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Italian dogs beat the heat with a wet Roman holiday

August 25, 2009 |  1:57 pm

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Many consider Europe as the center of Quality of Life: big extended families, long summer vacations, generous lunch breaks, even midday naps. But in Rome, dogs generally are not allowed in most recreational areas and beaches, which can be a real canine bummer during a sweltering summer.

Thus, Villa Bau was born -- a 4-acre water park for dogs.

Dogpool7 For 15 euros (about $21) plus 4 euros per session, the four-legged set can frolic in an Olympic-length pool or get their heart rates up before grabbing a quick snack with their owners, says the AFP.

The dogs can also cool off in a shower or have a workout on a special course before enjoying a "six-legged cocktail" with their owners.

Nearly 2,000 dogs have enjoyed the getaway since the start of the season in June.

"These are the last days of my vacation, and this park is a great way to spend them. And he's wild about it, along with the other dogs," said Barbara, lying on a deckchair as Aaron, a Hungarian pointer, enjoyed the pool.

"I left him at home with a dog sitter. ... It's impossible to take him on vacation with us," she said.

According to the Italian Assn. for the Defense of Animals and the Environment, hundreds of pets are abandoned by their owners in the summer months. The hope is that as more parks like Villa Bau open, more people will start to bring their pets with them while on vacation.

More pictures of the dogs (and their owners) enjoying their wet summer in Villa Bau after the jump.

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-- Tony Pierce

Photos: Roman canines beat the heat during the dog days of summer. Credit: Tiziana Fabi/ AFP/Getty Images

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