Patti Soldavini

Archive for May 3rd, 2012|Daily archive page

Driving Miss Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 05/03/2012 at 7:42 pm

“MUST. Sleep. Now.”

Olive has just started her off-leash training class. If you want to see a dog actually sweat, you should see Olive in class where she is required to summon the mental discipline of a Tibetan monk. And for a dog that is hyper-alert like my two-year old weimaraner, it’s like asking a two-year old child to close their eyes when they enter a candy store. The class starts at 7pm and I realize that I’m going to have to contend with “Princess Whiner” when the clock strikes 8pm. This is typically when Olive begins to wind down…all the way down. As in “I WANT TO GO TO BED RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW.” She will start to bark and kvetch until we leave. The odds are very good that this little dramatic display will occur prior to 8 tonight because Olive had me up at 5am today with digestive agita. Out in her pen she began repeating cycles of eating grass and then launching what looked like undried tobacco leaves out her poop chute. It is at this moment that I recall that my Great Grandmother worked as a cigar-roller back in prehistoric times. “NONA WOULD HAVE LOVED YOU OLIVE. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE YOU ARE GERMAN AND SHE WAS FROM LUXEMBOURG.” Shelley begins the lesson and as always, Olive catches on faster than I do. Shelley is tremendously in tune with dogs and can elicit the behavior she wants from them in seconds. It is all completely rational when she explains how to train a dog, but for some reason, it is all counter-intuitive to most of the rest of us. I, on the other hand, listen very attentively to the instructions being given and can’t help but feel like I’m trying to absorb how to invent a Rube Goldberg machine. Olive is so focused, that you can see steam wafting out of her ears. I can feel her body temperature rise. She is working so hard to do well that I’m hoping she won’t pass out from mental exhaustion. Tiny cheese treats are being tossed at her from all directions like machine gun spray and she knows she must stay seated and not go after them. It’s like waiting for a balloon to burst. The suspense is nerve-rattling. “OK. OLIVE. GOOD GIRL. THEY’RE ALL YOURS NOW.” After 40 minutes worth of one-on-one instruction, Shelley and I are talking and Olive is now laying on the floor like a beautiful little sphinx. It’s about 7:50pm. Shelley notes, “Look at her, she can’t even keep her eyes open. She’s done for tonight.” I look at Olive, obediently in the same position, her head starting to nod. She’s not even barking. Not yet. In fact, I think she’s so exhausted, she’d sleep here if I let her. “C’MON OLIVE. YOU DID GREAT. WE’RE GOING HOME.” We get in the car, Olive stretches out on the back seat and is asleep in seconds. One class down, three more to go Olive. If she weren’t sleeping, I’m sure she’d roll her eyes at me.


Pinocchio’s Nightmare

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 05/03/2012 at 6:54 pm

“At your service.”

Olive deserves a bright, shiny medal today. I caught her intently tracking something on the kitchen floor this morning so I walk over, peer under the kitchen table and see a gigantic Queen carpenter ant, complete with slender translucent wings, making her way toward the bare wooden floor in the dining room. “HOLY SHIT OLIVE. QUICK, HIDE YOUR PINOCCHIO TOY. IT’S A QUEEN ANT,” I exclaim as the toe of my loafer comes crushing down on the crunchy jet-black insect. Olive runs over to inspect the mangled corpse, her big brown nose sniffing at it so closely that if she sniffs just a little too vigorously, I’m sure the ant carcass will find its way on a log flume ride up through Olive’s sinus cavity. Disgusted, but very pleased with Olive’s discovery, I delicately pluck the dead Queen from the tile floor in a paper towel and flip it in the garbage. As usual, Olive observes all my movements like a prison matron, waiting for any opportunity that has even the tiniest prayer of exposing food vulnerable to one of her “snatch and run” maneuvers. I try to explain the difference between Carpenter Ants and Carpenter Bees to Olive. “YES, THEY ARE BOTH WOODWORKERS, OLIVE.” A little like you, now that I think about it. In fact, you might want to think about hiding your sticks from them. Because they are in our airspace and our ground space. You have no idea, Olive, but you just destroyed an entire militia of ants so I award you the highest medal of canine honor. Now what are you going to do about the bees?

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