The Italian Almanac

german sheperd

The Long Trek Home

A dog named Rocky tugged on the nation's heartstrings after trekking halfway up Italy to find the man he was stolen from three years ago. The German shepherd travelled 700 km in two months on his long trip home.

Ibrahim Fwal, a Syrian national who lives in the Tuscany town of Carrara, said he adopted Rocky from the pound five years ago when he was just a puppy. Fwal said he and the dog were inseparable and partial to long rides on his scooter, which the two took on a summer vacation to Salerno in southern Italy. It was after just such a ride that Rocky was abducted while Fwal and his children were having a splash in the sea.

Rocky presumably found a way to escape his captors and was later taken in by a family from Salerno. But his new owners said he never stopped trying to run away and eventually succeeded last November. Two months later, they were contacted by a man in Pisa some 600 km away who had found their dog heading north along the roadway. The long journey had taken its toll on Rocky who was gaunt, dirty and limping on blistered paws.

His condition prompted a visit to the veterinarian who discovered a tattoo pointing to his original owner. Fwal said that he'd never given up hope his dog would come home one day and rushed to Pisa to recover his long-lost friend. After trekking halfway up the Italian peninsula, Rocky travelled the last 100 km home on the seat of Fwal's scooter.