Deep, drifting snow stopped the bus on which Bricklayer Carlo Soriano usually rode home from work in Borgo San Lorenzo. As Carlo braced himself for a long trudge homeward to the tiny Apennine village of Luco on that chill evening about 17 years ago, there was at least one individual in worse straits than he—a small mongrel dog marooned on a ledge beneath a bridge crossing the icy torrent of Le Cale. Crossing the bridge, Carlo heard the dog's whimpering, and clambered down to save it. From that moment on, Carlo and...

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