Patti Soldavini

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Spank The Human

In weimaraners on 03/29/2011 at 6:11 pm

"I don't know WHAT you're talking about."

Have you ever been spanked by your dog? With a stick? I have. I swear, I don’t make this stuff up. I may exaggerate a little, but it all stems from a truth. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, Olive has a love affair with sticks. The dog must have a stick in her mouth while walking. Kind of like a cigarette smoker who cannot drive without sucking on a cigarette. Orally fixated, kinetically expressed.

Olive is not intimidated by the size of the stick. I’ve seen her pick up a fairly large-sized limb from a tree and try dragging it behind her. I usually have to perform an emergency amputation of the branch that is already in her mouth and we walk away with that and she seems satisfied. Until she sees the next desirable stick. I have yet to figure out why she finds certain sticks attractive and others do not merit even a second sideways glance. Thank God telephone poles are “vertically planted sticks.”

Yesterday though, she spanked me. With a stick. Repeatedly.

During our daily walk, Olive picks up a stick about the size of a drum majorette’s baton. Slightly shorter in length, but the circumference looked about right. Not a wimpy stick. A handsome one too if it could be said that a stick is handsome. The Brad Pitt of sticks.

She’s walking on my right, slightly behind me and she begins gnawing on the far right end of the stick. This places the bulk of the stick strategically behind…my behind. As she chomps down on the stick with all the vigor of Paul Bunyon, the left end of the stick bats my ass. This act repeats itself about a half dozen times and picks up a distinct rhythm, sounding like one of the songs from Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album. With each chomp, I can sense Olive becoming frustrated that my ass is preventing her from fully enjoying her stick gnawing experience. CHOMP. SWAT. CHOMP. SWAT. CHOMP. SWAT. CHOMP. SWAT. CHOMP. SWAT. CHOMP. SWAT.

It creates the distinct impression to passersby that my dog is spanking me.


Two-Headed Leash

In weimaraners on 03/27/2011 at 6:06 pm

"NICE move with the leash today."

When Olive and I are at the dog park, I always remove her Frankenprong so it doesn’t accidently flip to the prong side and spear another dog’s eyeball like an olive on a toothpick. Then, I drape it (still attached to her three-foot leather leash) around my neck, looping the collar through the handle of the leash. This way, the Frankenprong doesn’t get impossibly twisted up and require the skills of a transmission specialist to untangle. Truly, when a prong collar gets tangled, it resembles a bicycle chain that someone’s thrown into a blender operating at supersonic speed. It would be easier to untangle 40 psychotic slinkys. When we get ready to leave and it’s time to get the Frankenprong back on Olive, it’s no easy task. Still in a state of delirious stimulation watching the rest of her friends frolic on the playground, Olive tries to sit still, but it’s like asking a mouse to sit still in front of a giant block of stinky cheese. Impossible. So, with my ski-gloved hands, I fumble for much too long trying to secure the Frankenprong around Olive’s neck while the leash is still wrapped around my neck. It’s like attempting to perform brain surgery while wearing boxing gloves. FINALLY, I get it clasped (or pronged). Only to realize that as Olive starts to take off like a bottle rocket, the leash is now wrapped around my neck like a noose. I kid you not. I was now secure on one end of the leash headfirst, just like Olive was at the other end. Since the leash is only 36-inches long, I realized the predicament I was in rather instantly. I grabbed the leash on Olive’s end and the German Shepherd’s owner helped hold Olive as I unpronged her to get my head out of the noose. I am pretty certain that Olive and her stupid human trick amused everyone at the dog park today.

Little Red Corvette

In weimaraners on 03/27/2011 at 12:08 pm

"CORVETTE? I see myself more as a Lamborghini."

I realized this morning, for the first time, that Olive is my little red corvette. Not because she zips around like one necessarily (although that’s true), and not because of her gorgeous “styling” (although that’s true too) but because she’s the dog I always wanted and for some reason never thought I’d own. I endured all the well-meaning recommendations from friends and strangers to get a rescue dog, and all the well-meaning warnings from a vast pool of legitimate sources about how challenging Weimaraners are to own before chucking them all aside and saying “SCREW IT, I WANT A WEIMARANER.” I’m so glad I always listen to the little voice inside me. It has served me well in life. In fact, I am admittedly a known “info-maniac,” researching a topic deeply partly because I am naturally inquisitive, partly because I love to learn and partly because it informs my decisions in ways that allow me to make choices in life instinctually, intuitively and confidently. Maybe I am part dog. (I should only be so lucky.) As I watched Olive, the elusive rocket race around the dog park this morning followed by a pack of four-legged pooches, each one as unique as the crayons in the familiar orange and green Crayola carton, I marveled at the joy she seems to feel in doing this. It is palpable. At the same time, I melted with the besotted realization that “MY GOD, SHE’S ACTUALLY MINE.” Yes, Weimaraners may not be the easiest breed to live with, but then I’m not the easiest person to live with either. It’s all about context and perspective. On the other hand, I feel like Olive is a sort of intellectual peer and she challenges me. You look into Olive’s beautiful amber eyes ringed with a narrow field of blue and you can see the wheels spinning inside her head. I’m surprised smoke isn’t coming out of her ears because she looks like she’s mentally calculating trigonometry. She is taking everything in, evaluating it and assigning merit or lack thereof. Olive is also exceptionally loyal and loving. I think it’s an awesome combination. And besides, I could never live with a stupid dog. It would be both boring and embarrassing.

Girly Dog

In Uncategorized on 03/22/2011 at 9:01 pm

"Does my ass look BIG?!!"

“DOES MY ASS LOOK BIG?” said Olive, as she turned around to get a good look at it herself. This from the pooch that stares longingly at herself in the mirror every day. Last week she mini-puked once or twice. Once in the backyard. Once in the back of the car. Hopefully this is not a sign of Bulimia. She barely touches her breakfast so I don’t think she’s a binge eater. But wait, she does eat her dinner down to the linoleum floor. DOES that make her a binge eater?

Olive does seem a bit preoccupied with her image. Sometimes I catch her licking her giant Jayne Mansfield-like chest which compels me to verbalize “OLIVE. KEEP DOING THAT AND I’M GOING TO CALL YOU ‘TIT LICKER.’” She lifts her head, stops licking momentarily and looks at me like “YOU’RE KIDDING, RIGHT?” “KEEP LICKING AND YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A BALD SPOT ON YOUR CHEST,” I reply. “THINK ABOUT THAT, BALDY.”

She holds my gaze for a few seconds before she cranes her neck backwards and starts licking her ass. This is Olive’s way of getting the last word. It works.

The Typhoonigator

In Uncategorized on 03/22/2011 at 8:58 pm

"Oh no, it's THE TYPHOONIGATOR!!!"

That’s code for the blow dryer. One of two of Olive’s most hated appliances. The other of course, being the vacuum. She’s actually not too bad if she’s allowed to observe these monsters with their endless tails from a distance. Like from the planet Pluto. She seems to feel safe as long as she’s loose in the house when I use either. She’s like a cop tailing a suspected perp. She stays just far enough away to not blow her cover, but continues tracking like an animated GPS. I imagine that her intermittent barking, more an indication of her displeasure, is like a GPS that screams at you while driving. “TURN LEFT YOU F’ING IDIOT. RECALCULATING. TURN RIGHT YOU F’ING MORON. RECALCULATING. NOW WE HAVE TO TAKE THE LONG WAY YOU TOOL. RECALCULATING. WHY NOT TRY FLYING INSTEAD PINHEAD?”

Crating her during these activities I learned, is not a good idea. I’m guessing she feels threatened because she’s essentially trapped. She barks so much that dog foam and spittle coats the bars on her crate like vinyl. And that stuff, just like its counterpart which I call dog “nose paste,” and which you’ll find smeared across all the nose-level windows in the car and the house, is like glue. Really, the back window of my car looks like Monet dipped his brush in Olive’s spittle before applying it to a huge glass canvas. Christ, you need a 10,000 PSI pressure washer to strip that goo off. There’s probably enough DNA in there to clone Olive. Oh, now there’s an idea. Two Olives. Olive and Oyl.

Field of Dog Dreams

In Uncategorized on 03/21/2011 at 9:55 pm

"E=MC Squared. Mere child's play."

I wonder what went through the tick-sized brain of the low flying hawk that encountered Olive and me last week on one of our walks. As it approached us in cascading circles, gliding through the bright blue sky, Olive, ever the alert pooch, promptly reared up on her hind legs like a mustang that had just been goosed, and GROWLED (not barked) at the hawk. Olive’s reaction was notable for both its sustained growl and the length of time she was bi-pedal. In a strange way it was like watching the evolution of man fast-forward through time-lapse photography. The hunched over ape begins to walk upright as a man. Except of course, it were really evolution, the ape would turn into a woman, right Olive?

I suspect that Olive was getting ready to do battle with the hawk; making herself appear more threatening and possibly slightly crackers. It must frustrate her immensely that she cannot fly. I mean when you think about it, isn’t being a bird dog sort of a cruel twist of fate? It’s like pitting Aquaman against Superman. One swims, the other flies. Any bird dumb enough to get caught by a dog deserves to be removed from the gene pool.

What does run through a dog’s mind? Is it driven just by biological sensation? BIRD. HUNGRY. EAT. What about when Olive is just sitting on the lawn like a silent sentry observing the world around her through all her senses? WET. RAIN. DEPRESSED. Or, DEER SCAT. BLACK PEARLS. NECKLACE. Maybe we don’t give dogs enough credit. Maybe like someone suffering from schizophrenia or an autistic child, they simply interact with the world with their own logic, converse in their own language. Maybe dogs do have complex thoughts and we’re the ones who haven’t figured it out yet. When you think about it, while humans use their brain to figure out stuff like the theory of relativity, dogs use their nose to sniff out cancer cells. So, who’s really smarter?

Red Carpet Glare

In weimaraners on 03/16/2011 at 9:17 pm

"It DOES hurt to be beautiful."

When I saw this photo I took of Olive, it immediately reminded me of a starlet caught in the glare of paparazzi flashbulbs popping while she stopped to pose on the ruby red carpet at a movie premiere. If she were posing in the ring at the Westminster Kennel Club show, the carpet would be grass green. And when she’s posing in the living room at home, the carpet is chocolate brown.

Monster Weimaraner

In Uncategorized on 03/16/2011 at 8:46 pm

"Holy CRAP. Is that ME?"

Have you ever seen a 20-foot tall Weimaraner? Olive and I have. Last night in our backyard. Actually, our sideyard. The elusive beast materialized when I shone the flashlight on Olive and it created a 2-story tall silhouette against the side of the clay-colored house. I immediately think, “If Olive had pants on, she’d about crap in them right now. At least we’re in the yard.” This shadow was so imposing it looked like Godzilla.  Especially since there are giant electrical towers snaking through this beautiful farmland serving as a backdrop. Olive takes note of the shadow immediately. Her head snaps around like a socket wrench to get a better look. To my surprise, instead of fleeing faster than a Wal-Mart shoplifter, she defies expectations and crouches down in the “play bow” position. With her rump pointing to a passing satellite, her tiny tail looks like an antenna pulling down transmission signals. This dog is such an enigma. She runs away from noises as soft as parakeet farts, but she wants to engage a 20-foot shadow that looks suspiciously like another Weimaraner. Maybe she thought she was bowing to the Grand Duchy of Weimar. I wonder what she’d do if I shined the flashlight on a passing cat? What a cool little outdoor movie that would make. Giant dog and cat shadows projected against the house under a moonlit sky.


In weimaraners on 03/14/2011 at 8:12 pm

"I smell CARDBOARD!"

Corner Chewer

In weimaraners on 03/14/2011 at 8:09 pm

Yes, I’m talking about you Olive. I am about to blow your little secret wide open. My beloved pooch has a corner fetish. (Olive is hiding behind the chair right now, blushing.) She is a Herculean “Corner Chewer.” She puts backhoes to shame. She finds anything that comes to a right angle—a point—impossibly irresistible.

What do I mean by corners? I’m talking the beveled glass desktop in my office. The microfiber-upholstered arm of the couch. ANY cardboard box, whether it housed tampax or a refrigerator. ESPECIALLY if it came from Dog toys made of particleboard. The seat of the copper-colored wicker kitchen chairs. Any object that comes to a sharp, unfriendly, threatening, point, you name it. Olive seems to live by the code of “IF IT STICKS OUT IT MUST BE GROUND DOWN.” Isn’t this an old Chinese proverb? Wow. Olive may actually be smarter than me.

I give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she’s trying to make the world a safer place and envisions a world full of circles, dots and holistic, friendly, non-threatening curved lines. (Or maybe I’ve just accidently swallowed an LSD tab.) Maybe she feels she’s being threatened by these seemingly inanimate protusions and must demonstrate a Mike Tyson-like show of force to achieve dominance. Better she uses her canine teeth (Isn’t the word “canine” a bit redundant when discussing a dog’s oral anatomy?) to tear corners off things instead of ears off people.

More likely, she is just sharpening the rows of chiclet-white blades inside her mouth. Although I get the feeling that Olive will still be teething when she is 102 human years old. But the most practical explanation is that she’s just bored. “REALLY? WELL SO AM I. I’VE BEEN STUCK INSIDE THE HOUSE ALL WINTER TOO BUT YOU DON’T SEE ME PROJECTING ALL MY PENT-UP ENERGY INTO MY TEETH, DO YOU?” This dog is plowing through bully sticks like a buzzsaw or a wood chipper. I should invest in the bull penis market because I spend at least $100/month feeding Olive’s bully stick habit. The irony of all this is that she has much better teeth than I do.

Talk to The Back of The Head

In weimaraners on 03/14/2011 at 2:03 pm

"Don't bother me, I'm watching TV."

Dance of The Ears

In Uncategorized on 03/13/2011 at 11:01 pm

Tonight, Olive is glued to the TV watching Marmaduke on HBO. I think the only thing she finds more interesting than dogs on TV is talking dogs on TV. She is more than engaged in what she’s watching. She is enraptured. Lying on the floor, eyes dilated like flying saucers, Olive is taking in the love story unfolding between the Great Dane and the Collie. Let’s hope there’s no humping scenes.

When the action starts to amp up or the dogs approach the screen as if they are going to jump right through it, Olive races to the TV as if she’s been shot out of a cannon, her nose mere millimeters away from the glistening six-inch nose on screen. She proceeds to bark until her head falls off. When she settles down, she sits about two feet away from the screen…WATCHING. Seated on the couch behind her, I watch her cock her head from left to right mentally processing the images racing toward her. Her ears seem to respond to what her brain is processing, twitching in ways that suggest a natural intellectual choreography. I like to call this Olive phenomenon, “Dance of The Ears.”

I go upstairs for a glass of water and when I reach the dining room I peer over the edge through the oak railing balusters. There’s Olive lying in a sphinx position on the floor, still watching the TV. It’s Olive, but the behavior is so familiar, that what I see is a three-year old child in her pajamas watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. Maybe Underdog. Or Ren and Stimpy. Definitely not Top Cat or Courageous Cat. Nothing else exists in this moment except the fascinating world unspooling before her on the TV screen. The only way it could be any more real is if she were holding a bowl of cereal in her paws.

All is well until the movie cuts to a commercial. And the doorbell rings. On TV. Lately there seems to be a lot of commercials that include ringing doorbells. I want to kill these advertisers. Olive goes batshit and runs to the front door. She will not stop barking until I open the door and show her that there’s nothing there. “IT’S JUST THE DOORBELL GHOST,” I say. “GO BACK TO WATCHING TV. LOOK! YOU JUST MISSED A HANDSOME GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER! HE LOOKS LIKE HE SMELLS GOOD TOO.” Olive looks at me quizzically, her head cocked to the side, with one ear flipped back. She looks at me as if I am a pot roast that has just materialized out of thin air.


In weimaraners on 03/10/2011 at 8:55 pm

"Is that a DINGO?"

Adonis Genes

In weimaraners on 03/10/2011 at 8:52 pm

Guess what? I went for something called a hike on Saturday! At a neat park in the middle of the woods. It was so nice and stinky. Here a stink, there a stink, everywhere a stink, stink. So many great stinks I almost passed out from olfactory overload. Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell’s poodle once urinated by a tree in this park? I also uncovered a petrified hairball coughed up by King Tut’s filthy hairless cat. And you won’t believe this, but did you know that bears actually do shit in the woods? Geez, the TV is loud right now. Why isn’t Animal Planet on? How come there are no dogs on American Idol? I want to see the Pedigree commercial again! Deep into the woods, we run into the strangest looking Collie I’ve ever seen. It looks like he’s wearing a Dingo’s coat. Or the coat of an Australian Cattle Dog. Or maybe its just an old lady in some rotting carcass of a raccoon coat. Anyway, the Dingo’s human looks straight at me and says, “Is that a show dog?” YES! WINNER! WINNING! I HAVE ADONIS GENES AND TIGER BLOOD! Oh look, some deer scat. I think I’m hungry. Is this what having the munchies is like? Sigh. Sometimes being a Weimaraner can be such a burden. I always have to look beautiful. Thank God I don’t have to wear lipstick. Or bras. I think I have six nipples. Did I just hear a bird? I guess they’re defrosting. What is ADHD?


In weimaraners on 03/07/2011 at 5:49 pm

"Look into my eyes. You are getting sleepy."

Greased Piglet

In weimaraners on 03/07/2011 at 5:47 pm

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to render routine personal care to an 11-month old Weimaraner by yourself? Once again, I had to wrestle Olive to the ground pinning her like a State Wrestling Champion just to squeeze two lousy drops of medicine into her left eye because she has conjunctivitis. The treatment started out fine. I guess the first time she didn’t know what was coming so she stared at me doe-eyed like Bambi which allowed me to perform this minor medical procedure with ease. The second time, she tolerated it. The third time, she gave me the paw. Ever since then, I have to chase her around the house like I’m chasing a greased piglet. I catch her and she starts squirming like she’s boneless, eventually escaping my grip with Houdini-like flair. For every drop that manages to land in her eye, three run down her muzzle. Thank God the 7-10 day course of treatment is almost over. I’ve tried being calm and soothing when I first approach her but she’s not stupid. She knows what’s coming. And she’d simply… rather not, thank you. I guess it just takes practice. I finally figured out how to clean her ears without as much fuss. The secret? Soak the cotton ball in witch hazel and put it into her ear further than you wanted your finger to go and do it with confidence. Hesitate for a nanosecond, and Olive will know she’s being violated by an amateur. Then, it’s over. (And if you have a Weim, don’t let them see the bottle of witch hazel because they can read. Where did THAT name come from anyway?) I just wish I could remove her nails, clip them and then insert them back into her paws. This would be much easier. Thank God she doesn’t have hemorrhoids.

Not Singing in The Rain

In weimaraners on 03/06/2011 at 6:56 pm

"It's not RAINING, is it?"

Little Miss Brown Nose

In Uncategorized on 03/06/2011 at 6:54 pm

Olive hates the rain. She hates it so much that she won’t even stay out long enough to go potty. She runs around, shaking herself off every few minutes. When she shakes, her entire body ripples with energy. It picks up velocity as it rockets from her head to her tail, finally spraying thousands of droplets behind her like a machine gun. Just as it looks like she is considering the possibility of dropping her dinner, she runs toward me to seek shelter under my Pantone Palace Blue umbrella. “GO POTTY,” I say a bit too loudly and impatiently. She runs off, shakes, runs some more and then heads straight back to the umbrella. This happens a few more times before I realize that she must not have to go that badly. Either that or she’s willing to defer her urge until it stops raining. I think that mostly she doesn’t like the sensation of the raindrops hitting her. Maybe she thinks the sky is falling. (Although in a way, it is.) She acts like she’s being pummeled by tiny cluster bombs being dropped by the Red Baron (who happened to be German, like Olive, so that makes no sense).

And yet, this is the same pooch who in the Summer frolicked in her wading pool bobbing for her ball and nylabone like a 5 year-old bobbing for apples at her first Halloween party. I tossed the ball into the pool. She ran circles around it like a billiards hustler eyeballing his next shot. The first few times she used her paw to drag the ball to the side until it was close enough to grab with her mouth. That was easy. The nylabone was a different story. It didn’t float. With her graceful but thumbless paw she tried dragging it across the pool and up the side. It was like watching a three-fingered blind man trying to pick up jello. However, she did succeed in getting it out this way. But you could tell by the displeasure on her face along with a symphony of associated little grunts and snorts that this was VERY inefficient. Way too much work and disgustingly inelegant.

As an intellectual challenge to my little canine brainiac, I fill the pool just a little more. Then I toss the bone back in. Olive stares at it deeply, immediately understanding the scope of the challenge. It is submerged in about 4 inches of water now. It might as well be the Titantic lying at the bottom of the ocean. I can see the wheels in her brain spinning. “HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GET THIS?” But what you don’t see is the end of this thought… “WITHOUT SUBMERGING MY LITTLE BROWN NOSE UNDER THE WATER!” I intrinsically understood that this was the LAST thing she wanted to have to do. ANYTHING not to have to submerge her nose underwater. She ponders the dilemma for about 15 seconds and then literally “tests the water.” She’s trying to determine just how far a plunge is required. She steps back out, staring at the nylabone. Then in one carefully calculated move, she jumps back in plunges fully half her snout under the water like she’s drilling for oil, snatches the nylabone, jumps out of the pool and races around the yard like she’s just won the Indy 500. Mostly, I think she’s thrilled that she got the bone and didn’t drown.

Bus Stop

In weimaraners on 03/03/2011 at 8:21 am

"HURRY, I'm going to be late for the bus!"

Animal Crackers

In weimaraners on 03/03/2011 at 8:17 am

I’ve decided that every time the school bus stops in front of our house, Olive goes loony because to her it looks like a box of animal crackers. “LOOK AT ALL THOSE CUTE PINK AND BROWN LITTLE CANDIES INSIDE THAT YELLOW BOX.” She jams her head through the cranberry red fabric blinds and barks as though she’s just discovered the bones of a Pterodactyl in the front yard. ‘LOOK! LOOK! LOOK AT THE GIANT BIRD BONES!” I haven’t looked closely yet, but I’m sure there’s dog spittle all over the blinds.

She eyeballs the parade of children marching into the big yellow box one by one until the last one, no doubt a passive-aggressive adult-in-training, gets swallowed up into the mouth of the metallic carton. Olive’s head pivots repeatedly as she tracks the coordinates of each little jujube. I can see her mentally counting them like a flight attendant confirming passengers before takeoff. “PIG PEN… AIR BISCUIT… BOOGER… PRINCESS… PROSTITOT… FRECKLES…”

This scenario replays itself later in the afternoon when the big yellow carton pulls up in front of our window to empty itself. Olive mounts the love seat as though she is waiting to greet Moses on Mt. Sinai and between “code red” barks begins re-counting… “PIG PEN… AIR BISCUIT… BOOGER… PRINCESS… PROSTITOT… WAIT A MINUTE. I DON’T SEE THE FAT FRECKLED KID. WHERE IS HE?”

Olive’s bark is much worse than her bite. It’s loud and hearty and full-bodied. It has “cojones.” It declares in no uncertain terms, “DO NOT SCREW WITH ME. I WILL TEAR YOU LIMB FROM LIMB IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE. TRY ME.” It is comforting. I know whenever Fed X or UPS has arrived before they even pull into the driveway. I know when my neighbors are outside or pulling into or out of their driveways. I know when a jogger or cyclist passes by. I know when the trash is picked up and when the mail arrives. All without even looking out the window.  Anyone approaching the property lines gets the weimaraner inquisition.

Of course, if they ever came inside the house, that would be a different story. My 10-month old trusting pooch would greet them as if she were coming face to face with Santa Claus for the first time.

Dog Tired

In weimaraners on 03/01/2011 at 9:23 pm

"YES, I was sleeping. I ran 25 miles today."

Dog Parkology

In Uncategorized on 03/01/2011 at 8:59 pm

Each weekend, I make it a point to take Olive to one of the local dog parks. We have our choice of a few. The smaller park in the wealthier zip code, the larger park in the less desirable zip code or the one so far North in New Jersey, it might as well be at the North Pole. The smaller park is nice because there’s never more than five or six dogs there at a time. The downside is the dirt walkway into the park that sits on a 45-degree incline uphill. Oh, and the turds that line the walkway like bread crumbs in a demented fairy tale. When I see this, I think, “Christ, I wonder what the owner’s homes look like. Maybe they crap in their kitchen.” The larger park sits on top of a mountain and it feels completely wide open like you’re in the wilds of what I imagine Montana or North Dakota might feel like. The disadvantages of this park are 1) it attracts a rough trade, both canine and human, 2) go after 11am and you walk into a mob scene of about 30 dogs and their people, making it feel like a canine version of the old Marlon Brando flick, “On The Waterfont,” and 3) when the snow melts, half the park becomes a frightening petri dish of squirming parasites burrowing through the mud. Olive cares about none of this. She greets all dogs, large, small, attractive, homely, young, old, unemployed, and neurotic with the same gregarious optimism. Tail at full mast, frantically waving back and forth, while she explores the other dog’s biology, physiology, chemistry, psychology, nutritional profile and personal hygiene all with a few tentative sniffs. In dog time, one quick greeting is equivalent to three months of dating. Very efficient. I wonder what goes through Olive’s mind during this ritual and whether dogs are as judgmental of their own species as humans are of theirs. “MY GOD. THE TERRIER SMELLS LIKE A SWEATY JOCKSTRAP. HE ALSO PICKS HIS NOSE WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING. AND HE IS A SUBMISSIVE URINATOR. WHAT A TURN OFF.” Laugh, but if there’s another weimaraner at the park, Olive picks out her doppleganger immediately as if she were picking a long lost relative out of a police line-up. Clearly, she recognizes her own breed. (Probably from staring at herself in the mirror so much) She is however, without prejudice. She will run at lightning fast speed from any other dog silly enough to chase her. The combination of her speed, grace and stamina never fails to call attention to her. I can actually see Olive’s head ballooning as she hears the “oohs” and “ahs” of the crowd as she races by them once, twice, again and again and again…Finally, she zooms past me like a five year-old pleading “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!” She actually sprayed me with mud around lap #10. As my boots squish in the filthy pudding beneath my feet, sinking deeper and deeper into the earth, I notice one of the other dogs starting to get a bit testy, and I say to Olive, “C’mon, let’s get out of here before you need to be vaccinated for syphilis.”

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