Although mosaics of ancient Pompeii proclaim the Roman equivalent of "Beware of Dog", I found the current canine residents of the remains of Pompeii to be rather docile creatures who prefer to snooze on the warm ancient paving stones of the archaeological site rather than chase away tourists. So, I was glad to read that the superintendent of the Pompeii has launched an effort to not only care for the dogs, but actively seek "forever" homes for them.
"They sleep under ancient Roman frescoes and walk on priceless mosaic floors, but they are far from living a privileged life. They are the dogs of Pompeii -- sick, starving, dirty and scruffy stray dogs who wander through the ruins of the volcano stricken Roman town.
[Image: A canine resident of Pompeii still waits patiently for someone to take them home. Photo by Mary Harrsch.]
The poor animals have been living in the ancient Roman town for decades, marking the territory by urinating on the ancient walls, and relying on compassionate tourists for food and water.
"Stray dogs have given Pompeii a bad image, but things are going to change. From now on, dogs will have their own identity and dignity and will be taken care of," Pompeii's emergency commissioner Marcello Fiori said at a press conference on Monday. - More: Discovery News