Patti Soldavini

Archive for December 10th, 2011|Daily archive page

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.

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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.

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