Patti Soldavini

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page


In weimaraners on 05/30/2011 at 7:21 pm

"You can kiss me now."

On our walk yesterday, it was so hot that I was afraid that one of us would spontaneously combust. If it were Olive, I had only a tiny plastic turd-sized bag with me. If it were me, I knew for sure that Olive had no bag at all with her. So, to prevent such a dogtastrophe, Olive and I stopped where we usually do when we’re seeking some respite from the blazing sun. On the Centenary College campus, there’s an impressive old tree whose massive grey trunk is surrounded by a spacious hexagonal wooden bench. The bench is canopied by the tree’s remarkable boughs whose thicket of leaves offer substantial shade. I sit on the bench while Olive pokes around nearby. I’ve tried to get her to sit on the bench with me but so far she hasn’t accepted my invitation. She continues to inhale all the scents she uncovers in the desert rose-colored stones that carpet the area under the tree. Occasionally, nature’s allergans overpower her and she starts to “backhale,” sucking air in like a clogged vacuum hose. In a relaxed moment of affection, I pull Olive closer to me and sprinkle her with a bunch of tiny kisses. Just then I hear, “Hi.” I look in the direction of the greeting and see this guy climbing into his car. The first thing that comes to mind is the truth. “You caught me makin’ out with my dog.” He made some comment whose tone sounded friendly and understanding, but I couldn’t hear a thing. Not only was I slightly flustered because I had just been caught in the act of kissing my dog in public, but to make matters worse, this guy was really cute. Olive didn’t give two shits of course. He didn’t have a tail, so she wasn’t all that interested. It only bothers her when I hand out her business cards to people we meet on our walks. How do I know this? Because when I pull one out of my pocket, she promptly tries to eat it.


The Magic Fountain

In weimaraners on 05/30/2011 at 9:27 am


Yesterday, Olive and I went to visit our cousins and she discovered the joys of outdoor tabletop water fountains. Oh yes, this pooch immediately zeroed in on the water running down a jade-colored globe, hugging its contours like Marilyn Monroe’s pantyhose. This deserves much closer inspection, thought Olive. So of course, although there’s a nice clean bowl of “French” water in a white ceramic dish just a foot away, Olive proceeds to stick out her tongue and start lapping water from the fountain’s bust. “OLIVE STOP. THAT’S RECYCLED WATER. I DON’T NEED YOU GETTING GIARDIA AGAIN AND SURELY YOU DON’T WANT THOSE PARASITES PARTYING IN YOUR INTESTINES AGAIN.” This doesn’t work. I have to gently but repeatedly push her away from the “magic waterfall,” which she continues to return to again and again throughout the afternoon. You’d think she was a dying woman crawling on all fours across the Mojave desert, all the while regretting the peanut butter sandwich she just ate. Olive disappears for a few too many minutes and I find her in a narrow strip of grass between the fence and the garage snacking on a rotted tree limb covered in lichens. Hopefully she won’t start growing patches of fungus anywhere. She leaps into the raised flower bed and starts sniffing around. “That’s where the chipmunk lives,” says MaryAnn. “That’s where it USED to live,” I mockingly reply. Olive starts digging furiously through the cedar mulch. You’d think she was a crazed spelunker trying to claw her way to the earth’s core. “HEY DAINTY FEET…. GET OUT OF THE FLOWER BED BEFORE YOU CRUSH THE PANSIES TO DEATH.” She soars through the air and lands on the deck…right next to the magic water fountain. She sticks the landing like gymnast Mary Lou Retton and looks at me quizzically as if to say, “ALRIGHT, I’M HERE. WHAT’S SO IMPORTANT THAT I HAD TO GIVE UP A CHIPMUNK FOR IT?” But really, I know she’s patiently waiting for me to turn my head so she can sneak a drink from the magic fountain. It’s always a battle of wits with this dog.

Weimaraner Plant

In weimaraners on 05/28/2011 at 8:49 pm


Today, I found a weimaraner growing in the garden.


Attack of The Bird Dog

In weimaraners on 05/27/2011 at 8:08 am

"I want my PRIZE."

Well, it was bound to happen some day. My bird dog got a bird. Not quite. Almost. Very very, close. Depending on what your definition of “got” is. Realizing that she was much too quiet all of a sudden, I go outside just in time to see her nosing, mouthing and pawing at a baby Eastern Meadowlark that had apparently tumbled out of its nest underneath the deck. Now, she clearly has it in her mouth but isn’t quite sure what to do next. She is very clear however, that she does NOT want to drop it as I instruct her. “MY PRIZE. MY PRIZE.” she seems to be saying. “OLIVE. DROP IT. DROP IT. DROOOPPPPP ITTTTT,” I yell. The mother bird has been driving Olive nuts for the past few weeks, shooting out from its nest and across Olive’s path whenever I let her out the sliding glass doors. With great difficulty, I drag Olive back into the house. She is half out of her mind. Trying to close the door without letting Olive sneak back out is like trying to restrain a tsunami with a sheet of Kleenex. I make my way over to the baby bird cautiously, not sure how grossed out I’m going to be by what I find. The tiny bird is cowering in the corner trying to hop away as I approach. Even this it seems to find a bit difficult. However, all in all, it seems to be in pretty good shape for a living creature that cracked its way out of an eggshell and ended up inside a dog’s mouth. Its feathers look a little skeevy; I see angry reddish pink patches of flesh on its back. It is unfortunately, probably a bit traumatized, but as I stand there observing it, it does not seem to be seriously injured. I hear chatty twittering behind me and look around to see the baby bird’s sibling, hopping around like a tiny brown pogo stick, testing its wings, sputtering through the air like an old double-winged airplane during barnstorming season. It actually seems to want to check on the welfare of its less fortunate sibling. Meanwhile, Olive has been jumping up and down raking her paws across the sliding glass doors and barking, hopelessly tangling the drapes. I don’t think I’ve heard her bark quite this insistently before. She is pissed. “I DID MY JOB,” she barks over and over. I look up and the mother bird is now back sitting in her nest. “AND WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU WHILE THIS WAS GOING ON? I ask. “One of your children is in this corner and the other is over there,” I point. “And if you had any more, I don’t know where they are.” “AND WHERE THE HELL IS YOUR HUSBAND?” I add, in an equally accusatory huff. I open the door just enough to slink back in without letting Olive get out. She tries to of course, but my body blocks her. Later on, I go back outside to check on the bird. Both Orville and Wilbur are now hopping and sputtering around Olive’s pen, trying to learn how to fly. Both will live. At least one will tell its grandchildren that part of the process of being born is ending up inside the mouth of a big grey dog.



Manta Ray

In weimaraners on 05/23/2011 at 8:16 pm

"Flight 417 cleared for takeoff!"

Is this really me? Is this what I look like from the back? Holy crap. This shot makes me look like a hood ornament doesn’t it? If so, I must be on a Jaguar, right? It also makes me look like a manta ray with fur. It scares me. Gosh, I wonder what my ass looks like from behind? Oh, look, up in the sky. It’s a bird, it’s a plane…yes it’s a red tailed hawk AND a blue tailed hawk. Oh wait a minute, it’s not a blue tailed hawk, it’s a Continental Airlines Boeing 757. I’m hungry. I want a piece of string cheese. Where’s my water? I wonder if there’s any Q-tips in the bathroom waste basket. God, I hope it doesn’t rain again. I love Patti. Why do so many dogs have such long tails? Seems like a waste. Is that a TOAD in the driveway? Do I like sushi? I wonder what’s on TV tonight. I love “Raising Hope.” It’s my new favorite. Did I just launch an air biscuit? Yikes. Time to go out.

Revenge of The Fur

In weimaraners on 05/23/2011 at 7:38 pm

"Here comes the FRONTLINE."

I dread having to apply the Frontline flea and tick “pesticide” to Olive every month for two reasons. 1) I don’t like the idea of using “body pesticides” on my pooch and 2) Did you ever try parting a Weim’s miniscule fur to expose its skin? HA! It’s like trying to part grains of sand to find an amoeba. You’d think it would be easier since you don’t have to pull back drapery-length fur to reveal a fur-line. Nicht so! Olive’s fur must be about a quarter of an inch long at best. I imagine it’s sort of similar to the dilemma radiologists face when giving a mamogram to a sparrow-breasted woman. The only difference is that the woman isn’t squirming like she’s Arnold Schawrzenegger at an upcoming Women’s Conference. “OLIVE. HOLD STILL YOU LITTLE NUT. TRUST ME, YOU DON’T WANT THIS IN YOUR EYE.” I perform the procedure in the 6’x5’ bathroom where I have Olive cornered between the toilet bowl and the tub. My God, this stuff smells like gasoline and it’s probably just as flammable. Thank God I don’t smoke or my dog might go up in flames. This process is compounded by the fact that bats have better eyesight than I do. Inevitably much of it seems to stay on the top of her fur which I then try to work deeper down using the applicator. Predictably, when I’m done, my hands smell like the hands of a 16-year old gas pump jockey. I open the bathroom door and Olive races out as though she just heard the start bell go off at the Meadowlands Racetrack. If I’m lucky, she doesn’t run into the bedroom, dive on the bed, and start rolling around on the comforter like she is trying to put out a fire. If. Every time I hear myself say that word, it reminds me of my late father who used to say, “If is the biggest word in the dictionary.”

Ginger Rogers

In weimaraners on 05/22/2011 at 4:16 pm

"Why get up? It's raining AGAIN!"

Olive is resting on top of the back of the love seat right now. The crank out windows are open, so she is enjoying the cool breeze on this, the seventh consecutive grey day. She alternates between barking at joggers and cyclists that pass by in a kinetic blur and the neighbor pulling into or out of his driveway in his fire engine red truck. Any insects that fly between the inside of the window and the screen torment her. She tries to catch them, stabbing the screen with her snout repeatedly. Ultimately she can no longer restrain her canine instinct and thrusts her front paw at the screen tearing a slight hole in it. The most amusing confrontation so far was watching Olive stand on the couch with her head down by the window’s opening, immobile like a deer trapped in the headlights of an oncoming ambulance. I go over to the window and look out. Within 24-36 inches from Olive’s nose are two robins fighting, mating, doing some sort of semi-aggressive dance. Who knows, maybe it was an old married couple just squabbling about whose turn it was to yank some worms out of the ground. Olive cannot believe that these two fresh delicacies are moments away from touring the inside of her digestive system and yet, they are so far from her, they might as well be picnicking on the face of the moon. I can feel her frustration. And while she doesn’t actually lick her lips, I can sense that mentally, it is exactly what she’s doing. Do you think it’s ironic or tragic that I live in a rural area, across from acres of farmland, and my backyard sounds like an aviary in the Spring? My poor (or lucky, depending on your point of view) weimaraner, is surrounded by a congress of crows, a dule of doves, a flock of geese, a charm of goldfinches, a band of jays, a raft of loons, a parliament of owls, a host of sparrows and a descent of woodpeckers. My initial assumption is that they must all taste alike. But then I think, like fish, they each must have a distinct taste. I’ll never know. Not unless a) Olive actually catches some and b) she learns how to talk. She could have scored one last week as a small robin limped across the lawn, but I said “No fair, Olive. This one’s hurt. You have to get one that’s not handicapped.” “OH AND THAT’S FAIR TO ME, HANDCUFFED TO THIS FLEXI-LEASH? she says. “Yes, Olive, you are Ginger Rogers. You have to do everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels.”

The Schwindler

In weimaraners on 05/19/2011 at 9:43 pm

"I smell an EASY mark."

It occurred to me the other afternoon, when I took Olive out, that if I had to use mental telepathy to let someone know when I had to go out, or that I was hungry or thirsty, I’d probably shoot myself. Really, because on some level, that’s what barking is. It’s just a sound dogs use to tell their humans, “ARE YOU DEAF? I’D LIKE A CROWN RACK OF LAMB FOR DINNER. WITH MINT SAUCE. BY THE WAY, MY EARS ARE DIRTY, AND MY ANAL GLANDS NEED TO BE EXPRESSED.” And all we hear of course is: “WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO.” Which leads me down the following mental path. “YOU POOPED. YOU PEED. YOU ATE AND YOU DRANK. IT MUST MEAN THERE’S A TOY TRAPPED UNDER THE COUCH THAT YOU CAN’T REACH.” “Do you know what I’m going to get you for Christmas Olive?” I say. “Those reach extenders they sell to alter kockers in catalogs like Lillian Vernon and Miles Kimball.” This is all part of Olive’s strategy to divert my attention. She waits until I am on all fours with my head so far under the couch that I feel like a procotologist that’s been sucked up a whale’s behind. It’s very dark. At the moment my head reaches the point of no return, I hear her sprint past me like running legend Steve Prefontaine. By now I know what’s coming. I yank my head out from under the couch but not soon enough. She’s joyfully licking the last spoonful of Haagen Daz Five mint ice cream out of the bowl resting on the faux bronze-topped coffee table. As she watches me approach her, she musters all the coolness of James Bond as she cleanses her palate by sipping my iced tea. I’m always amazed at how delicately she manages this, neither knocking the glass over or walking away dribbling like a toothless toddler. There is nothing clumsy about this dog.

Hot Dog

In weimaraners on 05/17/2011 at 10:01 pm

"Do I LOOK like a HORSE?"

Did you know that weimaraners throw off so much heat that if you rub two of them together you can start a fire? When I first got Olive, I noticed that she was so warm to the touch, she was almost hot. I learned that because weims have so little fur, their skin is much more exposed than most dogs. So what you’re feeling is really just the dog’s normal temperature which is between 101-102.5 degrees. I’ve decided that this makes her feel like a horse to me. There is an advantage to this. She can heat up a room faster than a wood burning stove. In fact, maybe I can reduce my heating bill in the winter by getting a weim for each room. On second thought, that would be way more expensive. Walk out of any closed-door room that Olive is in then walk back in. “GOOD GOD OLIVE. IT’S LIKE A SAUNA IN HERE. AND IT STINKS TOO. OPEN THE WINDOW.” A wall of heat knocks me back on my heels. Olive raises her head from a sleeping position and looks at me like “WHAT NOW? Great, I think. I’ve got a dog that’s so hot I get second degree burns when I pet her and she leaves scorch marks wherever she’s been. ZHPEAJ98RRDH

Circus Dog

In weimaraners on 05/17/2011 at 8:44 pm

"Oh, I have MANY hidden talents."

Last week, while visiting a friend, I learned, purely by accident, that Olive has been hiding at least one of her talents from me. Not only is Olive part beaver (She can whittle a railroad tie down to a toothpick faster than you can say “Pinocchio,”) but apparently she’s also part seal. Standing in my friend’s living room, I notice a baby blue balloon lying still on the floor. A crimped white ribbon is attached to it like an umbilical cord. The balloon is literally running out of gas, part shrunken, part shriveled, woefully in decline. It has no idea what’s about to happen. Sensing an opportunity for a bit of fun, or really always looking for an opportunity to observe the response to the question, “What Will Olive Do?” I pick up the balloon by its fetal cord and tap it upwards. Well, as I suspected, it was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Olive is highly intrigued, but cautious. She starts “nosing” the balloon, testing its material properties. When she realizes that it moves erratically “on its own,” she reacts the way she usually does; she’s a bit frightened. She does the same thing when the wind sends a discarded plastic grocery bag dancing down the sidewalk. Or when the ribbons on the handle grips of a child’s bicycle playfully ripple in the breeze. And especially when she observes the gentle swaying of the giant inflatables tethered to suburban front lawns during the holidays. She’s seen them all. Giant nylon turkeys. An enormous Headless Horseman. Elves trapped inside a gargantuan snow globe. A jumbo pumpkin that almost took to the skies one morning. I think it’s the unpredictability of an object’s movement that freaks Olive out. It requires her to be more agile than she might feel capable of being. After more tapping of the balloon, Olive finally begins to engage, lunging and jumping at it, mouth wide open trying to capture it between her teeth. (She is standing next to me right now and she just burped in my face. Thanks, Olive.) However, her dog anatomy keeps getting in the way. As she tries to grab it repeatedly with her mouth, her snout just keeps pushing it higher and higher. My friend’s two-and-a-half year old son erupts into a fit of giggles. Olive has magically transformed herself into a trained seal. Batting the half-dead balloon around which occasionally rests on the tip of her nose. I feel like I’m at the circus. I also learned something else that night. It’s a fun and easy way of tiring her out quickly. Ah yes, for once I’ve outwitted Olive.

The Headless Wig

In weimaraners on 05/14/2011 at 9:12 pm

"Is this how the lambs FELT?"

As Olive and I walked past the Livestock Auction in Hackettstown (not a joke) the other day, I noticed that the headless long brunette wig with auburn highlights that we saw flattened in the grass this past summer was still lying undisturbed in the same spot. Matted to the ground directly across the stall where they keep the cows that are auctioned off each Tuesday. Which leads me to wonder…where did it come from? Who tosses away or loses a wig next to a livestock auction? Perhaps one of the cows was wearing it as a disguise and escaped. Maybe a thief tossed it off after fleeing the nearby Quick Chek. The possibility also exists that a drunken teenager used it as a barf bag on Halloween. I am fairly sure that NONE of these thoughts run through Olive’s head. She’s too busy, nose plastered to the ground or pointing to the clouds, inhaling all the scents you might imagine that emanate from a Livestock Auction. Cow pies. Sweaty lambs. Chicken scat. Horny bulls. Weathered old farmers. And the overpowering scent of hay. The silver livestock trucks pull up early on these mornings, squeaking and creaking like a New York taxicab stuffed with fat tourists. They remind me alternately of a school bus for animals and the old-fashioned Airstream trailers from the 1950s. Olive remains in a state of high alert as we walk past what is essentially the livestock version of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City. We hear the distressed sounds the animals make as they are marched from their trailers onto planks that deposit them into the barn. Olive senses that they are about to have an explosive gastrointestinal attack and can’t get off the planks fast enough. Back to the wig. It could also belong to the drunken old lady Olive and I encountered one mid-Summer morning. Oh yeah. 7am and this woman, talky as only a walking bottle of whiskey can be, rambled on and on about how her “baby” wasn’t on the train (and she wasn’t talking about a child) and why didn’t I have two dogs so they could “get it on.” Actually, what she said was cruder than that, but I try to keep this blog as PG-13 as I can. I blushed…for Olive. I wanted to cover the ears of my innocent puppy. So as not to piss off the drunk and initiate further interaction, I made some innocuous comment and walked away with Olive as fast as I could without making it seem obvious. Although why I thought anything would be obvious to someone whose blood alcohol level was more alcohol than blood, I have no idea.

Cinderella’s Sisters

In weimaraners on 05/14/2011 at 7:51 pm

"It's my JOB to watch you!"

Last weekend, Olive and I went to visit her mother Lacey, her sisters Gem and Crystal “The Pistol” and her Aunt Ava which makes this sound like a scene from a Christopher Durang play. Gem (already winning at shows) and Crystal are beautiful too, but they are slightly bigger and “doggier” than Olive. Unlike Olive, the Duchess of Weimbridge, they spend much of their time outdoors with the rest of their melodious pack. We arrive at the breeder’s house and Crystal and Gem are energetically racing back and forth inside their zoo-sized pen like two squabbling sister panthers. Or panther sisters. But NOT sister wives. I don’t think that Olive realizes that she is related to these dogs. All she knows is that they are dogs AND they look like her. Deborah puts Gem and Crystal in the house so Olive can have the pen all to herself while we sit at the picnic table on this bright, sunny day. Lacey and Ava are in separate pens nearby, quietly meandering around their pens. Ava who just delivered a litter of eight in March, is giving her nipples a rest. Good thing too, because they are hanging down so far, they may reach Cape Horn. Olive is disinterested. All she knows is that she has been separated from me. She’s not crazy about this ESPECIALLY when she can see me. As far as Olive is concerned, she is as alone as Papillon on Devil’s Island. “WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO.” She stops intermittently, presumably to catch her breath, or gobble up some dirt. God forbid I even look in her direction. It starts all over again. “WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO.” “OLIVE, FOR GOD’S SAKE. I’M RIGHT HERE. GO EAT A BIRD. LOOK! THERE’S A UNICORN.” Besides their beauty and brains they also have something else in common. A set of lungs the size of Peru.

Cracker Jack Lawn Prizes

In weimaraners on 05/09/2011 at 10:07 pm

"Do NOT look in my mouth."

With the return of Spring, which is usually the briefest window between Winter and Summer in New Jersey comes a series of rituals. (Sneeze and you’ll miss Spring.) The grass begins its metamorphosis from impotent brown and yellow patches that spring to life as a lush emerald green carpet. And it grows. And grows. And grows and grows and grows. It’s like having to give an 8-year old boy a crew cut every 5 days. What does all of this have to do with Olive? It provides her with one of her favorite seasonal treats. Moldy clumps of grass that the mower’s tires leave behind. Olive gobbles them up as if they are chocolate coated baby sparrows. As I watch her using the power of her jaw and rear molars to crush the clumps into digestible pieces, I think to myself, “She looks like she’s standing in the middle of a baseball field chewing tobacco.” This is followed by another ritual. The one where I have to open her mouth and reach past her tonsils to retrieve what is now a string of pre-digestive slime in which the clump of moldy grass is now cocooned. Otherwise, she’ll just puke it up inside the house. I try asking Olive to fork it over first. ‘OLIVE. DROP IT. LOOK AT ME. DROP IT.” She lowers her head once or twice…still chewing. I get impatient and just reach into her mouth. I fish around like I’m searching for the prize inside a box of Cracker Jacks. EUREKA! I extract the patch of grass that now looks like creamed spinach and feels like a garden slug exploded. Little slivers of grass dot the inside of her mouth like flecks of dill. I fling the offending patch across the lawn. Only not far enough away. The trail of slime was not aerodynamically friendly. Seconds later, Olive tracks it down and tries to re-ingest it. I decide that if she really had to poop, she would have done so by now so I begin leading her back toward the house, criss-crossing a mine field of moldy grass clumps. My pooch pauses repeatedly to snatch each prize perched on the lawn as though they are dead fish lying in a dried up riverbed. I actually catch myself saying, “Christ I can’t wait until the lawn burns out in a few months.”

Non-Verbal Cues

In weimaraners on 05/07/2011 at 5:11 pm

"READ my lips."

This morning, Olive and I got to the dog park at around 8am. As we approach the large dog section, a pit bull is waiting to greet us. He starts to become agitated as if Olive’s mere presence has signaled the start of a boxing match. “Is he friendly,” I ask the dog’s owner? “He’s a little iffy,” he says as the dog starts to foam at the mouth and go into full ninja warrior mode. The best way to describe the dog’s aggressive actions and sounds is to call it BLOOD THIRSTY. Is this guy NUTS I think? There’s nothing IFFY about this behavior. Clearly this is a guy who has trouble reading non-verbal signals. He’s probably divorced. “I think we’ll go in the section for small dogs,” I say as I steer Olive as far away from the fence as I can. I’m not sure my friendly pooch has yet recognized that the pit bull wants to eat her…with some fava beans and a nice bottle of Chianti. We join the four-month old poodle mix and her owners who have come to the park for the first time. Olive’s overly-friendly exuberant energy scares the poor dog and the owners, rightfully cautious, pick up their pooch. We chat for a little while before they leave and Olive and I make our way into the empty section for large dogs. Olive starts running around like she’s all by herself under the bright sun warming the great Wyoming Plains. I pick up a ratty communal tennis ball to throw to her. Howard Hughes-like, I shudder at the thought of all the bacteria squirming all over this ball, but think “The hell with it. She’s a dog. She’s always got her nose in some other dog’s poop.” Olive races after the ball like a fire engine screaming down a suburban road. She skids to a dusty stop, picks up the ball, trots a few yards with it, then drops it. Typical Olive. From what I’ve read, most Weims think chasing a ball is stupid. She’d probably hate golf, then. I think she figures she’s caught something and then realizes it’s not prey, so what am I wasting my time for? Thankfully, within a few minutes her friend Gabby arrives, a friendly black dog of mixed origin. They run together, box each other, sometimes jumping over and under each other until they look like two kids tangled up in a game of Twister. Olive is so tuckered out today that she’s panting and dripping saliva. I give her a drink from a water bottle which she sloppily slurps up and I put her prong collar back on her, which is much easier when you’re not wearing winter gloves. We make our way back to the car. Olive hops into the back of the hatch, I tell her to “Sit,” and “Stay” which she does on command while I close the hatch. I barely see her through the tinted back window, but it’s enough to see the bright, happy, trusting expression on her face which says, “That was fun. Where are we off to now?”

The Furious Pooch

In weimaraners on 05/06/2011 at 7:47 pm


If you want to see Olive instantly switch from her sweet tempered disposition to that of Lizzie “Bite My Axe” Borden, just try taking one of her “dead” toys away. A plush squirrel she has filleted open from tail to neck. A giant tennis ball that has been deskinned, its neon yellow fuzz peeled away in asymmetrical patches. It is the only time she becomes absolutely furious with me. “HOW DARE YOU. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD IT WAS TO TEAR THAT THING TO PIECES WITH JUST MY TEETH? DROP IT. IT’S MINE.” She trails me to the trash can, almost hyperventilating as she jumps up and down trying to snatch it from my hand like a distraught vulture. If you want to see me become furious with Olive, just watch me become equally unhinged when I catch her in the bathroom using the toilet tissue roll as her own personal Pez dispenser. “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR DOG MIND??? BAD GIRL! BAD GIRL! OUT NOWWWWWWWW!” Some days it’s like living with a rebellious teenager challenging boundaries both great and small. Other days it’s like living with a bipolar Curious George. And then, when I look at her stretched out on the couch (like right now), with her nose tucked into or underneath a pillow or her own leg as though she’s trying to protect it from the light, my heart melts. Especially when she starts snoring very lightly. It sounds so peaceful. And in that moment, I forget about the countless times she’s robbed the waste basket in the bathroom, chewing the Breathe Right strips as if they are sticks of Dentyne, chomping on the Q-Tips as though they were clove cigarettes and flinging her head from side to side to rid herself of the mint-flavored dental floss tangled around her tonsils like an errant strand of hair. I kiss her gently on the top of her head and whisper, “You little ball buster. Good thing you’re so adorable.”

Twist-Off Head

In Uncategorized on 05/03/2011 at 9:38 pm

"Is that a walking BOTTLE OPENER?"

Tonight as Olive and I were enjoying our early evening walk, crisscrossing the already lush green soccer field as occasional gusts of wind lifted Olive’s ears as though they were the rotating blades of a helicopter, we made our way to the sidewalk that winds through the development of mini McMansions with their perfectly manicured lawns. Up ahead, walking toward us are two small girls each tethered to one of their mother’s hands. One looks to be about 18 months old; the other, twice her age. I hear one or both of the girls correctly identify Olive as a “doggie,” and not a pony. Score one for the New Jersey school systems. I also see the mother executing a tighter grasp on each of the girls as Olive and I get closer. “Don’t worry,” I assure the mother, “She’s friendly. Too friendly maybe. She may try to lick the three of you to death,” I warn. The mother relaxes her vise-like grip and stops. Olive must have understood EXACTLY what I said, because at that moment she begins licking each of them as though they are different flavors of ice cream; each in the form of a cone. The girls giggle and titter amid expressions of unrestrained glee: “IT TICKLES!” It is only as Olive begins French kissing the 18 month old that I observe the mother visibly blanching. That’s okay I think, my dog is ingesting all the biological pathogens using your child as a host. Everything from soggy bits of Cheerios to snot-encrusted clots of banana. It occurs to me that to Olive, this must be the equivalent of a walking buffet. After sampling every station at the buffet, I start to drag Olive away as I recall what happened to my baby blue parakeet when as a child, I took Princess out of her cage and let a neighborhood girl pet it while it stood on my extended index finger. Instead of petting it, she tried to unscrew its head as if it were a twist off cap. Needless to say, the next morning when I awakened and went to greet my parakeet, she kept falling over in her cage. My father put Princess in a box without a top, cut a paper cup down to about an inch tall, filled it with water and we nestled the little “hospital room” carefully between two large branches in one of the trees in our backyard. This is what I remember; I was probably all of 6 years old. Anyway, it’s thoughts like these that remind me to make sure no one tries to unscrew Olive’s head from her body.

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