If you’re thinking about adopting a pet in Italy, come over here and let me give you a hug. Adopting my two fluff nuggets is one of the best things I’ve done while living in Florence, and if I can help anyone out who wants to save a little four-pawed freak, I’m all over it. Having an animal as an expat can truly bring you closer to the community–I’ve made friends with all the dogs at the park now and can call them by name (and no I still don’t know their owners names and I don’t even care.)
Here is everything you need to know about adopting a pet in Italy.
Where do I look for available pets for adoption?
This is a great question, and is best served by your friendly neighborhood Google. I adopted Zola from an advertisement in Firenze Vivastreet, which I found by googling “cani in addozione firenze”. There are literally hundreds of websites with all kinds of dogs (or cats or birds or turtles or whatever you’re into) just waiting to be adopted. Here are a few:
- Firenze Vivastreet
- Unione Amici del Cane e Gatto-ONLUS
- OIPA-Organizzazione Internazionale Protezione Animali
With Olive, I adopted her after befriending my local ENPA on Facebook, where I promptly fell in love with her puppy photos posted on their page. ENPA is short for “Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali” and they have them in every major Italian city.
For more information on ENPA Firenze and animals up for adoption, click here.
What is the adoption process like?
The adoption process in Italy is very thorough, just like dealing with any other bureacratic office there are applications to be filled out, questions to be answered and nooks/crannies to be examined. Here’s what you can expect:
- A phone interview–obviously you will have to call or text message in order to express interest in adopting a particular animal, and whoever answers you will most likely ask you a bunch of questions (in Italian) about why you want to adopt.
- A modulo or adoption form to be filled out-if you pass the first interview and don’t seem like a total psycho, the person who listed the animal for adoption will send you via email a “modulo“, which is basically a questionnare asking you basic things like how often you’re home, if you have experience with animals, etc etc. You will need to complete the form and send it back to the person who gave it to you.
- Another phone call–this time, if you’ve passed the test of actually filling out the modulo, the adoption agency (or person) will call you to set up a home visit. This is basically an inspection of the areas in which the animal will be living, and usually lasts about 10-15 minutes.
- Home visit–A volunteer will usually conduct the home visit and ask a few questions. Honestly, I was terrified for my first visit so I scrubbed the house like a maniac but they don’t really care if it’s clean, all they want to know is that the animal will be safe inside your four walls.
- Possible second interview–depending on your visit, you may be asked to attend a second interview. When the volunteer came to interview me about Zola, she asked me who would be having the most contact with the dog besides me. Obviously that would be my boyfriend, so they had to set up a second interview to talk to him.
- Yet another phone call–At this point, you should be getting used to talking to these people a lot. If they decide that you are a fit pet parent, they will phone you to see when you can come pick up your furry friend. This is when you get to start jumping up and down for joy and panicking, your new fluffball is coming home!!
Where should I go to stock up on pet supplies?
If you haven’t read my article on the 5 Best Pet Shops in Florence, I’d highly recommend it. My personal favorites are listed here, as well as numerous other suggestions from people who live here and buy food and toys on a regular basis. My personal favorites are the shop in Sant’Ambrogio (although it can be a bit pricey, it’s very conveniently located in the center).
Also, there is a pretty good market going on with Amazon.it. If you have a Prime membership, you can get almost anything you could possible imagine and it reliably ships to Florence (gasp, shocker I know!).
Got questions about adopting pets in Italy? Drop me a line in the comments below and I’d be happy to help answer your questions!