugs were exchanged during which Cassie heard Kara make two promises…