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The 19 and 23 February is the 11th Birthdays of Eleonora (Nora) and Fantastico Nicky (Nicky) born in Capena, Italy in 2009 at the Casa degli Orsi owned by Tiziana Tola and her husband the celebrated veterinarian Professor Dottore Massimo Buzzanca.

Both are known in Italian as Bassotto Tedescho (German Bassett hound) or Dachshunds. All of their dogs have won numerous trophies and honours in Italy and in Europe. They usually have only one or two litters per year. We came upon their farm on the recommendation of friends who lived near them in the countryside. A very beautiful place with lots of mature trees and a big pond with giant Koi fish.


We had a contest on the internet to name them and settled on Nick and Nora from the film series Nick (William Powell) and Nora Charles (Myrna Loy). Nick and Nora Charles are fictional characters created by Dashiell Hammett in his novel The Thin Man. The characters were later adapted for film in a series of films between 1934 and 1947; for radio from 1941 to 1950; for television from 1957 through 1959; as a Broadway musical in 1991; and as a stage play in 2009.

We first saw them in late February, still very small with their mother and other siblings. We returned to pick them up some 7 weeks later. The road back to Rome to our home on Via dei Villini was only eventful in the fact that Nora looked afraid but quiet and Nick was whimpering all the way. They were sitting in the back with Will.

In Rome they were used to their walks in the centre of the City around our home, a quiet leafy area. Nora loved to put her head under the Nassone which is a drinking fountain with continuous flow of water coming from the mountains around the city. The water is very cold and she loved it. Then in July 2011 they flew to Canada with us as our time living in Rome ended with regret. Arrivederci Roma!

Nicky and Nora are always with us, if we travel we have a babysitter to look after them at home.  Tiziana Tola and many friends including our Vet in Rome, Giorgio Porcino told us be careful because they can be controlling, always pushing the limits to see who is in charge. Nora thinks she is in charge and can be very demanding and at the same time plays coquette. Nicky on the other hand is a cry baby, it was funny when he was a puppy but not at 11 he is an old dog but hey it works and he knows it. We are certainly at their service.


That day at the Farm Casa degli Orsi when they came with us to Rome. Nora (L) Nick (R). By law the owners have to have microchips for each dog upon purchase and they are also registered with the Italian Government for identity purposes.


Nick enjoying the sun in our Roman living room, to this day he enjoys sleeping in full sunlight.


Nora learning to type at 3 months. She is good at sending E-cards to people.


A three tier birthday cake with marzipan. Since birth and being with us we have spoiled them with pieces of celery and carrots, pieces of gouda and cheddar cheese and in the morning sometimes Will will give them a small piece of his bagel with cream cheese. Nora loves Espresso but we do not give it to her, she still tries to but her big nose in the cup.

They also get regular check ups at the UPEI Vet College. The Vets know them quite well to a point where if we call the clinic, the staff know their names by heart. Our old vet from the time we had our first two dachshunds Bundnie and Reesie said to us that when he died he wanted to come back as our dog because we took such good care of them.


Nick (L) and Nora (R)