Patti Soldavini

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Weimaraner Aristocracy

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/30/2011 at 7:01 pm

"You can't see me CAN you?"

Olive impersonating a stunningly elegant French Provincial table.

The Ball Buster

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/30/2011 at 6:49 pm

"So you want the BALL, do ya'?

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were filled with fun, food, family and friends for Olive and me. If Olive were writing today’s post, she would have listed food first. We started out each cold morning with a trip to the dog park. At 8am on Christmas morning, under a heavy, violet-tinted cloud cover, we found we had the entire park to ourselves. Olive would have been happier if her dog friends were there, but she is quite content to just run around, enjoying her freedom, stopping every five seconds to sniff something on the ground, brushing her wet brown nose up against some foul item of interest. Better to keep moving instead of standing still up here and being the only object to buffet 25 mph winds. I try to interest Olive in a game of fetch which is usually a waste of time. Like most weimaraners, Olive thinks “fetch” is a moronic way to spend her time. She might pick the ball up as if to announce “OF COURSE, I CAN GET THE DUMB BALL,” and then promptly drop it. “NOW WHAT?” Today, however, it’s the only game in town. I walk over to a once-yellow tennis ball whose fur has been savagely torn off in places and is caked with crusty bits of frozen earth and communal dog saliva (which I actually refer to as paste due to its unusually gluey quality). I bring my right leg all the way back, aim for the ball, and it goes racing along the ground like it’s been shot out of a cannon. Olive didn’t quite expect this. She scrambles from her stationary position and zig zags across the field like an all-terrain vehicle gone mad, chasing the ball and picking it up in her mouth before it ever comes to a breathless rest. “Christ,” I mutter to myself, thinking, I don’t want to walk halfway across this stadium-sized field for the ball. And then Olive starts trotting back with it. In what I can only describe as a calculated act of “intelligent defiance,” she casually saunters toward me and gently releases the ball…about 10 feet away from where I’m standing. Clearly, she has just thrown down the gauntlet. “FINE, YOU LITTLE BALL BUSTER. LET’S SEE IF YOU CAN DO IT AGAIN.” I repeat the exercise about six more times. Each time, Olive races out to retrieve the ball, trots back with it and drops it about 10 feet away from me. I am now certain that this is her way of saying: “HEY MUSHROOM TUCHES. IF I HAVE TO RUN ACROSS THE FIELD FOR THIS DISGUSTING BALL, THE LEAST YOU CAN DO IF WALK A FEW FEET TO RETRIEVE IT.” Now I get it. It’s her way of playing fetch with me. I shake my head as I obediently walk over to retrieve the ball and kick it toward the cloudy horizon one last time as she spasmodically tries to anticipate its trajectory. I marvel at the fact that somehow, a game that is supposed to be largely physical is actually more mentally challenging with a weimaraner. To be continued…

Good Will Hunting Roadkill

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/30/2011 at 8:51 am

"He took MY pheasant."

As Olive and I stood in the front yard at 6:30 the other morning, she, contemplating just what tiny patch of the entire acre of property on which to deposit a healthy-sized brown gift, and me, feeling myself age like a mythological creature waiting for her to make a decision, a black pick-up truck slows as it drives past our house. Olive instantly abandons her quest for biological correctness and starts barking like a banshee. The truck stops just past our driveway. The neighborhood is treated to an early morning rendition of “WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO.” The first thing I see emerge from the truck is a day-glo orange knit cap. It is so bright it could cause retinal burn. The cap shines like an tree top ornament on a man dressed in green camoulflage. “MAYBE IT’S SOMEONE FROM THE POWER COMPANY, OLIVE. OR A HUNTER. BUT WHAT DOES HE WANT FROM US?” As he continues walking in the street at the edge of my lawn, he cheerfully calls out. “THERE’S A DEAD PHEASANT ON YOUR LAWN. I USE THEM TO CATCH RACOONS.” Doesn’t that seem backwards, I think? Isn’t the pheasant supposed to be the desirable catch? Here is the best part. As he says this with just a little too much excitement in his tone, he reaches down and picks up the dead pheasant by its limp green head and starts walking away with his trophy. I squint to confirm that yes, the dead pheasant is dangling from his ungloved, bare hand. Yeesh. I feel like I have to go inside and wash my hands after seeing this. Or my eyeballs. Even Olive has stopped barking. Maybe because she didn’t realize that this treat was sitting on her front lawn like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae and now a stranger has stolen Olive’s gamey little dessert. Or, she has simply witnessed the most spectacular opportunity that opposable thumbs present. As the human military ornament walks back to his car with an unmistakable spring in his step, I call out, “HEY. COME BACK ANYTIME. NEXT WEEK WE’RE SERVING FOX.”

Sister Act

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners on 12/29/2011 at 6:58 pm

If you think I’m just another biased dog owner who thinks their dog is the most beautiful, think again. I have genetic proof that Olive is a Supermodel. The photo you see above is of one of Olive’s sisters, “Watchpoint ‘n Camelot’s Reward,” (AKA “Gem”) who recently received the Best in Sweepstakes, Winner’s Bitch recognition. I am sure that Olive would have been up there had her reproductive organs not been plucked by the Hysterectomy Fairy. The names at the bottom of the caption are the names of Gem and Olive’s parents, “Stewie,” and “Lacey.” I liked the idea of Olive competing in dog shows and potentially winning acclaim, but when I thought about the reality of what it takes (time, money, travel, etc.), I decided I liked the idea a lot better. On some deep psychological level, I think I also decided that I didn’t want such a regimented life for Olive because I hate regimentation. Maybe not fair to Olive, but I don’t hear her complaining. I hear only the hmmm-humm rhythm of contentedness as she snores deeply while splayed out on the top of the couch. “MOVE OVER DING-DONG. I’M COLD. MAKE SOME ROOM FOR ME.”

Dog Laundry

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/29/2011 at 6:29 pm

"HEY, my laundry's done."

Yesterday, as a friend of mine gets into my car she loudly inquires, “DID THE DOG SHIT IN HERE? IT STINKS.” This is a friend that I have known for the better part of my entire life so I behave as I have been conditioned to behave under circumstances that I have come to know much too well over 35 years. I roll my eyes and say “NO, THE DOG DID NOT SHIT IN HERE. AND SHE HAS A NAME. DON’T REFER TO OLIVE AS SOME GENERIC CUR.” And then I pile on the rhetorical. “I DON’T SMELL ANYTHING.” Privately, I’m thinking that it’s probably the seat cover in the back that needs to be cleaned. After all, that’s where Olive’s dirty feet first touch down after we leave the dog park each weekend. Why spoil the fun and mention this to my friend. I’ll just let her enjoy the aroma that has ignited her delicate olfactory sense. So today, I march through the house like a disgruntled, underpaid maid, collecting all of Olive’s winter wear, bed linens and towels. Don’t forget the stinking car seat cover, I remind myself as I casually sniff her parka and wonder, “WHY THE HELL DO ALL HER THINGS SMELL LIKE DAY-OLD LAMBCHOP?” I gag slightly as I pull my nose away from her expensive red wool sweater. How ironic that I love the taste of lamb but cannot stomach the smell of it cooking. It must be a weim thing. This is what I imagine, my tiny-furred pooch smells like when she sweats. Jesus, I better be careful when I’m out with her at night. If she smells like a lambchop to the coyotes that freakishly scream at the moon every night, I might as well just put Olive out on a platter. (Don’t worry Olive, Patti will always protect you from four-legged and two-legged boogeymen just like she protects you from yourself every waking minute of every day.) As Olive’s coat, sweater, car seat cover, towel and fleece blanket are drying, I have a  flashback to high school days; doing the laundry at home and accidently throwing my mother’s sweater in the dryer. She wasn’t too happy when she needed a magnifying glass to find it. It was so small, it would be a tight fit on a cabbage patch doll. Excuse me while I go retrieve Olive’s $40 red sweater from the dryer.

 

The Tree Sitter

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/27/2011 at 6:33 pm

"WHO goes there?"

Olive, standing guard at a friend’s house, tree-sitting. My dog nonchalantly creates the appearance of steadfastly guarding the Christmas tree and its bounty underneath. Either that, or she just ate a trespassing elf (Burrrpppp!) and is looking for another tasty lilliputian tidbit.

 

Dog Flag

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/22/2011 at 6:26 pm

"QUICK. Which country am I?"

When I tried taking this shot, all I was interested in was getting a new series of photos of Olive against an interesting background. I’m running out of options inside the house and am limited outside because she always has to be on a leash or she may take off for the moon. (We haven’t been to off-leash training yet.) When my dog starting composing this shot, she began squirming all over the towel just like she does when she comes in from the rain. This is the “drying off towel,” and she loves to wrestle with it in an attempt to dry her wet seal-like fur. On these occasions, I stand there like an idiot and just keep dropping the towel over her head and body and she goes mental tearing it away from herself. When she layed down on the towel, like you see here, it immediately struck me that what I was looking at looked like a flag. Largely I’m sure, because of the horizontal alternating orange and yellow stripes. If you look at the composition sideways, it looks like she has formed the number 4. My dog is probably sending me some sort of secret message, but if one of us is the genius John Nash portrayed in the movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” it’s Olive.  Or, it’s simply Olive’s artistic interpretation of the flag of Weimar, otherwise known as Germany. Not only is my beautiful dog a work of art, she also creates art.

Spot The Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/21/2011 at 7:55 pm

"Are we DONE yet?"

This is what a weimaraner looks like in suspended animation. Can’t you just tell from the look on Olive’s face that she’s humoring me? ‘FOR GOD’S SAKE, DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE MORE PICTURES OF ME?” “ACTUALLY, I DO,” I reply, “BECAUSE THERE IS AN INSATIABLE NEED FOR NEW PHOTOS FOR YOUR BLOG.” As I command Olive to stay, I can feel every fiber in her body on tensile alert with the aching desire to RUN, RUN, RUN. But she sits obediently, waiting for me to release her from this excruciatingly dull three minute session. You would think I had asked her to empty the dishwasher. When Olive wants to hide from me, she runs downstairs into the finished basement. In the dark. And stands there half-hiding like an 8-year old playing tag with her friends in the backyard on a hot summer night. She waits for me, the giant silhouette at the top of the stairs, to approach her so she can zoom past me and thunder up the steps in a show of both bravado and joy. If at this moment she could speak, I am confident that she would squeal “NAH, NAH, NAH, NAH, NAH.” This time, I am somehow quick enough to catch her near the cheap cotton drapes downstairs. “OLIVE, SIT. NOW LOOK AT ME.” She hates looking at me when “she’s lost” the chase, but eventually she does it. I guess she figures that the quicker she complies, the faster she can initiate another chase. Eventually, she does thunder up the stairs past me and stands perched at the top of the landing like a Valkyrian victor. Her look of triumph is made somewhat less serious by the appearance of her ears, which are both flipped back, exposing their pink labyrinths and making her distinctly resemble a Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat.

Lambchop

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/20/2011 at 2:39 pm

"I do NOT smell like day-old lambchop."

“Yes you do.” “No, I don’t.” “Yes you do.” “No, I don’t.” “Yes you do.” “No, I don’t.” “Yes you do.” “No, I don’t.” “YES you do.” “NO, I don’t.” “YES you DO.” “NO, I DO NOT.” “Would you like some mint jelly?” “WHAT is a lambchop anyway?”

Knock. Knock.

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/20/2011 at 9:46 am

"Do I smell FOOD?"

Knock. Knock. Who’s there? It’s Olive. Olive who? Olive food. This dog is so alert, she can detect a fly fart. (By sound and scent). Olive loves going over to Susie and Perry’s because Susie will rough house with her and Olive gets to sniff up three-year old Ryan. But everything in the universe comes to an apocalyptic halt when Olive smells food or observes activity in THE KITCHEN. The room that brings her the greatest joy in life. Counter tops lined with food in various stages of preparation. Scents that delight Olive’s over-stimulated nostrils; sending her into a heightened state of ecstasy. ‘WHERE SHOULD I JUMP FIRST,” thinks Olive. To Olive, it must appear that it is a buffet created just for her. ‘GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN,” I command Olive as she is craning her long graceful neck over the sink to lick the grease off a pan. She willfully continues until I march over there, grab her by the collar and pull her away. I’ve tried a zillion different things. Nothing has the magnetic pull required to chase her away from oily grease and carcass niblets stuck to a cold frying pan. She really has to be guided out of the kitchen and then she watches me like she’s Bernie Madoff sizing up his next mark. Because in the nanosecond that I turn my head away from her, she quietly but whiplash-rapidly tracks back to the “edible amusement park.” Whenever my intelligent pooch is confronted with a situation that she realizes may result in a correction, she very slyly and daintily makes her move, as though being delicate makes the behavior acceptable. Even this makes me laugh. “OLIVE. ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME? GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN. I DON’T CARE HOW CUTE AND GRACEFUL YOU ARE.” Everyday is a battle of wits with a weimaraner. Some days I win, some days I lose, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. In fact, the other day, I came to realize that after having a weim, I don’t think I could ever have any other kind of dog again. This dog keeps me on my toes. And living with a weimaraner? They’re four-legged soul mates. It’s like living with a human who actually loves you unconditionally and doesn’t talk. What an excellent combination.

Weimaraner Haiku

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/11/2011 at 8:09 pm

"WHAT am I getting myself into?"

Olive is pleased (she thinks) to announce that she is writing Haiku poems which you can find by clicking here or on Olive’s Haiku at the top of this page. Olive has always been fascinated by the brevity of Haiku and its natural ability to elevate non-sequiturs to a whole new level. If you have a word you’d like Olive to use in one of her next Haiku poems, please let her know and she’ll try to oblige.

The Great Bearded One

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/10/2011 at 8:15 pm

"Who, me?"

“Olive, meet Santa Claus,” Santa meet Olive.” This is Olive’s first encounter with the great bearded one. We drove out to K-Nine Coaching in Olde Lafayette Village last weekend for Olive’s photo session with Santa. On the way in, we run into Luna and her owners. Luna is a sweet, beautiful blue weimaraner and a friend Olive met during her training classes last year. Other dogs and their owners are milling about; a trio is getting their picture taken as we speak. It’s Olive’s turn and she confidently strides over to where the giant red and white “fleece toy” is sitting. “That’s Santa, Olive,” I quietly inform her. Beverly Burke, the photographer, approaches Olive to meet her but Olive has her famous orbs trained on Santa. I imagine that Olive is wondering whether this red-and-white-furred-object is man, beast or something else. She circles the set, passing the klieg lights with the nonchalance of someone used to having the paparazzi stalk them. She noses the small Christmas tree and finally walks over to Santa. Leave it to my dog to circle the action from the perimeter before deciding to engage. Now getting her to sit still is something else entirely. Of course, my little scent hound is exploring Santa from shiny black boot to thick white beard. Santa grabs Olive’s collar and I move in and command her to SIT. The photographer’s camera snaps away. After her session, we go next door to the specialty pet store and I fall in love with a wool sweater designed like the sock monkey! I would have gotten it for Olive in a heartbeat except I was pretty sure she’d never stand for the attached hood with monkey ears. And there was no way I’d be able to walk my regal-looking pooch wearing that thing without feeling like a freak. We both have too much dignity to do that. Today, we went back to Lafayette to pick up Olive’s photo. It was a bright, beautiful crisp winter day. A great day for a drive with my dog along peaceful, open country roads, listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Outlaw Pete,” some classic rock and even Christmas Carols. We watched people at cut-your-own Christmas Tree Farms tie their freshly cut douglas firs, scotch pines and fraser firs to the roofs of their cars. We passed clusters of aging farm silos standing side by side all by themselves, having seen better days long ago. For some reason, this music is the perfect soundtrack to the peaceful rural farmland that we’re driving through. They didn’t name this town “Tranquility” for nothing, I think to myself. I pick up Olive’s 8×10 glossy of her and Santa from the passenger seat and look at it again. “NICE PICTURE OLIVE. NO ONE WOULD HAVE ANY IDEA THAT YOU ARE SUCH A GOOFBALL AT HEART.” For once, Olive is ignoring me. She’s staring out the window watching the exquisite scenery pass by.

Olive’s Poetry

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/10/2011 at 8:15 am

"TAKE the picture."

It amazes me how many of the photos I take of Olive feel like visual poetry. Really, I may have a better eye than many amateur photographers, but Olive is so beautiful, so graceful, so full of personality that she was made for the “point and shoot” camera. This is also the dog that planted her front paws on my rear end this morning as I crouched down with my head inside her 48-inch crate trying to find her beloved “yellow dog” which had apparently been swallowed up by the whale of the winter comforter that forms a toasty nest inside her den. She was trying to retrieve her tattered stuffed orange duck which I had just placed on top of her crate. (Although it was taxing to have this 60-pound dog using me as a step ladder, it did make me laugh.) What a picture that would have made. Dog using ass to reach toy stranded on crate roofline. It is the one toy that she’s had since she was a puppy that she did not eviscerate and empty of its faux organs. Until now. While rearranging the comforter (yes, I was “making” Olive’s bed), I picked up “orange duck” and noticed the stuffing had been exposed at its frail, limp neck. Unfortunately, because Olive likes to eat some of the stuffing, smacking her lips as though trying to gum a cloud, I have to take the toy carcasses away from her. Last night while we were watching TV, I caught her chewing on a squeaker, which she no doubt would have eaten. “OLIVE, IF YOU SWALLOW THAT, WE’LL HAVE TO TAKE YOU TO THE ANIMAL HOSPITAL WHERE THEY WILL HAVE TO OPEN YOU UP LIKE YOU OPEN YOUR STUFFED ANIMALS. ” She stops chewing for a second, sensing some discussion of importance, and I use this opportunity to extract the tooth-riddled clear plastic squeaker from her mouth. Most days it feels like I have 19-month old child and not a dog. Weimaraners are great training for anyone thinking of having a baby.

Hide and Seek

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/09/2011 at 8:37 pm

"One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand..."

Weimaraner Lovebirds

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 12/07/2011 at 10:25 pm

"Am I DREAMING?"

Olive fell in love this past weekend. It was love at first sniff. She jumped up on the love seat (how appropriate) and sidled up next to my niece whom she met for the very first time. The two of them layed side by side while I, the proverbial third wheel, occupied the couch across from the lovebirds. “BIRDS, OLIVE. DID YOU HEAR THAT? YOU ACTUALLY ACTED LIKE A BIRD.” Within minutes, Olive drifted off to sleep, secure enough to stretch her long graceful body out fully and throw her front paws across Jennifer’s lap. While my dog was spooning my niece, occasionally opening a single amber eye halfway to make sure I hadn’t left the premises, I took a moment to appreciate Olive’s amazing open-heartedness with all members of the human race. She races up to strangers we encounter with a friendliness that is so genuine and enthusiastic that most people immediately reach out to her, fearlessly acknowledging her loving nature. She is instantly rewarded by these people with a very vigorous petting that once in awhile borders on the questionable. This makes her ecstatic of course. She twists and twirls her body around, offering every angle up for human contact. Earlier that evening, Olive accompanied Jennifer, my sister and me to the local Christmas celebration on Main Street. As we walked up and down the sidewalk, stopping to listen to the children standing on the steps of a local church singing Christmas Carols and taking note of all the people lined up for carriage rides, Olive reveled in all the energy that bounced off the people around us. Surrounded by a constantly shifting amoeba-like crowd of endorphin-jazzed adults and children, all squealing with delight when they see Olive, they all ask, actually plead with me, “CAN I PET YOUR DOG?” So there Olive stands, tail wagging furiously while multiple pairs of hands pet her simultaneously. It’s so unbelievable. You can actually feel people’s hearts beat a little quicker, their spirits rising with each stroke of Olive’s back or head. How apropos. It is so cool that while my dog gives me great joy, apparently she has so much left over, she shares it with everyone she meets.

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