Patti Soldavini

Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

Dog Tired

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/29/2012 at 3:41 pm

(And on the eighth day, she rested.)

After seven days of dog camp, this is what Olive looked like about 20 minutes after we got home. ‘I’M NOT TAKING ANY CALLS OR EMAILS. MAY I HAVE A BLANKET? AND I’D LIKE MY PAWS BATHED WHILE I’M SLEEPING.”

Dog Hypnotizes Other Dogs

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/29/2012 at 11:48 am

“Yes, it’s true. I control the whole pack with just my eyes.”

She’s just so damn good at this. Some days, especially in bright sunlight, she looks at me with those beautiful amber “marbles” with pin-point-sized pupils and I instantly become immobilized. I stand there like an idiot waiting for a command.

 

Olive Goes to Camp

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/29/2012 at 11:26 am

“Yeah, these are my peeps.”

Where do I begin? I am still recovering from my “lost week.” The week I had to spend away from my lovable pooch. The only reason I wasn’t looking forward to my business trip to San Francisco, aside from the six hour flight that feels like 12 when you are jammed into Japanese-sized seats that require a can opener to get out of, was that it would be the first time I was ever separated from Olive for more than 2 days. I had to drop her off late on a Sunday afternoon because my flight was scheduled for what I have historically referred to as “Farm Time.” That means prior to 6am. And if you live in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the country and a state that is a major transportation thoroughfare, you know what traffic is like. Especially on a Monday morning. Rush hour starts at about 5am. So, if you’re flying out of Newark Liberty International Airport and you live about 45 minutes from the airport, between traffic and security check-in, you need to leave your house three hours prior to your flight. As I started to pull out of the parking lot at Four Paws Playground, I distinctly heard Olive barking her head off behind the fence. I stopped for a minute, very sure that it was her as there was just this single, solitary voice barking plaintively, clearly saying in dog speak, “DON’T LEAVE, DON’T LEAVE, DON’T LEAVE.” Ugh. And so begins my separation anxiety. For the next seven days I call the dog camp inquiring as to how Olive is doing. And they tell me the only thing they can tell me. “She’s eating, sleeping and playing. She’s doing very well.” I don’t know what I expected them to tell me. “Oh, she’s in dance class right now. Next, she goes to a cooking class, and then, she likes to relax outside with a Martini and the other weims around a fire pit.” If only Olive could tell me herself, I’d feel more reassured. As someone who is both imaginative, empathetic and somewhat OCD, I have to work hard not to put myself in Olive’s position. I place myself in her little horse-like stall at night, on her toddler bed and look out, surveying the room. And I think to myself, “It’s so dark in here. And noisy. And where is Patti?” That’s about as far as I get and think to myself. “Are you crazy? She’s fine. Get out of the stall.” However, no matter how hard I tried, Olive was never far from my thoughts. I spent much of the trip anticipating how happy I’d be to see her when I picked her up. Some friends asked how Olive behaved when I picked her up, as in “Did she go crazy with happiness?” Olive was very happy to see me, but she didn’t go mental. I like to think she’s a confident dog, and I’ve never encouraged intense greetings and partings. However, when we got home and I opened the door, she shot past me and ran through the whole house like a reindeer at dawn breaking. You could actually hear her body proclaiming with joy “I’M HOME! I’M HOME! I’M HOME!” I’m sure she had a good time at Camp, but as we all know, there’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed after a week of sleeping somewhere else.

On Top of Mount Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/08/2012 at 4:14 pm

“Am I there yet?”

On top of Mt. Weimaraner, all covered with fur, I lost my grey lunchbox to some other cur.

Zippety-Poop-Ah

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/08/2012 at 4:04 pm

“My God, WHAT is that stink?”

Well, I warned everyone at the local dog park that I would be writing about this. It seems that Harry, the burnt copper-colored mixed breed dog prefers poop to people. When Harry gets to the park, he races into the field like a bottle rocket and proceeds to run  around the perimeter of the dog park. I’m not sure if he thinks he’s checking boundaries, or making a statement about his desire to put as much distance between him and all the humans in the park. He’ll play with other dogs, but if you’re human, you won’t get closer to him than a foot or two. He takes off in a blur before your hand ever touches his fur. And soon enough, we’ll see Harry rolling on his back over and over in the grass, kicking his paws up high like a Rockette. That’s because he’s struck gold. He found a nice pile of dog crap and is rubbing himself all over this exotic fragrance. I look over at Olive, who is standing near me watching this display. Even she’s not sure what to make of it. ‘”OLIVE. DON’T YOU EVER, EVER THINK OF DOING THAT. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?” As I emphasize the words “Ever, Ever,” her ears pivot back somewhat and flatten to the sides of her head. Her eyes are as big as saucers and I swear she looks slightly afraid. Harry circles back by the humans, and from about 12 feet away, you can see the poop caked on and smeared across his red collar (and yes, I am gagging as I write this). His owner then describes how the worst part is when they leave. Back in the car, Harry wants to nuzzle her as she’s driving. I’m actually giggling semi-uncontrollably as his owner is saying this. As I’m laughing, I’m thinking to myself, “Thank God, weimaraners as a breed don’t like to be dirty.” I look at Olive and with a straight face ask: “SO, OLIVE WOULD YOU LIKE A CRAP SANDWICH FOR DINNER OR CHICKEN?” She cocks her head sharply when I come to the word “chicken.” Smart dog.

Grinning From Rear to Rear

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/08/2012 at 3:29 pm

“Yes, I CAN smile from the back.”

If you look very closely, you’ll see a wide smile, a long nose and two Jack-o-Lantern eyes.

How I am Not Like My Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/04/2012 at 7:32 pm

“We converted ANOTHER one!”

Oh this is easy. Olive genuinely likes people more than I do. I was once told by a Boss that I preferred the world of ideas to the world of people. A very sharp observation. In fact, one that made me more self-aware. And you can add dogs after ideas. Then people. The world can credit Olive with making me a little more social. See, you can teach an somewhat mature human new tricks. Especially, if you’re being taught by a weimaraner.

 

Napping With Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/04/2012 at 6:53 pm

“This is called a NAP?”

All week I haven’t felt quite well. A low grade headache and maybe even a fever? But the best (sarcasm) is the feeling of having a pile of damp sand sitting at the base of my throat. Or is that my “cough box?” You know, the one that decides to wake up and go to work in the middle of the night. The one that cranks up the rusty machines and manufactures enough sandpaper to make an army gag. Ugh. And to feel this way when it is constantly damp and humid outside makes it even worse somehow. Even though I am indoors most of the time. It’s the typical East Coast time of year when nature tests our constitution to see just how much ragweed, pollen, and other of nature’s dander we can take. I thought I had a sinus infection and that it might run its course without intervention. But by last night I’d had it with the headache and fever, so I went to the doctor today. And you know what happened? The minute he said I had bronchitis, it gave me permission to feel worse. So I got the prescriptions filled, went home, walked in the door and announced: “C’MON OLIVE. WE’RE TAKING A NAP.” So I take one of the antibiotics, and crash on the guest bed which for some reason is my favorite place to nap when I don’t feel well. Probably because it’s the coldest room in the house, hence I refer to it as the “ghost bedroom.” Olive jumps on the bed and lies next me. Circling only a few times before she decides not to rest her ass on my face. “THANKS OLIVE FOR NOT GIVING ME THE TAIL.” Ahhhh. I love taking naps. (I probably should have been Mexican or French.) I love them even more with Olive beside me. Especially when I don’t feel well. It feels very “meatloafian.”

Weimaraner Wisdom

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/02/2012 at 7:19 pm

“Be quiet. I’m thinking DEEP thoughts.”

I am a lucky dog. Literally and figuratively. I sit at the feet of my pack leader on this fine Saturday afternoon observing the world around me both four-legged and two. The leaves are falling again. Some may see this as evidence of Summer weeping, but not I. Leaves are simply nature’s way of announcing change. People come and go. Some tall, some tiny. They are a curious bunch. They stop and point at me and say nice things. There is a gentle breeze today. I feel it on the ridges of my ears. It transports a variety of scents that waft past my nose in delicate waves. Yes, this is the life. When humans say, “It’s a dog’s life,” this is what they mean. I live in the present at all times. I don’t worry about what’s ahead and I don’t mourn what’s past me. I sit here, relaxed, in the company of my pack leader, in a state of sublime peacefulness. Unlike my pack leader, I am unburdened by many responsibilities. I have one. To protect my pack leader. It keeps me very focused. At least as focused as I can be. The funny thing about living in the present is that it makes time stop. It allows me to enjoy the smallest moments in my day, one at a time. Maybe that’s why I feel so content. Because instead of each moment rushing by in a blur or stuck somewhere in the past, I experience each moment fully. So, even though our lives do not measure the same number of years as the humans who love and care for us, I think we live our lives more fully. Thank God, I’m a dog.

Slumber Party Animal

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/01/2012 at 9:50 am

DO NOT DISTURB

This is what Olive looked like when she returned from her first overnight stay at Dog Camp. She snored like a wildebeest. It was probably a combination of factors that led to her state of near-exhaustion—which is a state of nirvana for a weimaraner. On the upside, she got to spend every other hour playing with lots of other dogs. On the downside, it was the first night she slept somewhere unfamiliar without a human that she knew. I’m sure Olive adjusted much better than I did to this separation. My separation anxiety was worse than hers. When I first dropped her off, one of the “Camp Counselors” took her leash from me and Olive strained to return to me. I think I actually felt the umbilical cord snap. Returning home, when I walked through the door of the house without Olive, I will admit I felt ever so slightly “free.” This feeling was very short-lived as it immediately cascaded into a deep feeling of guilt which arrived like a stake through my heart. Luckily, I had so much work to do, it kept my mind off Olive for a few hours. But later on, after dinner when I sat down on the couch to watch TV, I started to realize just how much Olive keeps me active. I didn’t have to get up five times to let her out or find her bone, or answer a summons for a bully stick. I was shocked at just how lazy I might be without her. I tried not to think of Olive. At 8pm I realized they’d be putting her to bed. A strange bed. But a toddler’s mattress with a blanket inside a small horse stall. (Really) So that was comforting. I finally went to bed around 10pm and slept fitfully until 3:30am. “Is Olive okay?” I wondered. “Is she sleeping?” Probably. I go back to sleep. And then the nightmares begin. I dream that I go to pick Olive up and they return the wrong dog to me. “THAT’S NOT MY DOG,” I say with a mixture of indignance and anger. Then they bring out some other dog. It’s not even a weimaraner and it’s all twisted and deformed. “THAT’S NOT OLIVE,” I say with mounting anger. “Oh, don’t worry, she’ll be alright when she straightens out,” they say. Now I am starting to freak out wondering if my dog is gone. And then I see Olive. And she’s standing there, her beautiful little face looking forlorn and she’s holding up a front paw and her knee is totally wrecked, exposing a splintered ball and joint and it’s hollow inside; there’s no blood whatsoever. It’s just empty. At that moment, I awaken a bit shaken. It’s 6:30am. I pick up the phone and call the Dog Camp and say: “This is Patti Soldavini. Please give Olive her complimentary bath. I’m picking her up in an hour.” I get up, shower, run to Panera for a coffee and start speeding down the county highway. When I arrive 20 minutes later, Olive is led out the door into the reception area where I await her presence like an anxious parent awaiting their child on her first day of Kindergarden. Out she comes wagging her tail at 100 miles an hour. She is perfectly fine and very happy and as we pull out of the parking lot to head for home, I swear I see her glance back wistfully as though she won’t be back until next Summer.

Spot The Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/01/2012 at 8:56 am

“Olly olly home free!”

Where in the world is Olive?

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