Patti Soldavini

The Other Reindeer

In Uncategorized on 01/14/2011 at 7:27 pm

When I was first thinking about getting a dog, I was also thinking about what I’d name her. Olive’s predecessor, my surrogate pooch, was named Idgy. What a great name. Even William Wegman whom I met at a book signing in Frenchtown, New Jersey thought so. He signed (prophetically apparently) his book “Chip Wants a Dog,” and he sketched a simple doodle of Idgy and me. When he said “What a great name,” I actually sensed that for a split second, he considered the name for one of his future dogs.

Anyway, after considering many names, I short-listed Luna, Zoe, and Shortbread. I loved Shortbread, but it was just too long. I tried yelling it out loud as though I were calling her and quickly decided I sounded like an idiot. “SHORT BREAD! SHORT B-R-E-A-D. COME HERE SHORT BREAD!” It met the two-syllables criteria, but not without using most of the letters in the alphabet.

Then a friend of mine said “What about Olive?” Not only did it just feel right before I even met Olive, but I loved the idea because it reminded me of one of my favorite “nouveau” children’s books, “Olive The Other Reindeer.” It was also serendipitous that the pooch in the story looked like the late Idgy. So, Olive’s name is also a nod to Idgy, a dog I came to love wholeheartedly for 14 years. It was perfect. Now everyone who hears Olive’s name thinks it’s just perfect for her. They have no idea that her middle name is “Pimento.” This was suggested to me by another friend. It made me laugh. So, that’s how Olive Pimento Soldavini got her name. Ironic, given that I am an Italian who will not let a green, black or purple olive come within 15 feet of my mouth. My poor cousin’s wife always has to make my salad “sans olives,” because I won’t even pick that scat out of my dish.

Now that I know Olive, would I have named her anything else? Not a chance. But…I would have considered the following names: Rocket, Tornado, or Goofy. In fact, one day I called her Goofy when we were walking past the local middle school and I overheard an 8 year old boy say to another in an incredulous tone, “Is that dog’s name GOOFY?” No, but it could have been.

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