I'm in Rome, in the middle of a heat wave apparently. I feel like a vampire each time I step from the cover of shade into light, burning up under the glare of the Roman sun. I feel sorry for the few dogs I see out, all panting miserably, feet burning up from the black stone roads. One woman had her sheepdog mix just inside a department store. It was lying on the cooler marble floor, but still panting barely able to raise its head. She was petting it and explaining to the security guard that her dog was too hot and had to come inside for a bit. I think he understood and let them be.
There's a historical site - well, pretty much everything and everywhere in Rome is a historical site - called Torre Argentina, where ancient columns and sections of wall still stand. It's an odd bit of land because it's a block in the middle of the city which looks like an archeological dig.
I think it used to be a fairly major temple or something a couple of thousand years ago. Now it's a place where abandoned cats are given sanctuary and it's the center of Rome's largest spay/neuter/release program. It's run by a group of very dedicated women - they are somewhat disparagingly called "gattare" by the locals - who are presently fighting to keep the shelter open under threat of eviction by some city official who doesn't want them squatting there. I'm not going to go into too much more detail because I'm still on vacation but if you're interested, here's their website: www.romancats.com.
Here are some of the cats in residence in the underground, air conditioned room cobbled out of a cavity in the exterior wall from the archeological excavation. Many of the cats look like they've lived a rough life, and a couple are soon coming to their end when they will be euthanized - but not while they can still purr and eat: