Walking with your dog along the way of St Francis of Assisi Italy

Walking with your dog along the St Francis' Way

The Saint from Assisi had special affection for animals, encouraging you to walk in the company of your dog

On your journey: the well-being of your dog

Taking such a long itinerary with your dog requires some small preliminary steps to ensure that you and your furry friend will have a "good walk". 
A great deal of useful advice can be found on the web and we are bringing you the suggestions written in collaboration with the “Amico Peloso” Association in Perugia, which has been engaged in safeguarding the well-being of animals for years.  

Before setting off

  • make sure that your dog has had all the necessary vaccinations and the necessary prevention against fleas and ticks. Bring a copy of his medical booklet with you
  • make sure your furry friend has a dog tag with his name on it 
  • make sure your dog is in good health and "train" him before leaving: a dog accustomed to living in a flat and only walking from home to the park every day could suffer on a long, continuous walk in changeable conditions 
  • moderate the legs of the journey based on your dog's possibilities; it will depend on his level of training, size, outside temperatures, etc.
  • Ensure that you have put a water bowl and a food bowl in your backpack. Remember to bring a muzzle, even a nylon one, which is mandatory by law
  • ask your trusted vet for advice on which small first aid kit is best for your four-legged friend

Along the way

  • The first thing to be careful about is hydration: always take a bottle of water with you just for your dog (at least  1/2 a litre): in the hotter months, he must always have sufficient water available 
  • avoid walking during the hottest months and times of day: always keep your dog cool, to avoid heatstroke, taking advantage of the drinking fountains and streams for refreshing his body and his paws 
  • a lot of walking, especially on the tarmac, can cause problems for your dog in the long run: your vet can suggest specific products to use for hardening the pads under his paws. Many people find bandages and socks useful 
  • along the Way there are residential areas, where you can stock up on food and, if you have any doubts, you can go to a vet so that your furry friend can have a check-up 
  • before setting off, a light snack is sufficient, so that your dog will not feel too full: the main meal should be provided upon arrival. Try to maintain his normal feeding habits 
  • always keep him on a lead! If you see that there are no risks, you can let your dog off the lead, but make sure that he is used to coming back to you when you call him: the woods are full of fragrances and smells and he could go too far when following an interesting trail 
  • in some points along the route, large dogs belonging to shepherds have been noticed: they have the task of protecting the flocks of sheep, so all you need to do is walk slowly and keep a distance, with your dog always on the lead.

Sleeping with your dog

Like on the St James' Way, also on the St Francis' Way, at least for now, it is unlikely that the "poor" hospitality facilities will accept dogs in the dormitories.  You will probably be asked to leave them tied up, outside to sleep. 
Before setting off, therefore, it is best to ensure that your dog is used to being outside alone, otherwise he might bark all night, creating uneasiness for his owner and for the other pilgrims. 
It is always worthwhile asking if they accept animals: nevertheless, remember to phone a few days before. 
Many of those who walk along the trails with their dogs travel with ultralight tents, asking the accommodation facilities for a space in which to pitch it.  
Thanks to the sensitivity and commitment of some consortia and accommodation facilities, numerous specialized facilities for pilgrims that accept animals have been identified.  
To find out more, go to the www.umbriatourism.it

Simple rules before booking

  • With regard to acceptance of dogs at the accommodation facility, always check in advance with the owner (additional costs, requirement for a deposit, limitations regarding the size of the dog, the possibility of leaving dogs alone in the room, possibility for dogs to enter the restaurant, etc…)
  • carefully evaluate the possibility of insuring your dog for any damage he may incur while at the hotel 
  • try to respect the rhythms and times that your dog is accustomed to at home even while travelling: finding himself in a different place every evening is a fairly significant change for him
  • if your dog has a blanket, a cushion or toys he is used to, you might want to bring them with you: they will help him familiarize with the new surroundings 
  • become an “ambassador” for all those travelling with their four-legged friends;  Your behaviour will give you the opportunity to convince other people of the beauty of sharing the world and the itineraries with our animal friends 
  • help us to spread the culture of extending accommodation and respect to animals.

Equipped spaces in Assisi

Thanks to the collaboration of the Sacro Convento and the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (Italian National Trust), an area equipped for accommodating dogs has been active since March 2014. It is located on the side of the Upper Basilica of St Francis, at the entrance of the Wood managed by the FAI. 
By showing your credential and leaving an ID document, your four-legged friend can enjoy a comfortable dog's bed for 90 minutes, in the shade of centuries-old trees in the "forest" of St Francis.  In this way, pilgrims can say their prayers calmly at the tomb of the Poor Man of Assisi.
Walking with the dog care along the way of Saint Francis of Assisi
Pilgrimage with the dog advice St Francis' Way Assisi Umbria Italy
Sleeping with your dog along Saint Francis' Way Assisi Umbria Italy
Dog care on pilgrimage along St Francis’ Way of Assisi Ombrie Italy. The Cat

There are different forms of hospitality available to those who are walking

  • cammino di francesco unione europea
  • cammino di francesco repubblica italiana
  • cammino di francesco regione umbria
  • la via di francesco cammini europa
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