Patti Soldavini

Archive for July 4th, 2012|Daily archive page

To Board or Not To Board?

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/04/2012 at 10:16 am

“But will I have my OWN bed?”

Last weekend, Olive and I took a ride out to Four Paws Playground to tour the facility and meet the owners. One of the “Dog Moms” at the local dog park recommended Four Paws as a great place to board your dog. Since I’ve had Olive, I have never left her for more than a day or two and always in the hands of her trainer or friend. I performed some cursory research on local “kennels” and was largely unimpressed. Most seem like nothing more than “dog warehouses,” and little attention seems to be given to dog behavior. I was pleasantly surprised with Four Paws. It’s run by a husband and wife team who live on premises and who clearly understand the needs and behaviors of dogs and their breeds. The wife trains the staff who, while young caretakers, seemed to go about their business with a maturity unusual for their age.  Dogs that are boarded sleep in small horse-like stalls with beds, not crates. They are given free run outdoors in fenced-in areas according to their size. And most impressively, their day is structured so that they are inside for an hour, outside for an hour, etc. throughout the day. A great way to allow the dog to rest, and minimize the opportunity for anything from heatstroke to fights. While the owner says they run it like a daycare center, it actually seems like it’s run more thoughtfully than your average daycare center. In order to bring Olive on the tour, I had to present proof of vaccinations and a negative Giardia test. If I ever want to board Olive there I have to fill out a lengthy application and then prior to her boarding, take her there for a day so they can observe Olive’s behavior and get to know her. Brilliant. The dogs are treated as individuals not just as a species. It’s hot as hell as Olive and I walk into the front door. We are greeted by the wife and both Olive and I hear what sounds like many dogs barking behind a door. They obviously smell a new guest. The tour begins as we walk through the door and into a sea of dogs barking. Barking so loudly that the caretakers wear the sort of sound mufflers that the jet jockeys on airport tarmacs wear when guiding planes into and away from gates. There must be 50 crates full of dogs barking. Most seem to be large breeds. These are the daycare dogs who are inside during their “hour in.” It is a bit intimidating for me and more so probably for Olive, who is now both viewed by the crated dogs as fresh meat and fresh meat off leash. Olive tries to make herself small, by slinking low as we wind our way through this maze of canines. I ask if they have experience with Weimaraners and am told “yes,” as the owner points to a large crate occupied by both a grey and blue Weimaraner. Unbelievably they are not barking, just observing the intruders with laser-like intensity. We emerge on the other side where we see more dogs running around the fenced in areas and splashing around in the wading pools. Olive seems to feel much more comfortable out here and approaches the fence to greet the dogs outside. The owner and I chat a little more and then it’s time for Olive and I to make our way back through “Dog Hall,” and out the front door. I am very impressed with how the owners operate their business. They seem to have created something very unique and special. Olive’s had enough stimulation for the day though. As she usually does, she signals that she’s ready to leave by starting to bark insistently. Very subtle this dog. About as subtle as a fart.

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The Mushroom Couple

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/04/2012 at 9:23 am

The Sun Worshipper.

Another hot, steamy day. The kind of day that makes you fantasize about skiing. Snow skiing. The central air conditioning unit kicks on and off, then on again moments later. If it were human, you’d hear it sighing and groaning throughout the day. The ceiling fan blades slice through the air in every room at high speed. I’m surprised the house doesn’t take off like an Airbus A380. All the lights are off and the blinds are drawn. Olive and I have been living like mushrooms deep inside a tropical forest. I am surprised that we have not encountered the Mad Hatter or Alice herself. I have changed my name to Shiitake. Olive has changed hers to Portobello. It is one of those days that remains eerily quiet because everything and everyone has been stilled by the heat. I remember well these Summer days as a child. No one was outside, nothing moved. The sun seemed to rest on the nape of your neck. The song of the cicadas continued unbroken throughout the day. It was one of the rare days where we stayed inside to watch baseball games with my Grandfather. We might venture out to the corner candy store to stock up on Bazooka Joe bubblegum, MAD magazine, Devil Dogs and baseball cards and walk home quickly. On these days, it was about the candy, not the walk. Usually, it was the walk itself that was the most fun. As I write this, I hear Olive downstairs sloppily drinking out of her shiny metal water bowl. I love when she lifts her head and the water just drips from all sides of her mouth like Niagara Falls. This beautiful, flawless animal stands there looking like a child whose face has just emerged from a basin of water filled with bobbing apples. As I crank the thermostat down to 68 degrees, I look out the window and can see Olive happily roasting on the deck outside like a pig on a spit.

Weimaraner Hyenas

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/04/2012 at 8:17 am

“Do we look like a couple of HYENAS or what?”

Olive and her friend Luna, a blue Weimaraner who visited recently. After chasing each other around the yard, drinking out of the wading pool they walked into and out of and repeatedly knocking over the bottled water and iced tea the humans placed on the side table, they shared a laugh.

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