Patti Soldavini

Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

How I am Like My Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/26/2012 at 11:08 am

“Are we TWINS?”

Although I sensed early on that I got a breed of dog that was just like me, it has only become more apparent with the passing of time. We’re both smart and independent. This makes each day a battle of wits between us. Sometimes she wins, sometimes I win. I think the score currently stands at 8,456 to 8,458. I have an easier time picking up the chalk and writing on the blackboard, so I am the scorekeeper. Each of us is highly inquisitive by nature. She will jam her entire head down into a hole to see what’s there, or she’ll dive into a grocery store bag, tunneling to the bottom in seconds, searching for an edible treasure. I will jam my head deep into the refrigerator to evaluate my choices for dinner or plant my face inches from something odd I see on the sidewalk. Both of us get bored very, very quickly. Olive responds by chewing on soft fluffy things until they expire. Or she sharpens her teeth on the furniture. She likes wood so much, that sometimes I think she must be part beaver. We both require lots of intellectual stimulation. I will either read, write, escape to the movies or work on my genealogy. We also run neck and neck on the attention span scale. In fact, she may actually have a slightly longer attention span than me. And that’s not saying much. If there’s not a bright, shiny object or continuous activity in front of either of us, forget it, we’re mentally and physically gone. Both of us are foodies though. Although she has the same meals everyday, she will dine out by herself on gross and stinky things that I assume are tasty, because she consumes them with unabashed glee. I will go almost anywhere to experience interesting food at new restaurants. In the energy department, Olive clearly outperforms me. While I have a lot of energy for someone my age, I’m no match for a 29-month old weimaraner. So, to make sure she gets what she needs, we spend about 90+ minutes at the dog park after work every day. The irony is that I used to be very athletic. My career as an athlete was cut short in seconds during the quarterfinals of the High School Girls State Tournament Basketball Game when I blew out my right knee. If not for that, Olive and I would probably be jogging together daily instead of walking. And each of us can be a bit stubborn at times. Whenever one of us is given a command (her at home, me at work) and it seems ill advised, we both dig in our heels. She also one-ups me on the attribute of being graceful. While I’m no klutz by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve never been called graceful. To me, graceful infers a natural, ever-present fluidity of motion as one moves at all times. That’s Olive. When this dog moves, breathes, or just sits there, she’s as graceful as a ballerina. And this in turn contributes to the impression she creates that she is a member of the aristocracy. The closest I can come to that claim is that it appears that in the 1600s, ancestors of mine were mercenaries for the Duke of Milan. So, although we’re not totally alike, we are alike in many important ways. And although I underestimated many of the breed’s characteristics, somehow, intuitively, I picked the right breed for me. And I think Olive got the right human for her.

The Ceiling Nipple

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/26/2012 at 9:57 am

“But why is it so HIGH?”

As I was taking a shower the other morning, Olive saunters into the bathroom. As a pup, she used to lie down on the rug and oh-so-patiently wait for me to finish before bolting out the door. She no longer lies down or waits patiently. She sits like a Buckingham Palace Guard on the napkin-sized throw rug in front of the sink and doesn’t move a muscle. She sends me a single thought telekinetically over and over and over. “ARE YOU DONE YET? ARE YOU DONE YET? ARE YOU DONE YET?” The other morning was different. I both sense and hear energetic activity that feels and sounds a bit frantic. I peek out from behind the shower curtain and there is Olive standing there staring fixedly at the brand new ceiling light. She twirls around and looks at it from different angles, never once taking her eyes off it. All of a sudden she leaps up toward the light. ‘OLIVE WHAT THE HOLY HELL ARE YOU DOING?” I figure she must be chasing a fly or something so I go back to my shower. Later that same day I’m sitting on the toilet and Olive bursts in, looks up at the ceiling light and just stares at it like it’s a giant Reese’s Cup. “Oh my God,” I say aloud. “You know the light is new.” Nothing gets past a weimaraner. Nothing. This behavior of hers continues unabated for the next couple of days. There’s something else at play here. The new fixture is pretty much the same but instead of having a brass ring and “nipple” keeping the glass dome in place, it’s bronze. Maybe she thinks the “nipple” is a big bug. I tell this story to some friends and show them a picture of the new fixture. Susan says “Well, from below maybe it looks like a giant eyeball to her.” “You’re right, it is kind of creepy when you look at it like that.” And this morning, the truth dawned on me. I’ve mentioned before that Olive was one of a litter of 11 and female dogs have 10 nipples. And I think that Olive didn’t get enough, so she is always searching for the “eternal nipple.” Inadvertently, I have given her the eternal nipple. Except it’s affixed to the ceiling about eight feet above her.

Olive Meets Andy & Simona

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/19/2012 at 9:54 am

“Are you KIDDING me?”

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? Why is everyone but me in MY basement? I smell another dog. No, I smell TWO dogs. I want to meet them. NOW. C’mon, I’ve never met a Shar-Pei before. I promise I won’t scare them. Pleeease? You know I’m not going to stop barking until I get to meet them. And smell them. And possibly lick them. And yes, I might even try to steal some of their food. Who am I kidding. Of course, I’m going to steal some of their food. They smell so….fresh. As in brand new. What are their names? “ANDY AND SIMONA.” Hey Andy, c’mon over here. You’re on my turf and I need to check you out. Dude, did you just get out of bed? You have “bed body.” You need to be ironed. Hi Simona, I’m Olive. Oh look, you have “bed body” too. I thought you guys were young, what’s with all the wrinkles? Do you like my house? And my backyard pen? Don’t eat my sticks out there, especially the black walnut 2012. I’d like to sniff your butts but you haven’t had all your vaccinations yet so I can’t. Oh yes, getting shots is FUN. “OLIVE, YOU’RE SUCH A LITTLE SNOT.”

Condensation Ghosts

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/19/2012 at 9:24 am

“Did you not SEE that?”

Olive was not happy yesterday morning. I think she was actually perturbed to witness something so threatening so early in the morning, just after she had awoken from her beauty sleep. As we cross the front lawn, she tenses up, digs her heels in and starts barking like a banshee at the front windows. Why? Because they are covered in cloud-like formations of condensation. Because I like to keep the house as cold as an igloo in the Summer months. This is completely unacceptable to Olive. They don’t belong there. I (and the neighbors) are now listening to non-stop barking. Punctuated with an occasional low gggggrrrrrrrrooowwwlllllll. This dog cracks me up. I assure Olive that this is nothing to worry about and gently pull her flexi-leash to guide her to the side of the house. “OLIVE. GO POTTY. THERE ARE NO CONDENSATION GHOSTS HERE.” She does what she normally does when she’s serious about going. She starts prancing very, very quickly and suddenly stops to crouch. At least she goes this morning. Sometimes, she teases me and stops and crouches and then she decides she doesn’t have to go. But this morning, she goes. She does the “dog flush,” which is what I call it when they are finished and use their hind legs to scratch the ground a few times as though they are covering up what they’ve left behind.” ‘LET’S GO OLIVE. BACK INSIDE.” As we make our way to the front lawn, Olive starts to slink around the corner like a tiger approaching an innocent doe. She hasn’t forgotten. Sure enough, the condensation ghosts are still on the front windows. They have not retreated. Although she has anticipated their presence, she seems somewhat startled or indignant that they are still there. And the barking aria begins anew.

Olive The Velcro Dog

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/14/2012 at 7:55 pm

All is Right in Olive’s World.

Olive almost wet her pants with excitement when my brother, his wife and my nephew arrived from Florida. Olive raced over to them, her tail literally spinning in anticipation of meeting new people (and seeing my nephew once again.) Olive’s entire body is radiating pleasure as she leaps up to greet each person. Yes, this is one bad habit of hers that I have yet to break. As usual, I announce, “Just ignore her until she calms down. Don’t pet her. Don’t even look at her.” But it’s hard for most people to ignore the unconditional happiness Olive directs their way. They really want to reach out and acknowledge the greeting of this beautiful creature with a tactile greeting of their own. Olive finally calms down, remains on all fours and tracks everyone throughout the house like they are walking, talking bully sticks. I am certain that at this moment, what she is saying to herself is this: “MORE HANDS TO PET ME! MORE BUTTS TO SNIFF, MORE FACES TO LICK! MORE PEOPLE TO PLAY WITH ME, YEA!” Olive spends the rest of the evening reclining on the floor at my brother’s feet like some little geisha doll, laying atop the back of the couch above my nephew like a mini-Cleopatra, and sidling up to Di like an attention-starved child for more innocent canoodling. For the most part, she ignores me as though I am just another piece of furniture that she knows well enough. Occasionally, she glances sideways at me just to make sure that I’m not going anywhere. “DON’T WORRY OLIVE, MY LITTLE VELCRO CUR. I’M STILL HERE. GO CHECK OUT ALL THE NEW PEOPLE.” I love to see her light up with excitement when the house hums with activity. On the occasions when guests visit, it’s like Christmas morning and all the new people are presents that she has received. Each one is a surprise waiting to be revealed to Olive. Early the next morning, though not as early as Olive’s 4:30am awakening, my brother appears at my bedroom doorway in the near darkness as a large hulking silhouette. Olive, lying on my bed by now under her tartan throw goes batshit. She lets loose with a foundation-shaking bark that scores higher on the decibel meter than a firehouse siren. “WWWWWOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF” It was impressive. I’m sure that at the very least, it made the hairs on the back of my brother’s neck stand up for just a second. At worst, it may have scared the morning “BM” out of him. It also made me laugh. Actually, I probably cackled with glee. Later that day, we make our way to PetSmart to buy a crate, bed, bowls, toys, etc. for the two new Shar-pups. Only my family could walk into a store on that sort of mission and as if we are contestants on “Beat The Clock,” be finished and at the check out in under 10 minutes. We are a decisive bunch. With impulsive notes. And a dash of ADHD. We load up the Chrysler Towne and Country rental van and off we go to the breeder’s. To be continued…

Shar-Pei Bookends

In dogs, humor, pets, writing on 08/14/2012 at 6:28 pm

“Hey, Where ARE we?”

Meet Andy and Simona, 10- and eight-weeks old respectively. Here, they are impersonating bookends.

 

Detailing a Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/09/2012 at 7:01 pm

“I smell like an air freshener.”

Weimaraner recently detailed. Smells like fresh red raspberries. Exhausted from being bathed and buffed dry. Not for sale.

The Countdown Begins

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/03/2012 at 7:38 pm

“Hey, who’s THAT?”

Olive and I anxiously await the arrival next week of my nephew’s new Shar-Pei pups. Or, Shar-pups. This should be interesting.

A Love Letter

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/03/2012 at 7:19 pm

“I got MAIL?”

This is the face of the dog that routinely gets me up at 5am to feed her and take her out. This is the face of the dog that quickly sidles up next to me at the dog park when things get tense between two dogs. It’s the face of the dog whose bright amber eyes plead with me when she either desires food or a way out of the vet’s office. It’s also the face of the dog that grimaces when snacking on rabbit scat as though it’s the equivalent of “sour patch” candy. It’s the face of the dog that makes me laugh out loud when she considers whether the command I’ve given her is worthy of being obeyed. It is the face of the dog that looks like an angel when she’s sleeping, her eyes closed and shaded by her taupe-colored eyelashes. It’s also the face of the dog who cocks her head sideways whenever I utter a phrase I know she’s been longing to hear. (Usually it’s food-related.) It’s the smiling face of the dog whose joy is palpable when she meets new people. And it’s the face of the dog who is so smart that she stops me in my tracks to consider just how smart she really is. It’s the face of the dog who is at times insistent, demanding, stubborn, and high maintenance but also inquisitive, playful, energetic, loving, fiercely protective and funny as hell. I love this face. I love her beautiful eyes, her perfectly symmetrical features, her velveteen vein-lined ears and her sweet brown nose. I especially love the distinctive little “cowlick” that softly interrupts the fur on the bridge of her nose. I love the way she drinks out of her bowl and drips water like a running faucet when she lifts her head. I love the sound her ears make when she shakes, like a cowboy’s leather chaps flapping in the brisk wind. I love to listen to her crunching her food contentedly. I love her confidence, her grace, her eternal optimism, her sense of humor and her athleticism. At least once a day, I find myself feeling so grateful to have this remarkable dog in my life. I love weimaraners. And yes, I just may be in love with Olive.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/01/2012 at 6:26 pm

“Well, what did you EXPECT?”

So yesterday, my beautiful ever-alert little loon barked repeatedly at a ’57 Chevy as it exited a parking lot and merged into traffic behind us. I know why she did this. It was noticeably different from its surroundings. Like a square peg in a round hole. Give a weimaraner a test asking them to recognize “What’s wrong with this picture?” and they’ll score higher than a gifted eight year-old child.

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