Happy First Birthday Luca

For those who know me, you’ll know that I love being a fur mama. Animals have always meant so much to me, starting with my childhood dogs Fidgette and Kayla, then with my own fur babies Renly and Daenerys back in Los Angeles, then with my step-pup Argos here in Hong Kong, and now my latest fur baby – Luca. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know all about the newest little man in my life. My latest addition hasn’t appeared on The A List yet, so I felt his debut should be celebratory and what better date to introduce him to the blog than his first birthday!

Today, October 12, is Luca’s birthday. One year ago on this date, four little Italian Greyhound babies were born here in a cozy home in Hong Kong. Neither of us knew the other existed yet and we wouldn’t know that for a few more months, when on one fateful day in January 2021 I found myself headed to a doctor’s appointment and then came home with a new fur baby. To celebrate Luca’s birthday, which happens to coincide with a typhoon keeping us indoors, we baked him pup-cakes and dressed him up for his special day.

In early January 2021, my beau and I were on the MTR en route to a doctor’s appointment when suddenly my beau turned to me and said, “Hey do you want to go meet some puppies today?” He then showed me a photo on his phone of the sweet little ones, and I immediately felt my heart strings pull. For several months prior to that moment, my beau had been encouraging me to consider adopting a little fur baby. There were many reasons for it, one of them being having my own therapy dog, and he wasn’t the only one encouraging me about it. I wasn’t ready during all those months of persuasion, and it wasn’t until I met little Luca that I knew it was time.

I’ve wanted a dog of my own for a while now, even though I knew my cats would hate the idea. For years I had always envisioned a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel named Dash, but just like when I adopted my cats, I knew the right fur baby would enter my life at the right time. So when my beau received a message from a friend of a photo of little Italian Greyhounds needing a home, even he felt this was fate. The friend knew someone whose Italian Greyhound had recently had puppies at home, and since they weren’t far from where we were headed that day, we decided to go see them.

As soon as we approached the front door, we saw three little Italian Greyhound puppies and their mama silently but excitedly bouncing up and down. Their happiness was contagious as I suddenly couldn’t stop smiling or cooing. All four of them were dressed in adorable sweatshirts since it was cold outside (and Italian Greyhounds don’t have thick fur or skin). They all followed us into the living room, continuously bouncing with glee, where suddenly I was attacked with love and kisses by two puppies as soon as I sat down on the floor. When I was finally came up for some air, heartily laughing away as the silly puppies flopped all over me, I looked down and saw one puppy in a blue sweatshirt simply sitting there beside me waiting for its turn to say hello. Their eyes were so loving, expressive, and sweet, and I immediately knew. I felt this ping in my heart. Our eyes made contact and were locked on one another for some time, and that was the moment. In that moment, this puppy and I connected. I looked over at my beau and I could barely get the words out. “Him” was all I managed to say. I reached out for him and he hopped right into my arms. We felt destined for one another right away. But since this was a big decision, I needed the night to think about it. My beau and I got in a taxi to head home to have dinner with his parents, and of course all we could talk about was the puppies.

The next thing I knew, we were already discussing names. For some reason, I kept suggesting the name “Henry”, which my beau seriously disliked. He then asked what was the name of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s dog, and I said “Lupo.” My beau then suggested “Lupo”, and I said “Does he look like a wolf to you though? Or does he even look like a Lupo?” My beau then said, “You’re right, he doesn’t.” I looked out the window and then suddenly it hit me. “Wait if not Lu-po, what about Lu-ca?” My beau’s eyes widened in agreement. “It’s Italian for Luke, and I like to name my fur babies after favorite characters so why can’t he be named after Luke Skywalker?” I asked. My beau then added, “Plus, you can’t beat a name like Luca Campanella! It’s very Italian and very appropriate for an Italian Greyhound.” We said we would keep thinking of names, but from that point on we always referred to the little one we fell in love with as Luca. Later that night, while having dinner, I officially made the decision and decided I was ready to welcome another fur baby into my life. My beau called the family to tell them we’d love to adopt the little boy in the blue sweatshirt. Two days later, on my beau’s birthday, we brought Luca home.

I’ll admit that at first when Luca came home, I had a bit of the “puppy blues.” It was overwhelming having a new fur baby in the house, especially since I didn’t really know what I was doing because I was used to raising cats. But having Luca with me felt meant to be. Over the last 9 months since bringing Luca home, it has felt like he’s been a part of my life for much longer than that. This happy little goofball has certainly been annoying and trying at times, and he quickly proved to us that he is quite the little menace, but he’s wholeheartedly adored and loved not just by me but by everyone who meets him. He smiles (hence his IG name being @lucathesmilingiggy). He talks with me. He pounces like a cat. He is a champion at snuggling. He could eat salmon all day, every day if he could. He’s impressively clever – he barks out the window with a toy in his mouth to muffle the sound so I won’t scold him. Argos loves to cuddle his little brother, and Luca loves to annoy him as much as possible. Having two little princes to dote on and care for during this pandemic has really helped me get through some deep, troubling times I’ve had over the last few months. In fact, Luca’s natural response to my panic attacks or other events regarding my mental disorder is what cemented my decision to have him professionally trained and certified as a psychiatric service dog (he starts his training shortly since he is now 12 months old).

I have visions of Luca getting to meet Renly and Dany one day, although I’m sure Luca and Dany will have an epic fight over who gets to curl up in mommy’s lap (Luca will win… he’ll just sit on Dany because that’s what he does with Argos). Luca spent the first 2 months of his life with cats (the family we adopted him from has two cats), and he even exhibits some cat-like behavior which I find adorable, so I am looking forward to when they can all finally be together. For now, I show him pictures and videos as well as share stories about his brother and sister across the pond until they all get to meet.

To celebrate Luca’s first birthday, my beau baked him special pup-cakes made from wholemeal, honey (for natural sweetness), peanut butter, and carrots (we followed this recipe). For the frosting, I just used Greek yogurt on top (his favorite). Of course, his first birthday wouldn’t be complete without some chic style, so I dressed him in this dress to mark the occasion. I know dogs have no clue about birthdays, but getting to do something fun for one of my fur babies put a little pep in my step especially during this pandemic. Plus, a major typhoon is headed our way, so while we are stuck indoors during severe weather, what could be more fun than celebrating a first birthday? Today is Luca’s day, but I’ll be celebrating this little boy coming into my life every single day until the end of time. I love you, Bugies.

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