“I had asked for the paid allowance, honestly explaining what I needed it for — namely to care for my sick dog,” Anna told the Turin newspaper La Stampa. “I later realized that they had counted those days as a holiday, and I got angry as a matter of principle.”

An animal advocacy group, Lega Anti Vivisezione, helped Anna make her case to her employer and, the group said in a statement, the university eventually agreed to grant two days of paid leave. “The lady lives alone, and had no alternatives to transport and assist the dog,” the group said.

Lega Anti Vivisezione argued that owners who fail to take proper care of a pet could find themselves vulnerable to legal action, because it would amount to the mistreatment or abandonment of the animal, a crime under Italian law.