Patti Soldavini

Olive’s Christmas Card

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 11/19/2012 at 7:36 pm

“Are we done yet?”

This year, I thought it would be fun to sit for a photo session with Olive to create this season’s Christmas card. Of course, the conventional “two-shot” of human and pooch would not do. It would have to be more creative. I considered different ideas and a variety of props. Antlers for Olive were out of the question. She flings anything off her head like a slingshot. And while they fit better on a human head, there was no way I was going to wear them. Shamefully, I admit, we tried both anyway. Olive does look better in them than I do. Let’s start with the basics. “Olive, where is your fire engine red cable knit sweater?” It was easier to figure out what Olive would wear; her wardrobe is much smaller than mine. I run out to Wal-Mart for some holiday “props,” and return with four boxes of colored Christmas lights, three sets of white snowflake Christmas lights, two big gold glitter bows, and a dead partridge in a pear tree. Just kidding about the last one. At home, I clumsily rummage through the plastic containers of seasonal décor which I have yet to yank out of the closet. Within reach is a cheap Santa’s hat, soft fuzzy brown antlers with small reindeer heads at their apex, and William Wegman’s “The Night Before Christmas” book. Not bad. These will do. I call my friend Jill and ask her to come along because I think she’ll have fun and she can be the principal “dog wrangler.” I thought this shoot might be a bit more challenging than Olive’s glamour session last year because in this session, she’d be going through more costume changes than Lady Gaga. It was going to be important to manage Olive’s patience and her desire to eat all the props. Inside the studio, under the hot lights, I remove Olive’s virgin wool sweater and ignore her question about what’s a virgin wool. It’s a good thing I “buffed” her before leaving the house. Too lazy to give her a shower before we came, I took the easy way out and gave her what some refer to as a “French whore’s bath.” I tore off a few paper towels, wet them under the bathroom faucet and ran it over her face and torso. For some reason, I felt compelled to clean her little pink armpits as well. Then, I had the brilliant idea of buffing her with a brand new chamois cloth. “My God Olive, I think it’s working. You actually look shinier.” It did work. Jill arrives at my house and the first words out of her mouth are “Olive looks absolutely radiant!” Kismet. “Maybe that’s because her AKC name is Watchpoint ‘n Camelot’s Radiance.” Yes, True ‘Dat. At the shoot, we try lots of different scenarios and props. Olive as always is curious beyond measure but unfailingly well-behaved. She looks good in anything. I can’t say the same for me. I feel like Mrs. Claus’s fatter sister. Olive starts to get antsy at about the 75-minute mark. What a trooper. She now looks like she does in the photo above with Tracy, her professional personal photographer. Like she’s just eaten a sour patch kid and is still constipated. We try one more set-up and believe it or not, this one will probably yield the best pictures. But you’ll have to wait to see those. Now I have to figure out how to allow Olive to autograph them. And P.S., that’s who I named Olive after, the little dog in the book and movie, “Olive, The Other Reindeer,” because I liked the name and it was a nod to the late Idgy, the Wonder Dog who actually looked like the cartoon Olive.

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