18 Mar

The Guardian of Salita Sant’Antonio

I’m going to miss Guardia.

Earlier in the week I learned that she had died. She lived a long life and was well known around the streets of Loreto Aprutino.

In recent years she recovered from being struck by a car and later from a bronchial infection. Rest and antibiotics helped her overcome these unfortunate events but finally old age caught up.

Her name was perfect.

The noun guardia translates into guard, sentry, guardian and in the case of cane da guardia it is guard dog or watch dog.

When I think of guard dogs or watch dogs I think of vicious angry dogs, chained and barking that leave you in no doubt that their primary purpose is to put fear into your bones and ensure you keep well clear.

Guardia was not that type of guard dog. She was gentle, calm, quiet – much more of a watcher or a protector – a true guardian.

She was usually stationary, basking in the sun near the church of Sant’Antonio or curled up somewhere along Martiri Pennesi.

Although she was a street dog she was well looked after. In theory she belonged to nobody but in reality she was part of one particular family. So much so that when our neighbour would walk to the market to buy her shopping Guardia followed no more than ten paces behind. It was as if there was an invisible cord tying them together.

An unbreakable bond.

The only time I ever heard Guardia bark was when she was suffering from a bronchial infection. It wasn’t really a bark, more a cough that she made while trying to clear her throat. But after treatment she was soon back to to her silent ways.

She was a bit more ponderous after she recovered from being hit by the car. Slower certainly, but in truth she was never that quick to begin with. Running around chasing short lived distractions wasn’t part of Guardia’s character.

I’ve taken many photographs around Loreto Aprutino and in a few images you can see Guardia doing what she appeared to do best – looking on as the events of the day rolled by.

I’m going to miss Guardia.

a little bit about 

Noel is an IT Consultant, software development Project Manager, photographer, writer, and English teacher. These days he swaps his time between Abruzzo, Italy and Dublin, Ireland.

You can see more of Noel's photographs on
Noel McCarthy Photography

Many of these images are available to buy on 500px Art at