You may be wondering how Raja got in to see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum. The answer is simple - we asked permission.
Once inside the daunting doorway through the walls of the Holy City, we told the guards that we would love to see Michelangelo’s ceiling, but we have Raja with us. We told them he is a certified Therapy Dog who can visit nursing homes and hospitals in the US and that he is tame and gentle. Raja did his part by looking sleepy but therapeutic.
Can you imagine, the guards initially thought that we wanted to check him in the baggage room? They said, “Oh no Signore, we cannot be responsible for keeping him with the coats.” They were relieved when we explained that we didn’t want to check him, but that we wanted to take him in his travel bag. Then the guards had a mini conference and they decided that he could go too, “Yes, OK, you will be responsible, please go ahead. Enjoy yourselves.”
The Vatican Museum consists of magnificent chambers and halls lined with artwork that lead, after an extremely long shuffle, past many mini-shops of licensed Vatican mementos, to the Sistine Chapel. If you want to see the Sistine Chapel, any good art book will show you the images better than being in the actual room, which is dim and crowed. You can't speak and you can't take photos. BUT, it was an awesome privilege to be under a work of art painted, however much it has been restored, by the 16th century genius Michelangelo.
This blog post isn’t really about how to take your dog to see the Sistine Chapel. Honestly, most dogs would lose patience with the long walk to the final chamber. Our theme is that you should never subvert yourself by giving up without trying. Don’t be the one to tell yourself that your dreams are impossible. Give others the chance to hear you and help you. Every day I have been thinking of those kind and smart guards who concluded that mild mannered, non dangerous, art loving Raja could go through the Vatican Museum.
Next blog we’ll tell you about Trastevere, one of Rome’s nicest districts, and begin our tales of Raja’s visit to Calabria in Italy’s agrarian south.