Patti Soldavini

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Existential Conversations With My Dog

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/31/2012 at 8:44 pm

"I think I get it."

Maybe I am crazy, but I love having existential conversations with Olive. I do this to stimulate her natural intellect and to reassure her emotionally that she has a life and existence all her own, one in which she has the ability to make choices. In some small, slightly delusional sort of way, I hope to raise her consciousness when I say things to her like: “Olive. Do you understand the concept of free will vs. determinism? Determinism is like fate; it’s how you ended up living with me. It’s the paw of cards you were dealt. Free will is how you play the paw you have been dealt. This means as a conscious being, you make choices in your life freely that you are able to make. Such as, do I lay on top of the back of the couch today? Or, on the bed in the master bedroom? Do I have a drink of water right now because I’m thirsty or because I might be thirsty in a few minutes and I’m standing by my bowl right now?” “Do I believe in Dog, or God for that matter?” Olive usually sits there politely listening to me address her in this sobering tone of voice. Other times, I sense her disinterest and she just humors me. “How do you know that you are really awake right now Olive and that my talking to you is not just a dream?” “Yes, that was a trick question. I just want to make sure that you know you may spend the day today however your little heart desires. The choice is yours.”

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My Dog The Diva

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/28/2012 at 7:56 pm

"Are we done? I'm EXHAUSTED."

As I sit here writing this post tonight, Olive is downstairs in the living room, splayed out in front of the pellet stove’s roaring fire and intermittently kvetching. Not a whine, not quite a bark. Something in between. Something meant to communicate her displeasure that I am upstairs and not giving her my full attention. She’s exhausted from the fashion show today. And when she’s tired, she can become quite pissy. If we’re out and it’s past 8pm, she’ll start to piss and moan relentlessly until we leave. She stops only when we get home. She races upstairs, leaps onto the bed like a pole vaulter, executes a few “nesting circles,” then plops down and conks out like a serial drunk. Initially, she lays there curled up like a street vendor’s hot pretzel, ultimately untangling her supermodel-long limbs and stretching out the full length of her frame, squeezing every last molecule of stale air out of her lungs. Occasionally, she might open one eye partially, and catch me staring at her. She goes right back to sleep. Today, at around 10am, we arrived at K-Nine Coaching in Old Lafayette Village for Olive’s fitting. There are already about eight dogs there, most of them the size of an infant’s teaspoon, save for one big-boned boxer who didn’t look very happy to be there. I think he might have felt emasculated by the gigantor bow that was attached to his collar. It was so big it looked like it had sprout from the side of his fawn-colored head like a parasitic twin. Like some “what the Christ were they thinking” accoutrement appended to the cleavage of some Hollywood starlet’s mermaid-like gown. It’s Olive’s turn to be fitted, so she marches forward with her usual unbridled enthusiasm and curiosity. Two dressers are strapping a violet-colored winter coat with a repeating pattern of blue paw prints on it over her head and around her undercarriage. She’s not too crazy about having her head plunged through a small fabric hole, but it’s performed quickly without clumsiness so she doesn’t panic. Meanwhile, she stands there fixated on some small white fluff of a dog wearing pink goggles. “DON’T WORRY OLIVE, YOU WON’T BE WEARING ANYTHING THAT RIDICULOUS. IF YOU’RE GOING TO WEAR ANY GOGGLES, THEY’LL BE PRADA BRAND.” Olive’s friend Luna, a blue weimaraner, arrives. They proceed to act like long-lost Siamese twins separated literally and figuratively for much too long. I know this sounds crazy, but I swear they understand that they are the same breed. Not species, breed. It’s uncanny. Olive behaves differently around Luna, almost as though they came from the same litter (which they did not.) Now it’s time to move Olive to the staging area with the other dogs. We enter an empty storefront which might be 12’ x 10’. It contains dog crates and adjustable fences that would fit properly in a space twice the size. Dogs, dog handlers, dressers and owners are also squeezed into this coffin-like space. Dogs are barking (including my champion barker), dressers are frantically dressing the models, handlers are coming in and out exchanging dogs; it is controlled panic. But this is probably what a human fashion show feels like behind the curtain, I imagine. Meanwhile, I stay close to Olive in her crate because in this atmosphere and because she’s so powerful, I don’t want her accidently escaping in the middle of all this unfocused hysteria. Olive is pissed at me; barking so incessantly that I’m almost getting sprayed by spittle. “I’M RIGHT HERE, OLIVE. KEEP YOUR PANTS ON. IT’S ALMOST YOUR TURN.” Thankfully, finally, it’s Olive’s turn to be led down the runway in the building next door. Flashbulbs pop and I proudly watch my pooch walk down the runway surrounded by strangers ogling her. She loves all the attention. She deplanes from the runway and is returned to my arms. “YOU MEAN I WAITED IN THAT CRATE ALL THIS TIME FOR THIS 90 SECOND WALK? YOU OWE ME,” admonishes Olive. “YEAH, YEAH, YEAH. YOU SEE THAT COAT YOU’RE WEARING? YOU GET TO KEEP IT. WE’RE EVEN.” Olive climbs in the car, lays down across the rear bench seat and sleeps the entire 30-minute ride home. What a rough life this dog has. Now, she’s standing in front of the TV barking at figure skaters doing a dance routine. This is a first. Maybe modeling isn’t challenging enough for her.

Doggone Catwalk

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/27/2012 at 8:51 pm

"I'm doing WHAT tomorrow?"

Olive will be retiring to bed shortly. She needs extra beauty sleep tonight. Tomorrow, she has a 10am model call for the Fuzzy Fashionista K-Nine Fashion Show. I thought I caught her purging herself earlier today, but she was just gagging on a Breathe Right strip that she tunneled into the bathroom wastebasket for. That, and a half eaten Q-tip that dangled from her lips making her look like a cheap tart. Of course, tomorrow morning, she’ll awaken from her peaceful slumber and look like three million bucks before she even gets up. No bed head for this dog. Hopefully, she won’t try to eat whatever she’s wearing tomorrow on the runway.

Frosty Paws

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/23/2012 at 8:23 pm

"WHERE are my damn boots?"

Yes, there still are kind people in the world in which we live. On the last leg of our walk yesterday, following a weather pattern that dropped five inches of snow on the ground, Olive starts raising one of her hind legs. As high as the Radio City Rockettes. She’s still walking, but the right rear leg is drawn high up off the sidewalk. I bend down and start rubbing her paw with my gloved hand, brushing the snow from her foot and possibly salt crystals. I am as careful as I can be when walking her in the winter. Mindful of the anti-litigation salt crystals people toss across their sidewalks like chicken feed, I try to steer Olive away from obvious blue clumps and direct her to walk on the snowy lawn. I figure this way, her paws get a brief respite and are possibly somewhat cleansed by the snow. She puts her foot down, walks a few feet, lifts the same leg and then LAYS DOWN IN THE SNOW in obvious discomfort. “Shit,” I mutter. It must be the salt crystals burning her pads. Not thinking, I try to pick her up in my arms so all four feet are off the ground and within seconds I realize that I have to put her back down. What do I think I am, a weight lifter? She’s almost 70 pounds and there’s no way I can really hold her. I might as well try to lift a burlap bag filled with wet cement. As I’m trying to mentally calculate my options, a black SUV rolls to a stop across the street and the driver calls out: “Do you need any help? My dog does that sometimes too.” I reply: “Thanks. I think it must be the salt. We’re OK. We only have another block or two. I think we’ll make it.” “Boy, that was nice, huh Olive?” I pick up both Olive’s back feet and vigorously rub her frosty paws for about 10 seconds. She’s upright now on all dainty fours, but looking at me a little unsure of what to do next. “We don’t have much further to go Olive. Walk on the snow instead of the sidewalk and I promise I’ll rinse your paws off in nice warm water when we get home.” She seems to instinctively trust me or figures she has no other choice because English is not her first language. We continue on our walk, me on my two feet, her on all four of hers. When we get into the car and I turn the key in the ignition, I notice that the temperature is just 21 paw-chilling degrees. Yikes. I realize it was probably just the cold that was flash freezing Olive’s pads. This happened once or twice last year during her first winter. In case you’re wondering, I did ask the vet about possibly getting booties for Olive and he said not to baby her. (Who me?) She’s a dog, her feet have to get used to it. Now, if I could only find where I put the container of Musher’s Secret I bought for Olive this past Summer. I can only imagine that trying to apply it to her paws will be like trying to apply it to the heels of an acrobat.

Dog Watching

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/23/2012 at 6:53 pm

"PLEASE change the channel."

If I see one more political commercial, I’m going to regurgitate my kibbles. And what’s with these guy’s names? Newt? Mitt? It sounds like a salamander is running against a baseball glove. Sometimes, you humans are hard to figure out. I think I smell a casserole cooking down the street. Am I drooling? I’m done watching “Dog Whisperer.” Please put the cartoon with the dogs in it back on. I liked that. Yes, I know they are dogs even though they are cartoon dogs. I don’t know how I know that, but I do. WHERE IS MY NEW KNUCKLE BONE? I really like these. Whose knuckle is it? I do like the Beggin’ strips commercial a lot. When is Spring coming? Where have all the little birds gone? The giant hawks circling overhead scare me. Pffffttttttt. Excuse me. My God, my nails are long. I look like Edward Scissorhands. I’m going to clean the kitchen counters now.

Bavarian Snowhound

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/21/2012 at 6:57 pm

"WHERE'S my sauerbraten?"

Olive is feeling much better and was thrilled to see the five inches or so of snow we got this bright morning. Although she prefers days where she can lie on her side on the lawn and bake like a hearty Maine potato, she takes great pleasure zipping back and forth through the snow. It makes her so happy, she runs around like a child who just slipped out of their diapers and is racing through the house reveling in their nakedness. Of course, the first thing she does is stop to eat gobs of snow. As much as she can jam into her mouth. She looks like a diabetic who has just uncovered a stash of spice drops and Skittles and tries to devour them before the Nurse takes them away. After she’s done dining on snowballs, she proceeds to use her nose as a plow, shoveling it into all the foot tracks around us—mine and her own. I stand there immobile like a frozen winter scarecrow because if I move, she just “tracks” me across the lawn. She looks up at me and her nose is covered with fresh downy snow. It looks as though she’s been eating powdered donuts. My heart melts when I see this. She looks like a child who has just raised their head from the bowl of ice cream they’ve been eating to reveal a nose covered in chocolate. This tender anthropormorphic moment abruptly ends when Olive breaks into a run and bolts. (This is the outdoor version of how she behaves indoors when she sees one of her little white pills in my hand.) She’s on her flexi-leash but she’s galloping in wide unbroken circles across the lawn again and again. To her, snow is a playmate. In the distance, a dog barks. The wind blows snow through the air like it’s sand. I am freezing because I am still standing in the same spot like a traffic light. I am just happy that Olive is feeling better and enjoying this moment. Crystals of snow have formed on her whiskers and her chin, accentuating their definition. “HEY OLIVE. ARE YOU AWARE THAT RIGHT NOW YOU LOOK LIKE AN OLD BAVARIAN GRANDMOTHER?” As if to punctuate my sentence, Olive immediately squats and pees.

Ursus Americushionus Couchus

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/19/2012 at 8:11 pm

"OK, I surrender."

“IS THAT A DEAD BEAR LYING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD?” I say out loud. I am actually aware that my voice is simultaneously filled with controlled panic and curiosity. A giant chocolate brown lump lies motionless on the faded yellow line in the street today. The World’s Largest Tootsie Roll? Dinosaur scat? Olive and I are about a half block away from it and the closer we get, the more Olive starts shrinking away from it and moving towards me. At this point, she is so close to me that she might as well have her head up my rear end. I’m not sure why I’m so apprehensive, because whatever it is seems stone-cold dead. Still, it would be a bit unsettling if it actually is a dead bear. And I have Olive with me, so if the carcass begins to rise up as they often do in horror movies, I’ve got to worry about how to protect her. “I don’t know Olive, could it really be a dead bear?” I start to walk a little slower, Olive can’t hear me because she is about 20 feet behind me now. What is so amazing is that this dog understands when something is “out of place.” I’m not quite sure how she knows this, but it is very Gestalt of her which as a former Psychology major, I do appreciate. As we pass the front of the lump, and then the side, we can now observe the lump from the back. I am now in a position to identify the species. It is ursus americushionus couchus. That’s right. It is the largest cushion from an old Lazy Boy couch that looks like it was wrestled to the ground by an obese grizzly bear. I feel both relieved and stupid at the same time. I may have really crappy eyesight, but I have an inspired imagination. “LET’S KEEP GOING OLIVE. WHO KNOWS WHAT AWAITS US AROUND THE NEXT CORNER.”

Weimaraner Sphinx

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/18/2012 at 8:28 pm

"It MOVES."

As I sit here writing tonight, Olive is curled up like a 24-week old fetus on her brand new Bowser bed in the kitchen. She just came in here a few moments ago to check on me. Seeing that I was safe and had not been abducted by neighborhood vermin, she returned to her new “chocolate bones” microfiber bed. When I purchased this item at Well Bred Pet Store, the owner expressed surprise that I was getting a medium-sized bed for my weimaraner. “OH, THIS ISN’T HER REAL BED,” I say. “THIS IS JUST HER RESTING BED. IT’S SORT OF A COMFORTABLE WEIGH STATION WHILE I’M IN THE KITCHEN.” When I selected this bed, I wanted a fabric that was soft, a little fun or contemporary, wouldn’t clash with the new rug I want to get for the kitchen and was not too big. Well, three out of four isn’t so bad. I get the bed home and drop it in the corner of the kitchen and the thing is as big as a flying saucer. Twelve-hundred people could climb aboard and escape to the moon on it. Then, Olive climbs up on it, ready to sit down, but her legs are as unsteady as a drunken sailor’s. I don’t know what the hell is inside this bed, but it gives the impression that it’s an inflatable. It doesn’t really “give” that much. This is totally unacceptable to Olive. She now races around in a thousand circles this way and that trying to flatten her new “nest.” When this doesn’t work, she starts to maniacally scratch at it with her front paws as though she is digging to the earth’s core trying to find an earring she dropped in the bathroom sink. And then, finally, she gives up and just plops down. And now, I can’t get her up from it. This dog is a riddle wrapped in an enigma and cloaked by a sphinx.

The Indognity of It All

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/18/2012 at 7:47 pm

"Is that an electric RAZOR?"

What does the inside of a dog look like? It’s dark. Very, very dark. And by the looks of Olive’s abdominal ultrasound, like a snowy picture on a TV set. Really, it looks like what a blind person might see feeling their way around a dark room. It sure is clear why you have to be trained to read these things. Do you think that these are the same people who scour the beaches with metal detectors looking to find precious items? I guess ultrasounds are easier to read when there are no apparent serious issues, which thankfully is what Olive’s recent ultrasound revealed. There were no foreign objects although if you look very, very closely at one of the pictures, I think you might see the outline of a pheasant (just kidding.) Inflamed intestines, but nothing more. Not that that’s great, but it’s way better than many of the alternatives. I waited impatiently while my dog was being scanned like a bar code at the supermarket. I sat on the hard, cold, germ-resistant plastic chair waiting for my sweet little taupe pooch to re-appear. About two hours later, Olive is led back into the waiting area, straining on her temporary in-patient leash to get to me. The veterinary assistant hands her over to me and removes the communal leash as I place Olive’s collar around her neck and attach her worn leather training leash. Olive heads straight for the exit. “OH, C’MON OLIVE. IT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN THAT BAD. AT LEAST IT WAS AN EXTERIOR ULTRASOUND.” She turns her head and looks back at me as if to say, “OH YEAH? YOU WEREN’T EVEN THERE. THEY SHAVED ME!” Oh the indignity (or is that indognity) of it all. I actually didn’t even notice this until much later that evening when Olive was laying on her side snoring peacefully, safely away from the electric razor. They didn’t shave much. They didn’t have to. The undersides of a weim might be characterized as miles of bright pink skin. It is almost exactly the color of the Eberhard Faber Pink Pearl erasers that kids in the early 60s used to have in school. It looks like they mowed the lawn on a high setting on one side of her abdomen. Now home, Olive, completely exhausted from today’s ordeal, gobbles down her new bland dinner of boiled pasta, chicken and cottage cheese. After licking the bottom and sides of the bowl, she turns to me, oblivious to the fact that tiny white boulders of cottage cheese sit perched atop her Mt. Rushmore-like brown nose. My heart grows about four times bigger when I see this. “OLIVE. COME OVER HERE SO I CAN KISS YOU UNTIL YOUR HEAD FLIES OFF.”

Atomic Diarrhea

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/14/2012 at 2:35 pm

DO NOT DISTURB

Today, the plan was to drive down the Parkway to the Jersey shore to visit a boyhood friend of my father’s. I was going to interview him and his wife as part of my genealogical preservation efforts. This couple is but one of a handful of people still living who knew both my parents (now deceased) and whom I myself have memories of when our families got together over the years. I had planned on taking Olive with me as I take her everywhere that she is welcome. However, the trip had to be postponed as Olive is recovering from two days of atomic diarrhea. There was no way I was going to leave her at home crated for up to 8 hours under these conditions. Not for her safety and because I didn’t feel like turning her crate and the finished basement into a monochromatic Jackson Pollack painting. I also didn’t think it was fair to take a dog suffering from explosive bouts of diarrhea to someone else’s house. I mean, how do you apologize for that. “I’M REALLY SORRY SHE SPRAYED YOUR COUCH. DO YOU HAVE ANY BLEACH?” Besides, it would be a new experience for Olive and therefore, even a bit stressful for her which was the last thing she needed. It started on late Thursday afternoon, when Olive assumes the familiar “poop-crouch.” As she starts to push, it sounds like an explosion detonates. Neither of us expected this and Olive is so startled by the sound alone, that she jumps up, does a 180, and looks behind her as if to say “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?” Really, if it wasn’t so pitiful, I would have laughed out loud. This happens again and again and while I am monitoring her for signs of dehydration, I am getting a little freaked out because it just deteriorates to the point that when she crouches, it looks like a garden hose spraying mud. What now, I think? This dog has a digestive system that is as sensitive as an exposed nerve. There is no apparent thread of consistency between situations when Olive experiences these episodes, which makes it just maddening. On Friday we go to the vet who admires my deftness in securing a non-contaminated sample of the diarrhea in a disposable plastic mealsaver. “ IT ACTUALLY WASN’T SO HARD TO GET,” I SAY. “I’M JUST GLAD I DIDN’T GET SPRAYED.” (I suppress the desire to tell her about Olive’s massive series of explosions on the carpeting in the basement yesterday which I still have to RE-clean. The funny thing was, Olive kept going into the two bathrooms just prior. My God, does she think that THIS is where she should go under these circumstances? This dog is so smart it’s scary.) We discuss what it could be affecting Olive, what it probably is, (irritable bowel syndrome) what we can do to help her right now and what next steps we should take. $261 later, my dog has been injected with fluids subcutaneously to keep her from dehydrating, she has three prescriptions for medication (Carafate, Metronidazole and Reglan), and her watered-down stool is being tested for Giardia. Oh, and she has an ultrasound scheduled for Monday morning. That’s $350. If I were someone going to med school for people, I think I’d rethink my career. Veterinary science and petcare doesn’t appear to have been compromised by insurance companies yet. Since I feel so sorry for Olive, and because I want to keep one eye on her, I let her sleep in bed with me last night. I didn’t sleep at all. She seemed to sleep fairly well until about 4am, when she just couldn’t get comfortable no matter how many times she spun around to change position. And now I hear her stomach gurgling like a backed-up sewer pipe. When I finally rise from bed a few hours later, Olive stays uncharacteristically curled up on the bed. I go over to her and kiss the top of her velvety-soft head and her beautiful amber eyes look up at me as if to say. “I’M NOT MOVING.” So, I leave her there and go about my morning rituals. At around 9:30 that morning, the vet calls to check on Olive’s progress and to report that the Giardia test came back negative. That’s a relief. Getting rid of Giardia is like trying to get rid of dandelions. By now, I have administered all three doses of medication to Olive and she actually seems to be feeling a little better. This sounds counter intuitive, but because a weimaraner’s energy level is always at 150 precent, when Olive’s not feeling well, it’s at about 120 percent, so it’s a little difficult to identify listlessness or lethargy. Today as I write this, I’m trying to keep Olive calm and relaxed. It seems to be working. Right now, she’s curled up in her sage-colored Orvis bed in my office and casually sniffing the dry heat being emitted from the electric baseboard heater. Once she gets up, she’ll do what she’s been doing for the last three days; staying so close to me while I’m walking that it’s as if she’s been sewn onto my pants leg. God, I love this dog.

 

Olive Gets a Monkey

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/12/2012 at 8:11 pm

Weimaraner Grammar

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/12/2012 at 8:05 pm

"WHO goes there?"

“If an intruder has not yet come inside, doesn’t that make them an extruder?”

Bookends

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/11/2012 at 4:42 pm

"WHAT did you expect?"

If it’s not one, it’s the other. As Olive and I jauntily approached the entrance to the dog park last Saturday morning, I spot a Great Dane the size of a thoroughbred trotting around the perimeter of the fence. “NOT GOOD NEWS, OLIVE. THE BIG BLACK BUFFALO IS HERE TODAY.” This means that for Olive’s safety, we have to remain quarantined in the small dog area. Not Olive’s favorite. “Black Buffalo” is one of three Great Danes that visit the park somewhat regularly. One is fawn-colored and the other, a Harlequin Dane. Usually the trio arrive at the same time with their java-junkie owners who remain in a tightly curled clique by themselves. While the Danes appear very friendly, their size (150+ pounds) makes them potentially dangerous to other dogs. Twice now, Olive’s been trampled by two of them, spinning end over end with dirt and pebbles flying, yipping throughout the ugly collision which seems to occur in agonizing slow-motion. It makes me mental to watch. It’s like watching an 18-wheeler roll over a sedan. While I understand there was no aggression involved, my dog could have been hurt and it seemed that only luck prevented her from being injured. It’s hard not be angry at the Danes and yet you can’t blame them. Clearly, the wreck was unintentional. In fact, I kind of like the Danes; they have better manners than their owners who never stop to ask, “Is your dog alright?” Now, flash forward 24 hours. Olive and I are at the dog park on Sunday morning enjoying the bright winter’s day and the company of the other medium-sized dogs and their owners. After about 45 minutes, a woman shows up with a 7-month old ball of black fur that was so small, it looked like a fleece dog toy without stuffing. ‘HOLY CHRIST. ARE YOU KIDDING? SHE’S BRINGING THAT TINY SOCK IN HERE?” I mutter mostly to myself. “Tiny” comes bounding in and to her credit seems completely non-plussed by all the much larger dogs surrounding her, lining up for turns to sniff her naughty bits. However, my dog seems unusually fixated on this ball of fluff and while Olive does not have an aggressive temperament at all, she is by breed, a hunter of small animals and has a “strong, instinctive prey drive.” People desiring to own a weimaraner are cautioned in skyscraper-size type that weims may “tolerate” cats but many may “chase and kill small animals.” As I watch Olive routinely attempt to place her mouth around Tiny’s microscopic neck, I figure I better intervene before my dog starts shaking it by the neck as though it’s a toy. That would not be good. So I grab Olive by the collar, who is desperately trying to resist my attempt to leash her, and say, ”THAT’S IT OLIVE. WE’RE DONE FOR TODAY. THE LAST THING WE NEED IS FOR YOU TO COMMIT A HOMICIDE IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.”

Dog Yin, Doll Yang

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/11/2012 at 10:09 am

"Are you KIDDING me?"

Beautiful dog, ugly doll.

The Unexpected Gift

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/07/2012 at 8:45 pm

"I can't believe it either."

This is a true story. And not a pretty one. The other day, as Olive and I stood on the lawn on the side of my house, facing my neighbor’s country white split rail fence, we both noticed something odd at the same time. About 10 yards in front of us, on the other side of the fence was a large object on the ground. Olive barks at it. I stand there and think to myself “WTF?”  Holding Olive firmly on her flexi-leash, I make my way toward the fence, my steps slowing a bit as I get closer. “Christ. It’s another dead pheasant, Olive.” Mangled and frozen to the ground. “At least it’s not on our lawn this time,” I say to Olive who is now straining at the leash, desperate to investigate the carcass du jour. “Let’s go back in the house and call Ray and tell him he’s got lawnkill in his yard.” As I dial the phone (and why do some of us still say dial when rotary phones disappeared along with the Triceratops?) I mentally calculate the number of dead pheasants I’ve encountered since the Snoctober storm. Too many. For the first few weeks, they were skittering around the property like mice that had dropped acid. Since then, they’ve been dotting the property and the roadway like paint on a pointillist masterpiece. It isn’t over yet. The next morning, I release Olive from her crate as I always do. Except this time, she zips down the hallway, leaps down the stairs and races to the front door where she starts frantically sniffing the bottom of the threshold and scratching with both paws simultaneously at the draft blocker like a serial killer trying to claw their way out of hell. Great. A mouse must have gotten in the house I think. In retrospect, I should have been so lucky. I take Olive outside and as we pass the alcove by the front door, I can’t help but see a black object about the size of a small brown derby cake to the right of the doorway…exactly where Olive was scratching from the other side of the door. As I take this odd sight in and consider the possibilities, Olive is trying to pull me toward the object. “Not a chance, Olive. That looks way nasty even from here.” I bring Olive back in the house and return to the scene of the crime. I don’t know whether it’s dead or alive, but I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of animal. As I get closer and closer, I notice greasy black streaks leading up to the object. I am as close as I’ll get to it now and looking down, I observe the most revolting concoction of blackened feathers, bloody guts and God knows what else. Now I know what it is. Some animal, in the middle of the night, a fox or a coyote, ate too much of its prey and came to my front door to evacuate it out of one of its orifices. Thanks. And I used to think that cats bringing dead pink and grey little voles and headless mice was bad. This sets a new standard in vileness. And now I have to deal with it. I get a shovel from the garage and begin picking it up. As I do this, I can’t help but start to dry heave. I have never been good about cleaning up any type of vomit, dog or human. Multiply either of those by about 50 and that’s what I’m dealing with. I continually retch as I walk across the front lawn, across the street and dump it into the cornfield which has already been transformed into Our Lady of Holy Pheasants. The grass is littered with the corpses of about a dozen of these game birds. I back away and stand there for a second. I’ve stopped retching. I go back in the house and call my neighbor, Ray to tell him about this. Before I begin my story, he says, “Hey, you know that dead pheasant on my lawn yesterday? It was the damnedest thing. I picked it up, and everything was all there…except all its insides were gone.”

Christmas Daze

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/07/2012 at 7:54 pm

"So, that's IT?"

“Christmas is over? I won’t be getting any more presents? I like Santa. I wonder if he tastes like chicken. Ppfffffftttttttt. Excuse me. I must have eaten one too many elves. WHERE IS MY NEW KNUCKLEBONE? Ouch, I think I just layed on my new dental toy with all those nice little plastic niblets that I love to floss my teeth with. Are there any other holidays like Christmas? Does this mean I’m catholic? By the way, that little baby in the manger by the tree? It was very tasty. It’s not my fault. Who the heck leaves a baby in a barn by itself next to a bunch of animals? Now, I’m thirsty. Do I smell lampchop? Is that me? Uh-oh, my stomach is making funny noises. HEY HEY HEY, I NEED TO GO OUTSIDE NOWWWWWWW!

Ring Around The Tail

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/07/2012 at 7:41 pm

"I win!"

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