Patti Soldavini

Archive for October 27th, 2011|Daily archive page

How To Mesmerize a Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/27/2011 at 11:49 am

What is THAT?"

Easy. Just pop popcorn in the microwave or turn on the dishwasher. Olive stands in the kitchen facing the source of the strange sound, and cocks her head back and forth and up and down as though she is playing a symphonic version of “follow the bouncing ball.” She continues to stand there, immobile except for the “head cocks.” Her tail is as silent as a mouse on Christmas Eve. The expression on her face is priceless. It starts out as inquisitive childlike wonder and quickly morphs into unexpected fear when there’s a concentrated burst of popcorn kernals… POP. POP. POP. POP. POP. POP!… or when the water in the dishwasher rushes against the inside of the door like a tsunami. WHOOSH. WHOOSH. WHOOSH. WHOSH. WHOOSH! Then, she runs out of the kitchen into the safety of the dining room like a three-year old who’s just witnessed their sister getting a flu shot. Goofball. Popcorn is one of the few human treats I give Olive. I lie on the couch watching TV and Olive stands next to the couch watching me. One at a time, I toss a popped kernal high into the air, over her head or onto the far end of the couch to make her work for it a little. She snaps them in mid-air as though they are flies who have invaded her personal space. This makes me laugh. Every once in a while, she gags or clears her throat briefly. Like the rest of us, trying to dislodge that blasted yellow kernal shell that’s holding onto her tonsils for dear life. I love watching her leap into the air like a trapeze artist contorting her lithe athletic body into shapes unnatural for a human just to snag the tiny white, fluffy and tasty projectiles coming her way. Olive retains her deep interest as I get up with the empty bowl in my hand and make my way up the stairs to place it into the dishwasher. To her, it is the natural cycle of popcorn evolution.

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Bristlers

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/27/2011 at 10:59 am

"Yup, those are my PINS."

This is how I refer to Olive’s whiskers; as “bristlers,” because they are so stiff and prickly that they poke right through my slacks when she lays her head across my lap. Each has the tensile strength of a suspension cable on the George Washington Bridge. (They look deceptively thin and gentle in the photo.) “OUCH! HOLY CHRIST, OLIVE, HAVE YOU BEEN SHARPENING YOUR WHISKERS? I THINK I’M BLEEDING.” Not really, but my lap begins to feel like a pin cushion when she tries to burrow deeper into it like she’s flushing a fox out of a dark den. The first time this happened, I wondered if a Weim’s whiskers were any different than other dogs. I didn’t remember being “pincushioned” by Idgy’s whiskers. Or should I say, vibrissae, which I just learned is what a dog’s whiskers are really called. They are described as “finely tuned sensory structures,” and “while the hairs themselves don’t contain nerve endings, their base is surrounded by erectile tissue and a rich nerve supply.” This sounds like the set-up for a dirty joke, doesn’t it? And then there’s the extra sharpshooting whiskers, two on each side of Olive’s face poking out of the center of moles. I guess these help her navigate her way down the dark hallway while she’s tracking the scent of a micron of day-old food that’s been crushed deep into the nylon fibers of the carpet. So, if the vibrissae are so sensitive, I wonder what it feels like when dogs play with other dogs, mixing it up and “whiskering” each other. I’m guessing it feels pretty good. What do you have to say about this subject Olive? ‘BE QUIET, I’M PLAYING WITH MY WHISKERS.”

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