Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘anatomy’

Happy Tail

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/19/2011 at 9:56 pm

A brief (23 second) video starring Olive’s charismatic tail. My first attempt at editing audio in imovie. A little sloppy, but a good start. One of my favorite things about Olive is how she expresses so much emotion through her tail. What you are about to see is how Olive’s tail behaves for much of the time during a typical day. More discussion on her tail at a later date. Enjoy.

GreyDog’s Anatomy

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/13/2011 at 9:44 pm

"Is that a NIPPLE!"

It happens every day. On our walks, Olive and I are inevitably greeted by a passing pedigree-ignorant stranger with, “Is that a Greyhound?” By now, after encountering 18-months of this, I probably either scowl or chuckle without realizing it. “Actually, she’s a Weimaraner. German. A hunting dog. Go ahead, lay down on the sidewalk and she’ll bring you over to me in her mouth.” I never verbalize the last part, I just think it. I used to think that the reason why Olive gets mis-identified as a Greyhound is because she is grey and she’s a hound. But I’ve come to realize that it’s more complex than that. One of my friends pointed out that it might be because Olive is so tall. Even when she’s not in her Jimmy Choos. I also think it’s because Olive has a deep barrel chest, well developed “brisket,” AND a very high “tuck up.” In non-dog and non-medical terms, it is an elegant, accentuated upward slope of her undercarriage. I can’t believe  it’s taken me this long to so eloquently articulate this. (Heavy sarcasm) “OLIVE. GET OVER HERE. I NEED TO CHECK YOUR UNDERCARRIAGE.” “NO WAY. YOU JUST WANT TO COUNT MY NIPPLES AGAIN.” She’s right. I have been obsessed with this ever since I realized that dogs have only 10 nipples. (I can’t believe I just said ‘only.’) What is the significance of this? It means that Olive’s mother Lacy, who had a litter of 11, was one nipple short. And to this day, I’m convinced that Olive was the pup shortchanged by this genetic fact. Why do I think this? Because my dog will spot a nipple of any kind from as far away as Neptune. Any kind of nipple. The nipple on a baby bottle. On a balloon. On an exercise ball. On a tire. On a swim tube. Poor Olive, always chasing the eternally missing nipple.

Ancestry.Dog

In weimaraners on 04/11/2011 at 8:06 pm

Olive's Mother

Olive’s family tree, emblazoned with an Official American Kennel Club seal, traces her ancestry back four generations. It hangs in the hallway on the Benjamin Moore Aura paint-colored wall aptly called… “Weimaraner.” It is surrounded by frames documenting her extended human family. A collection of sepia-toned and black and white photos of my grandparents, great grandparents, parents and cousins and color photos of younger generations, my brothers and sister, my nephews and my niece. Mostly Italians with a few Germans infiltrating the family ancestry.

While Olive’s family tree does not include photos, it is populated by dozens of evocative names. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. Legacy. Main Attraction. Moonlite Becomes You. Simply The Best. Go For The Gold. La Femme Nikita. Star Attraction. Just Do It.” And “Happily Ever After.” Quite a contrast to some of the names on my tree: “Narno. Donato. Grazia. Rosangela. Yolanda. John. Clara. Josephine. Andrew.” I wonder what my AKC name would be if I were a dog.  Possibly something that suggested equal measures intelligence and goofiness. “Einstein’s Clown?” “Bozo’s Philosopher?”

One thing is clear. Olive has good genes. Yesterday, we were stopped on our walk four times by passersby (and driversby). They all said the same thing. “Beautiful dog.” True, you don’t see Weims that often. But Olive is a beauty. She has clean lines, a gorgeous face, a just-right tail that proudly impersonates an exclamation point, and genetically perfect feet; like they could be the slender feet of a hand carved mahogany table. Which is why I can’t understand why she sometimes lays on my bed, stares at herself in the mirror and barks and growls at herself.  She’s probably bemoaning what she perceives as her imperfections. Or, it’s a coincidence and she’s just got gas.

Girly Dog

In Uncategorized on 03/22/2011 at 9:01 pm

"Does my ass look BIG?!!"

“DOES MY ASS LOOK BIG?” said Olive, as she turned around to get a good look at it herself. This from the pooch that stares longingly at herself in the mirror every day. Last week she mini-puked once or twice. Once in the backyard. Once in the back of the car. Hopefully this is not a sign of Bulimia. She barely touches her breakfast so I don’t think she’s a binge eater. But wait, she does eat her dinner down to the linoleum floor. DOES that make her a binge eater?

Olive does seem a bit preoccupied with her image. Sometimes I catch her licking her giant Jayne Mansfield-like chest which compels me to verbalize “OLIVE. KEEP DOING THAT AND I’M GOING TO CALL YOU ‘TIT LICKER.’” She lifts her head, stops licking momentarily and looks at me like “YOU’RE KIDDING, RIGHT?” “KEEP LICKING AND YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A BALD SPOT ON YOUR CHEST,” I reply. “THINK ABOUT THAT, BALDY.”

She holds my gaze for a few seconds before she cranes her neck backwards and starts licking her ass. This is Olive’s way of getting the last word. It works.

Corner Chewer

In weimaraners on 03/14/2011 at 8:09 pm

Yes, I’m talking about you Olive. I am about to blow your little secret wide open. My beloved pooch has a corner fetish. (Olive is hiding behind the chair right now, blushing.) She is a Herculean “Corner Chewer.” She puts backhoes to shame. She finds anything that comes to a right angle—a point—impossibly irresistible.

What do I mean by corners? I’m talking the beveled glass desktop in my office. The microfiber-upholstered arm of the couch. ANY cardboard box, whether it housed tampax or a refrigerator. ESPECIALLY if it came from amazon.com. Dog toys made of particleboard. The seat of the copper-colored wicker kitchen chairs. Any object that comes to a sharp, unfriendly, threatening, point, you name it. Olive seems to live by the code of “IF IT STICKS OUT IT MUST BE GROUND DOWN.” Isn’t this an old Chinese proverb? Wow. Olive may actually be smarter than me.

I give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she’s trying to make the world a safer place and envisions a world full of circles, dots and holistic, friendly, non-threatening curved lines. (Or maybe I’ve just accidently swallowed an LSD tab.) Maybe she feels she’s being threatened by these seemingly inanimate protusions and must demonstrate a Mike Tyson-like show of force to achieve dominance. Better she uses her canine teeth (Isn’t the word “canine” a bit redundant when discussing a dog’s oral anatomy?) to tear corners off things instead of ears off people.

More likely, she is just sharpening the rows of chiclet-white blades inside her mouth. Although I get the feeling that Olive will still be teething when she is 102 human years old. But the most practical explanation is that she’s just bored. “REALLY? WELL SO AM I. I’VE BEEN STUCK INSIDE THE HOUSE ALL WINTER TOO BUT YOU DON’T SEE ME PROJECTING ALL MY PENT-UP ENERGY INTO MY TEETH, DO YOU?” This dog is plowing through bully sticks like a buzzsaw or a wood chipper. I should invest in the bull penis market because I spend at least $100/month feeding Olive’s bully stick habit. The irony of all this is that she has much better teeth than I do.

Dance of The Ears

In Uncategorized on 03/13/2011 at 11:01 pm

Tonight, Olive is glued to the TV watching Marmaduke on HBO. I think the only thing she finds more interesting than dogs on TV is talking dogs on TV. She is more than engaged in what she’s watching. She is enraptured. Lying on the floor, eyes dilated like flying saucers, Olive is taking in the love story unfolding between the Great Dane and the Collie. Let’s hope there’s no humping scenes.

When the action starts to amp up or the dogs approach the screen as if they are going to jump right through it, Olive races to the TV as if she’s been shot out of a cannon, her nose mere millimeters away from the glistening six-inch nose on screen. She proceeds to bark until her head falls off. When she settles down, she sits about two feet away from the screen…WATCHING. Seated on the couch behind her, I watch her cock her head from left to right mentally processing the images racing toward her. Her ears seem to respond to what her brain is processing, twitching in ways that suggest a natural intellectual choreography. I like to call this Olive phenomenon, “Dance of The Ears.”

I go upstairs for a glass of water and when I reach the dining room I peer over the edge through the oak railing balusters. There’s Olive lying in a sphinx position on the floor, still watching the TV. It’s Olive, but the behavior is so familiar, that what I see is a three-year old child in her pajamas watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. Maybe Underdog. Or Ren and Stimpy. Definitely not Top Cat or Courageous Cat. Nothing else exists in this moment except the fascinating world unspooling before her on the TV screen. The only way it could be any more real is if she were holding a bowl of cereal in her paws.

All is well until the movie cuts to a commercial. And the doorbell rings. On TV. Lately there seems to be a lot of commercials that include ringing doorbells. I want to kill these advertisers. Olive goes batshit and runs to the front door. She will not stop barking until I open the door and show her that there’s nothing there. “IT’S JUST THE DOORBELL GHOST,” I say. “GO BACK TO WATCHING TV. LOOK! YOU JUST MISSED A HANDSOME GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER! HE LOOKS LIKE HE SMELLS GOOD TOO.” Olive looks at me quizzically, her head cocked to the side, with one ear flipped back. She looks at me as if I am a pot roast that has just materialized out of thin air.

Adonis Genes

In weimaraners on 03/10/2011 at 8:52 pm

Guess what? I went for something called a hike on Saturday! At a neat park in the middle of the woods. It was so nice and stinky. Here a stink, there a stink, everywhere a stink, stink. So many great stinks I almost passed out from olfactory overload. Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell’s poodle once urinated by a tree in this park? I also uncovered a petrified hairball coughed up by King Tut’s filthy hairless cat. And you won’t believe this, but did you know that bears actually do shit in the woods? Geez, the TV is loud right now. Why isn’t Animal Planet on? How come there are no dogs on American Idol? I want to see the Pedigree commercial again! Deep into the woods, we run into the strangest looking Collie I’ve ever seen. It looks like he’s wearing a Dingo’s coat. Or the coat of an Australian Cattle Dog. Or maybe its just an old lady in some rotting carcass of a raccoon coat. Anyway, the Dingo’s human looks straight at me and says, “Is that a show dog?” YES! WINNER! WINNING! I HAVE ADONIS GENES AND TIGER BLOOD! Oh look, some deer scat. I think I’m hungry. Is this what having the munchies is like? Sigh. Sometimes being a Weimaraner can be such a burden. I always have to look beautiful. Thank God I don’t have to wear lipstick. Or bras. I think I have six nipples. Did I just hear a bird? I guess they’re defrosting. What is ADHD?

Selective Listening

In Uncategorized on 02/05/2011 at 11:25 am

"I can't HEAR you."

Amazing Colossal Weim

In Uncategorized on 02/05/2011 at 11:21 am

Olive seems to be turning into the amazing 50-foot colossal Weim. The kitchen counters no longer interest her. Why bother when you are tall enough to stick your head into the kitchen sink and lick the dirty dishes? Yes, her tongue actually reaches the bottom of the sink. Sitting at the kitchen table, looking at Olive from behind, it appears that there is a very tall brown-grey person (with long ears and very skinny legs) standing at the kitchen sink doing the dishes. I think, “What is Ghandi doing in my kitchen?” The only time Olive’s head pops up as fast as a champagne cork being released is when a) she sees my neighbor’s car going down the driveway or b) she hears a broken record going “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, OFF, OFF, OFF, OFF!” Sometimes, she gets down a little too casually, like a 5 year-old being told to ‘PUT DOWN THAT LOLLIPOP NOW!” and complying very reluctantly.

This morning, after being reprimanded for “sink licking,” she promptly races into the dining room as if a roasted turkey is calling to her and places her paws strategically on the sofa table so she can admire herself in the oversized gold-framed mirror. I kid you not. She stares at her reflection for about six seconds and then satisfied that the answer to “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all? is…OLIVE, she jumps down. Is this the result of so many people fawning over Olive, telling her she’s so beautiful? Or is it just the Weim’s natural confidence and healthy self-esteem? Or maybe there was a juicy-looking bug resting on the frame of the mirror.

It has become quite clear to me that Olive enters every room looking for opportunities to establish her dominance and be “Queen of The Mountain.” She sizes up her opportunities like a 5-star military strategist, instantly identifying objects she can stand on to become taller than me. It is like an endless game of “King of The Mountain.” I swear I can hear her under he breath saying, “Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah.” In my office, she stands on top of my old titanium briefcase like Mary Lou Retton balancing herself on a narrow wooden beam, elevating her head about 6 inches above mine. She stares longingly at the lampshade and waits for me to turn my head so she can begin delicately exploring it with her teeth.

It is funny though to walk in to the living room and see my graceful pooch perched on top of her 48-inch crate, looking absolutely non-plussed. “WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?” she seems to be saying? ‘GO FETCH MY BONE. IT’S UNDERNEATH THE COUCH. THEN, MAYBE I’LL GET DOWN OFF MY CRATE.” As directed, I search for Olive’s bone. This necessitates my dropping to all fours (just like her) with my ass pointed to Mars, stretching my arm the depth of the couch like a mechanical claw until my hand reaches the drool-glazed prize.

Smell-O-Vision

In Uncategorized on 01/29/2011 at 4:55 pm

"My God, what IS that stink? It's delicious!"

Caricature

In Uncategorized on 01/29/2011 at 4:33 pm

If you were to caricature a weimaraner, you’d start with its nose. Definitely exaggerate the nose. Because the only time it’s not plastered to the ground experiencing the world in a way that we humans only dare to imagine, it is joyfully spelunking inside its dinner bowl. Whereas Superman had x-ray vision, dogs have the olfactory equivalent. Olive can sniff out an air biscuit at least a mile and half away. Imagine the potency of sniffing another dog’s poop shute at point blank range. Thank God our olfactory sense is as dull as a two by four compared to a dog’s.

Next, make sure you exaggerate the dog’s fixed gaze; the pinpoint pupils of its amber eyes scaring birds right out of trees, leaving a pointillist scattering of tiny corpses under each tree trunk. Every time I see Olive fix her stare skillfully with laser-like intensity on some unsuspecting bird nearby, it reminds me of the original “Children of the Damned” movie. God forbid they lock eyes, the bird’s a goner.

Don’t forget to portray the Weim as exceptionally intelligent. For example, as I write, Olive is doing an impersonation of a Middle Eastern woman wearing a burqa. She is standing next to the love seat in the living room and has used her snout to flip the yellow fleece throw across her face, leaving only her eyes visible. I’m not sure if she realizes that this act of feigned modesty will not be appreciated by Middle Easteners as she remains completely naked from the face down.

You’ll also want to find an imaginative way to show the dog’s Olympian reservoir of energy. You could introduce a solid rocket booster to the drawing, strapping it onto her back. Or you could add a tornadic element, using a series of lines to suggest the dog’s perpetual motion. Or maybe just tear a hole in the paper as a symbol of the dog’s inability to remain still for more than a micro second.

And finally, draw a heart about 5 sizes too big. Because Weimaraners are exceptionally loving pooches. They love their humans. Even more than birds.

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