Patti Soldavini

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.

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