Smitten by a Girl named Tiramisu

This is a re-post of a story I wrote late last summer. I dusted it off a bit and added a short music-video at the end to enter it all in the My Pet Rocks giveaway and to share it with other pet lovers showcasing their favorite “paws” with Atieno of District Home Buzz back in Washington, D.C.

If you agree that this is a heart-warming story, then just hit the LIKE button at the bottom or go to the DC Home Buzz Facebook page and do the same.  While I’m at it, why don’t you go ahead and enter a mugshot of your favorite, four-legged friend, too. Grazie mille!


I know this starts out on a sad note, but trust me, I have to go there first to get you to the very, very happy ending.

Tiramisu at home with StephWhen Maria-Maddalena, the love of my life for almost 39 years and the mother of my two daughters, passed away just about two years ago this February here in Italy, I was, to put it mildly, devastated. My youngest, Stephanie, like her big sis, Allison, was just as down, if not more so. Collectively, we were awash in grief and sadness, and immediately felt the immeasurable void that Maria’s departure had left behind. What we all really needed was a magical pick-me-up.

After the funeral and a short stay, Stephanie returned home, broken hearted and spent, to an empty apartment in Washington, D.C., but she knew exactly what she had to do if she was going to weather the storm that always follows when a loved one passes. More so when that loved one is your mother.

Misu & Stephanie in Asolo, Italy | ©Tom Palladio ImagesShe immediately went to the local Humane Society, looked around at all those ready for adoption and spotted the cutest, but frightened little female dog you’ve ever seen, cowering at the far corner of her cage. In that moment, that defining moment, Stephanie knew she was taking her home.

My daughter understood straight away that she needed someone, someone loyal by her side 24/7 to lift her spirits. As miracles sometime do happen, Stephanie found that someone at the pound in little Tiramisu (Misu, for short). Yes, it’s the name of the popular and delicious Italian dessert tiramisu, which means “pick me up,” but it’s also the name of the sweetest, tail-wagging, fun-loving Maltese-Shih Tzu hybrid mix (Mal-Shi).

On the rocks - San Felice Circeo (LZ), Italy | ©Maurizio RicciAfter waiting a week while the Humane Society prepped Tiramisu – spayed and GPS chip insertion – Stephanie paid the fees and brought her home. They’ve been inseparable ever since. Well, almost.

Stephanie, along with Tiramisu, was back home here in Italy for most of last summer, splitting her time between me up in Vicenza and big sis down in Rome. And, when Stephanie was southward bound guess who got to dog sit? Yep, you guessed it. Me. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, I’m not, but I managed to keep Tiramisu fed, brushed, exercised and, from the looks of her tail waggling, pretty happy, too.

Couch potato | ©Tom Palladio ImagesIt took a while for Tiramisu to get used to the “stranger” tasked with occupying her day; but, as time passed, she and I — with apologies to Stephanie — became BFFs, too. With few exceptions, wherever I went, she tagged along — just like my shadow, only more expressive.

She loved to play ball, go on daily walks around the city and through all the parks, sit within staring distance of the dinner table pleading with her Ewok-like eyes for a handout, and kept me company lying under the chair while I wordsmithed a blog idea on the keyboard above. And, when it was bedtime, she scampered upstairs ahead of me, found her spot at the foot of the bed and fell fast asleep.

Misu awaits a "hand out" | ©Tom Palladio ImagesUnfortunately, time doesn’t stand still like in the movies, it continues to march forward unimpeded and waits for no one. I know this to be certain as my time spent with Tiramisu was short-lived.

Stephanie returned to the District late last August, and with her went my summer “roomie.” It was a sad day, indeed, when we put our hands/paws in the air at the Venice Airport and waved our final Arrivederci! to each other. I just hope that every once in a while, while she’s chasing after her beloved tennis ball up and down the staircase back in the District, she pauses for a moment, looks around and fondly recalls our doing the same together out on my terrace in Vicenza.

Misu with her beloved tennis ball | ©Tom Palladio Images

I still meander along the cobblestone to somewhere with my camera and notepad for stories, but it’s just not the same like last summer. Then, I had sweet little Tiramisu as my inspiration, down near my footsteps.

If you happened to have come across us, she was the one sniffing and I was the one smitten.

©The Palladian Traveler

 ©Tom Palladio Images

TPT Borsalino on Venetian | ©Tom Palladio Images