Patti Soldavini

Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

Dog Sitting Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/28/2012 at 6:42 pm

“Can I EAT this thing?”

A couple of weekends ago, 10 friends and relatives and I trekked down to historic Eastern State Penitentiary to experience their annual Terror Behind The Walls Halloween event. I had wanted to do this for years but wouldn’t go by myself and can’t stand driving to Philly. I feel safer driving around New York. Downtown Philly is a convoluted maze of one-way streets, roads as narrow as the birth canal, and really crappy signage. But acting as the group’s social director, I talked everyone into forking over $37 for a ticket and taking a two-hour ride. Since Olive had only recently gotten over her kennel cough, I wasn’t keen about leaving her anywhere. Luckily for me (and Olive), Katie, one of my good friend’s twenty-something year old daughter agreed to dog sit Olive. I made little trick or treat bags for everyone, filled with everything from plastic spiders and witches’ fingers to candy corn, M&M’s and topped off by one plump nutritious Royal Gala Apple. I also included a green glow necklace in each bag. In hindsight, this was a brilliant addition. By wearing them, we were able to immediately spot each other in the dark no matter where we were inside the penitentiary. Suffice to say, Terror Behind The Walls is an incredible experience. We screamed and laughed the whole way through and are still talking about it. I have been ruined. There is no way I can ever go to any other “Haunted House,” as it will never live up to this experience. Every so often, when we are standing in line, waiting to gain entrance to the “exhibit,” Olive pops into my head. I wonder what she’s doing right now. Is she behaving? Or is she barking like a nut? If you guessed the latter, you would be correct. I arrive home around 11:30pm and as I open the door to the house, am greeted by my tired but still alert poochie. “Hi Katie. Thanks for watching Olive. How was she?” “She barked a lot.” “Yeah, that’s my little nut,” I say while I drape my green glow necklace around Olive’s neck which she immediately tries to eat. She races upstairs, leaps onto the bed and closes her eyes. She’s glad I’m home. And I’m glad to see her. “Goodnight Olive.” “Goodnight Patti.”

Jockey Itch

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/28/2012 at 10:21 am

“What is this PARASITE on my back?

“NO, YOU DO NOT HAVE JOCKEY ITCH OLIVE, THAT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE. THIS IS YOUR HALLOWEEN COSTUME.”

Frankenstorm and Bully Sticks

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/28/2012 at 10:14 am

“What’s a FRANKENSTORM?”

Olive is paying rapt attention to the discussion among the humans at the dog park about the approaching “Frankenstorm.” Yes, that’s actually what the local paper splashed across the front page in monster-sized type on Friday. “The Rise of Frankenstorm.” It has certainly succeeded in whipping New Jersey and New York residents into a tornadic fever. There’s not a “D” battery, jug of bottled water or generator to be had in the two states about now. I had more important things to do. I had to race to the local feed store (the “candy store” to Olive) and purchase a half dozen bully sticks and a giant knucklebone. If Olive is going to have to be confined indoors for the next 24-36 hours, then this is a must or the two of us will go crazy. Indoors, the bully sticks seem to be Olive’s favorite way of burning off some of her energy. She lays on the floor in a sphinx position, stick between her paws, gnawing at that thing with the concentration of a St. Benedictine Monk transcribing ancient scrolls. She barely moves. In fact, if you saw her from the back, you might think you were watching a canine Rabbi performing a circumcision. I think she’s gotten even more protective of her treat lately because she knows that once it gets down to about three inches, I take it away from her. I used to ask her to drop it. She would reluctantly lower her head a few times and finally release it. I’d scoop up the sticky, gooey remnant and race up the stairs to dispose of it. Olive would run alongside me, jumping up repeatedly trying to snatch it from my hands. I finally wised up. Now, I just yell “biscuit,” she comes running to wherever I am, and stares at me with the bully stick hanging out of her mouth like a Havana cigar. She’s waiting to see the evidence. I hold up the biscuit. She drops the fully masticated bully stick and races toward the biscuit. “GOD, OLIVE, SOMETIMES YOU ARE SO PREDICTABLE.” I try to grab the bully twig off the floor in the same fell swoop that I offer her the biscuit, so she doesn’t see me and change course. When she’s done gobbling down the biscuit, her head richochets back and forth around the dining room looking for her bully stick, like “HEY, WHERE THE HELL DID MY BULLY STICK GO?” I’m sure one day, she’ll stop falling for this deception, but for now it still works. A week or so ago, Olive vomited downstairs and as I went to clean it up, I watched something fairly large tumble out of her mouth. It was a 2.5 inch saliva-coated bully stick that was basically teal in color, probably from being attacked by the antacids in her stomach. This is why I need to be more careful. Now, I have to watch her the way a security guard at Wal-Mart watches potential shoplifters. When the bully stick gets to about four inches, I start to rise from the chair and this is Olive’s visual cue to activate “flight” mode. She takes off like a bat out of hell.

Olive’s Lullaby

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/18/2012 at 6:49 pm

(Sweet Dreams)

Rock-a-by Olive, sweet baby girl, when your eyes close, you shut out the world. When your kinetic dreams start, you twitch and you squeak, your legs they start jerking as you quietly fart. Rock-a-bye Olive, my sweet little weim, I watch this somnolent circus in between your food crimes.

 

Red Velvet Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/11/2012 at 8:56 pm

“Is Santa here yet?”

I don’t know what it is about this picture that makes me feel especially warm and fuzzy. It also makes me think of Christmas. I guess, a lot of “red” will do that. Some people see the color red as hot and sexy, to others it signifies anger and aggression and to those like me, it’s symbolic of Christmas. So you see, context really does matter when your brain is absorbing color. Maybe it’s the warm taupe-like brown of Olive on the warm red blankets that makes me feel the way I do. Maybe it’s because she’s curled up like a tiny reindeer. Maybe she’s dreaming of a tiny Santa Paws. Who’s kidding whom? The minute I wrote “Red Velvet Weimaraner,” I started to salivate for a red velvet cupcake. “Yes Olive, I do love you more than red velvet cupcakes. A whole lot more. I could live without red velvet cupcakes, but I couldn’t live without you, you little nutcake.

Canine Candidate

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/11/2012 at 8:04 pm

“HEY, the nitwits spelled my name wrong!”

On our walk today, Olive wanted to show me one of her signs. She’s running for local office. Even she had to laugh that they spelled her name wrong. Either that or she’s figured out what the anagram below her name really spells.

To Kill. A Mocking. Bird.

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/10/2012 at 7:31 pm

“Are you licking your lips TOO?”

That’s right. The punctuation is as I intended. A Mocking bird. As in a black bird that’s mocking my dog. Literally. Well, sort of. Why have I not learned yet? I go into the basement to get something and I see Olive not just wordlessly, but soundlessly laying in front of the sliding glass door. Not moving a muscle. Not even a fraction of an inch. Like a deer, trapped in the blinding glare of the headlights of mechanized monsters. Olive isn’t even paying attention to me as I walk by. That should have clued me in. Should have been a red flag the size of the Washington Monument. But no, I just open the sliding glass door and let her out into her very spacious fenced-in pen. You know the guns that go off at track meets? You would have thought that I pulled the trigger right next to her ear. There she goes faster than the speed of sound. She makes Olympian track stars look like spazzes. And then I see it. Something black flapping around at the far end of the pen. “Holy Shit,” I think. I immediately tear ass after Olive and reach her just as she keeps mouthing a black bird with a shiny blue-black head as it tries to jump up then stumbles back to the ground. It’s an adult and it’s obviously injured. But I don’t know whether its leg or wing is injured or perhaps it has something like West Nile Virus. “OLIVE! LEAVE IT,” I shriek. The last thing I need is Olive becoming infected with West Nile Virus from some stinking bird. I drag Olive, very unwillingly, back into the house. I go back out, pick up my tiny gardening shovel which does primary duty as a stupendous turd-flinger and I try to gently scoop up the bird so I can get it out of Olive’s pen. The first few attempts prove difficult as the damn bird keeps jumping off the shovel spade as soon as I get it on there. By the third or fourth time, I figure I have to be gentle but very, very quick. So, I place the spade under the bird and in one motion fling it outside of Olive’s pen. Let it live or die on its own like nature intended. I go back inside, shut the sliding glass door behind me and Olive remains stationed behind the glass like an Eqyptian Sphinx, unconvinced that her prey is gone. I drag her into the bathroom and wipe down her muzzle and nose like I’m a towel boy at the car wash. “CHRIST OLIVE. HAVEN’T YOU HAD ENOUGH COOTIES LATELY?”

The Drama Queen

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/10/2012 at 6:36 pm

“ME? A Drama Queen?”

Don’t let my little Mensa-qualified pooch fool you. Olive feels much better than she looks. Now she is as miserable as only a weimaraner can be miserable because she has been on cootie-lockdown for the past two-and-a-half weeks. If you haven’t had a weimaraner, you can’t quite imagine how not getting enough exercise on a daily basis affects them. Olive almost loses her mind trying to burn off energy inside the house; racing through 2,500 square feet as though she’s being chased by wolves. Executing dozens of circles around her bed until she gets so frustrated, she starts frantically digging at the bed while emitting a high pitched whine like a turbine engine that just won’t turn over. Or, if you play tug of war with her using an old towel, she yanks the towel that’s clenched between her teeth back and forth so rapidly, I’m afraid she’s going to give herself whiplash. Observing all of this is actually not the least bit funny. Her frustration is so deep that it actually feels like it’s painful to her. By the way, this is also the face she wears when she tries to telepathically send the same message over and over and over. And that message is always this: “FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD.” Thank God, her recent insatiable lust for food has diminished substantially now that she’s off her cootie meds. Of course, that still doesn’t stop Olive from trying to steal my Moo Shu Pork dinner right of my plate. “RIGHT OLIVE. HAVE YOU ANY IDEA HOW YOU’D FEEL AFTER EATING THIS? YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM WOULD BE DOING SOMERSAULTS AND YOUR POOP CHUTE WOULD FEEL LIKE A SPACE SHUTTLE AFTERBURNER. NO WAY. GO STARE AT THE BIRDS OUTSIDE.” She stares at me with her beautiful amber eyes and jumbo pupils and I just melt. I am so happy she’s feeling better.

GoldiOlive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/08/2012 at 7:33 pm

“WHERE’s my damn porridge?”

Ah, this bed is just right.

Dog Impersonates Zombie

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/06/2012 at 12:02 pm

“Did I just pee?”

Me on the telephone with the Vet last week: “Hey Doc, you know this cough suppressant you prescribed for Olive? It’s probably a muscle relaxant, isn’t it?” Doc: “Yes, why?” Me: Because I’ve been doing more laundry than Cinderella the past few days. Apparently every time Olive falls asleep…wherever she falls asleep…her bladder empties. Completely. As in the Hoover Dam has been drained.” Doc: “That will stop about three days after you stop using the medication. You can wean her off it if she’s not coughing.” I look over at a subdued but no longer miserable Olive. “You need to stop coughing sooner rather than later,” I say. And so began Olive’s treatment for “tracheobronchitis.” The only saving grace is that I caught it early enough when it was just in her throat. It never made it to her lungs, which could be dangerous because it can cause pneumonia. It all started with a thought that pushed its way into my consciousness about two weeks ago. Why is Olive so quiet? I wondered. Hardly a peep out of her and she loves to “talk.” Weimaraners love to hear themselves speak. They would make great carnival barkers. (Pun actually unintended) And then I hear a faint whispery bark. Am I crazy? I wonder. Did she just sound hoarse? I consider the options for a nanosecond and decide that this must mean that she barked her head off while she was at camp. I go back about my business. By the next day, she starts “hacking and gagging,” as though she is choking on something. It seems a little odd, because when I inspect her mouth (with the delicate touch of a burly plumber), there’s no foreign object to be found. Whatever, I think. Maybe she just choked on saliva which is what I tend to do a lot now that I am over-ripening with age. And then the hacking and gagging continued. No, this is just not right I think. “Guess what Olive? We’re going to the Vet today.” Sure enough, she’s diagnosed with this dinosaur-like sounding condition; a form of what’s commonly referred to as “Kennel Cough.” While Olive had her Bordatella shot months ago to protect her from the KC Cooties, it’s not foolproof. It’s like the flu shot that humans get. Just because you get the vaccine, doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu. Olive was also placed on Clavamox (antibiotics). This too has a side effect I was unaware of. Me on telephone to Doc again: “Yeah, Doc, Olive is starting to act like a feral dog around food. I mean more so, than the usual weimaraner food-whoreishness. Like she’s a zombie that hasn’t eaten since World War 1. RIGHT AFTER SHE’S EATEN DINNER. Could the antibiotics be doing this to her? I’m afraid that when I go to sleep, I might wake up like that little girl in ‘Night of The Living Dead,’ who chomps on her dead father’s arm.” Doc: (Chuckles). Yes, the antibiotic contains prednisone and that is what’s probably stimulating her appetite. This will go away after you finish the course of treatment.” Olive stands in the doorway, staring at me while I’m on the phone. Her eyes seem to be glowing blood-red, and I think she may be drooling somewhat excessively. The four-legged zombie approaches. Me: “Thanks Doc, I have to go now. Zombie Olive is calling me.”

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