Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘barking’

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.

Double Dog Show

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/02/2011 at 8:05 pm

This is how Olive behaves whenever she sees other dogs on TV. Non-stop. If I let her watch “Dog Whisperer,” she’ll bark for 30 minutes straight. I’ve actually caught her barking when just Cesar Milan is on. (My eyebrow is raised right now). Who knows, maybe she has a crush on him. They do say that weimaraners often bark just because they like hearing their own voice. Christ, they must really be Italian and not German. Or, it’s a genetic trait they inherited from a very pompous blowhard of a dog; probably a dog that was a lawyer in another life. Probably, a dog that was a defense lawyer.

Weimaraner Zebra

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/30/2011 at 7:20 pm

"NO, I'm not quite feeling myself yet."

Last Monday night, I dropped Olive off at her Trainer’s in preparation for my out-of-town business trip the next morning. I am grateful that I can leave Olive in the hands of someone she knows and someone who knows how to handle dogs—even the most challenging. As Shelley and her daughter Amanda secure Olive in the crate in the back of their car, I feel the familiar separation anxiety (mine), which like an air biscuit in church, I try hard to suppress. Little did Olive know that she’d end up with a human companion who is actually much like herself. I try not to think about her as I drive home, focusing on navigating my way through the thick fog suspended above the roads like endless giant cottonballs, deciding that I should no longer take the long, winding, narrow, steep back roads at night ESPECIALLY when it’s so foggy out. I get home and turn on the documentary “Something’s Wrong with Aunt Diane” on HBO. It is both catastrophically sad, chilling and perplexing. I wonder what Olive is doing right now, I think. Every so often, I continue to think about Olive throughout the next three days at my business meeting. I really do miss her and hate being away from her. Yeah, I guess I’m head over heels in love with my goofy dog. I wait until early Wednesday evening to text Shelley: “IS OLIVE BEHAVING?” Zing. The reply? ‘NO, DID YOU GET MY EMAIL?” ‘NO, IS EVERYTHING OKAY?” Zing. I can’t even wait for the reply; I panic and immediately call Shelley who informs me that Olive barked non-stop from the time she got her home at 10pm Monday night until 4am on Tuesday morning. “SHE BARKS AT EVERYTHING,” says Shelley, ‘BUTTERFLIES, BIRDS, BEES, THE WIND, YOU NAME IT.” She barked so much in fact, that the three teenagers living in the house, vacated it in the middle of the night. And then I remembered. This house was new to Olive, and there were new people living there; it was now a more active environment that Shelley lived in. This kind of change is challenging to Weims who are always in a state of “high alert.” “THAT’S NEW, BARK BARK. THAT’S DIFFERENT, BARK BARK. WHAT’S THAT? BARK BARK. WHO ARE YOU? BARK BARK. WHAT’S GOING ON? BARK BARK. I felt sorry for everyone. No one in Shelley’s family got to sleep. And poor Olive was on guard duty all night in an unfamiliar house filled with new, unfamiliar faces. She probably felt overwhelmed by the challenge of trying to “manage” all the kinetic activity around her. She sure must have barked herself out because when she returned home, the first time she barked, it sounded funny; unlike her usual barrel-chested bark, it sounded somewhat strained. Like a fat opera singer with laryngitis. Pitiful. She also seemed a bit tranquil and tentative at the same time. Like someone who couldn’t decide if they were just exhausted or had post traumatic stress disorder. She marched straight into her Beverly Hills 90210 crate last night and went right to sleep. She even skipped jumping up on the bed to spend some time with me. Today, after our walk, Olive spent much of the day stretched out on top of the back of the couch, sunning herself in front of the South-facing windows like a grey panther in the Great Plains of Africa who has just finished a very satisfying wildlife meal. Back home. Back in her quiet environment. Back to her dinner mixed with sweet potatoes. Back to just having to watch one person. Back to being herself. Right now, she’s in the dining room, zonked out on the pony-print chair, head resting on its arm, snoring ever so lightly. Peace at last. For all.

Naked Crate

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/29/2011 at 9:48 pm

"IT'S ABOUT TIME YOU'RE HOME."

“You’re finally home. I’ve been up for days. Where have you been? I barked so much I think I ruptured my bark box. Why did you leave me? Are you okay? Why am I only speaking in sentences of three words? Did you know that I had to sleep in a NAKED crate? One without any soft downy pillows and fluffy blankets? Christ, my bony ass hurts. I’m thirsty. Why couldn’t you take me with you? The garbage can stinks like hell. Not a good idea to throw a 15 pound frozen turkey in it on a 106-degree day and then take off for three days. Thanks for finally moving it away from my pen. Can I have a bully stick? Did you miss me? Can I sleep next to you on the couch? I missed you. ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

Disturbing The Cemetery Peace

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/24/2011 at 7:56 pm

"SO I barked. Sometimes you talk too much."

Today Olive and I drove down to the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown, New Jersey. It was an opportunity for me to complete a genealogical task; to photograph the bronze grave marker of one of my ancestors. It was a good excuse for both of us to get out. Having been effectively quarantined for the past 10 days trying to avoid the Persistent Satanic Heat Blast and nursing my infected Lyme rash, I figured it would be a good break from hiding inside the house like twin crypt keepers. The red fabric blinds have been drawn all week, making it look as dark and claustrophobic as the inside of a mausoleum. Off we go. Olive climbs into the back seat of the SUV and takes her spot (the middle) on the olive-colored bench cover, looking as expectant as a child on Christmas morning. I plug in the GPS and as usual, she immediately contradicts the route I was going to take to stop at an ATM first. Whatever. I get to the ATM drive-up and there are three cars ahead of me. Cars one and two come and go pretty quickly. Car three, immediately in front of me, apparently has massive issues that I don’t think a bank can solve. He must have pressed every button four times. “HOLY CHRIST OLIVE, WE’RE GOING TO BE HERE FOR A MONTH. I THINK THIS IDIOT IS TRYING TO PLAN HIS VACATION, THAT OR HE’S TRYING TO COMMUNICATE WITH EXTRATERRESTRIALS.” Olive just looks at me. Perhaps she thinks extraterrestrials are giant treats. Finally, the constipated clown in front of us moves and I complete my transaction in seconds. It’s easy. I need some cash. This is an ATM, Unfortunately, it doesn’t dispense brains. About 90 minutes later, we arrive at our destination, just as I’m wondering why the electronic beeyotch told me to turn left instead of right. I let Olive out to pee and give her a drink of water. As usual, trying to locate a grave inside a cemetery is needlessly complex, like a topographical M.C. Escher print. Really, what’s with the convoluted sectional numbering? Section KS. What do they do, hire cartographers to chart cemeteries? I see a marker for Section KN and one for KW, but WHERE THE HELL IS SECTION KS? As we make our way around the cemetery roads in circles, I see a melancholy sight. A man sitting in a canvas chair with an umbrella on it right in the middle of the lawn, obviously next to a grave. You could sense this was how he spent every Sunday. And you also sensed he would be spending the entire day here. This fleeting impression made me feel that it was a father at the side of his son’s grave. Very sad. Just a very short way away I finally locate section KS. I get out, open the windows for Olive and start looking for my ancestor’s grave. All the markers are bronze and flush against the ground. This gives the cemetery the appearance of being the least populated cemetery I’ve ever seen or the kind of park that one would never associate with so much sadness. There is another family close by, paying their respects. I am now about 100 feet from the car and apparently I’ve crossed some imaginary line as Olive begins barking like she sees ghosts that I do not. Mortified that she is disturbing the peace of families paying their respects in a veteran’s cemetery, I stop, look back, and not thinking, place my finger to my lips, giving Olive the universal human signal for “QUIET!” Olive understands this (when she wants to), but right now, I’m far enough away from her that she can’t see this command. And it’s not like I can use the dreaded spray bottle from hundreds of feet away. I stop to face her and she stops barking. I turn away from her and she starts in again. I think I’m doomed. My best bet is to find the grave marker as fast as possible, say a prayer, take a picture and get the hell back to the car. I do this amid Olive’s insistent barking and when I turn around to begin the walk back to the car, my little Tasmanian Devil goes mute. The best is yet to come. While I was only outside of the car literally for less than 10 minutes, apparently the GPS beeyotch has suffered a stroke. Which I don’t know until I start the car and begin driving. “GO .04 MILES AND TURN LEFT ON CONSTITUTION DRIVE… GO .03 MILES AND TURN RIGHT ON CONSTITUTION DRIVE.” “WTF?” I say out loud. I swear you could almost hear the tension of ambiguity in her electronic voice. It gets much worse. “HOW TO MAKE A SPAGHETTI SANDWICH, STAY TO LEFT.” “SHEEP ARE BISEXUAL CREATURES. TAKE RAMP ON RIGHT.” “TODAY IS ADOLPH HITLER’S BIRTHDAY, TAKE ROUNDABOUT.” Okay, so she didn’t go to Crazy Land quite this way, but really, it was as if she just stepped off a rollercoaster and couldn’t get her balance. I took her off the dashboard and put her in front of the A/C vent. “TAKE 1-95 FOR 3,048 MILES TO ICELAND.”

Octostick

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 06/11/2011 at 10:39 am

"I see dead STICKS!"

Late Thursday night, when I took Olive out after the thunderstorm, we barely made it out of the garage before she begins barking like a banshee and shrinking back from something she obviously finds threatening. I squint my astigmatic eyes and step out a few feet to trigger the motion sensor lights. I do a quick visual scan of the front yard and there it is. While I am always afraid of coming face to face with a bear, the intruder that Olive is barking at is…a leafy bough that has fallen from the tree and lays like a beached Blue Whale on the front lawn. This dog has a gestalt mind; always recognizing “things out of their place.” I sigh with relief, grateful that I don’t have to protect my pooch and myself from being used as a toothpick and then torn apart and eaten by one of the American black bears that have already been roaming the neighborhood like zombies. However, Olive will not stop barking until I have confronted the motionless interloper. I walk out to the middle of the yard to retrieve the “Creature from The Black Lagoon,” dragging Olive behind me on her flexi-leash. It’s one of the few times it’s not unspooling like an off-track rollercoaster. She continues to bark intermittently as she charges forward, sideways and backward as if she’s as animated checker on a checkerboard, changing her mind instantaneously and repeatedly before making a definitive move. Olive is incredibly agile, executing 180-degree turns in fast forward (and reverse) with the grace of famous French trapeze artist Jules Leotard. It is funny to watch. “FOR GOD’S SAKE OLIVE, IT’S ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS. A STICK. AND IT HAS MULTIPLE HEADS.” For emphasis I add, “IT IS THE OCTOPUS OF STICKS!” I drag the bough across the lawn and driveway and place it next to the garbage can. It will probably stay there a week before I feel like cutting it apart to dispose of it. Olive runs over to inspect the captured prey, cautiously sniffing it. By the third sniff, she sinks her teeth into the injured branch. “HAPPY?” I ask Olive. She ignores me as the sawdust starts flying.

Ginger Rogers

In weimaraners on 05/22/2011 at 4:16 pm

"Why get up? It's raining AGAIN!"

Olive is resting on top of the back of the love seat right now. The crank out windows are open, so she is enjoying the cool breeze on this, the seventh consecutive grey day. She alternates between barking at joggers and cyclists that pass by in a kinetic blur and the neighbor pulling into or out of his driveway in his fire engine red truck. Any insects that fly between the inside of the window and the screen torment her. She tries to catch them, stabbing the screen with her snout repeatedly. Ultimately she can no longer restrain her canine instinct and thrusts her front paw at the screen tearing a slight hole in it. The most amusing confrontation so far was watching Olive stand on the couch with her head down by the window’s opening, immobile like a deer trapped in the headlights of an oncoming ambulance. I go over to the window and look out. Within 24-36 inches from Olive’s nose are two robins fighting, mating, doing some sort of semi-aggressive dance. Who knows, maybe it was an old married couple just squabbling about whose turn it was to yank some worms out of the ground. Olive cannot believe that these two fresh delicacies are moments away from touring the inside of her digestive system and yet, they are so far from her, they might as well be picnicking on the face of the moon. I can feel her frustration. And while she doesn’t actually lick her lips, I can sense that mentally, it is exactly what she’s doing. Do you think it’s ironic or tragic that I live in a rural area, across from acres of farmland, and my backyard sounds like an aviary in the Spring? My poor (or lucky, depending on your point of view) weimaraner, is surrounded by a congress of crows, a dule of doves, a flock of geese, a charm of goldfinches, a band of jays, a raft of loons, a parliament of owls, a host of sparrows and a descent of woodpeckers. My initial assumption is that they must all taste alike. But then I think, like fish, they each must have a distinct taste. I’ll never know. Not unless a) Olive actually catches some and b) she learns how to talk. She could have scored one last week as a small robin limped across the lawn, but I said “No fair, Olive. This one’s hurt. You have to get one that’s not handicapped.” “OH AND THAT’S FAIR TO ME, HANDCUFFED TO THIS FLEXI-LEASH? she says. “Yes, Olive, you are Ginger Rogers. You have to do everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels.”

Cinderella’s Sisters

In weimaraners on 05/14/2011 at 7:51 pm

"It's my JOB to watch you!"

Last weekend, Olive and I went to visit her mother Lacey, her sisters Gem and Crystal “The Pistol” and her Aunt Ava which makes this sound like a scene from a Christopher Durang play. Gem (already winning at shows) and Crystal are beautiful too, but they are slightly bigger and “doggier” than Olive. Unlike Olive, the Duchess of Weimbridge, they spend much of their time outdoors with the rest of their melodious pack. We arrive at the breeder’s house and Crystal and Gem are energetically racing back and forth inside their zoo-sized pen like two squabbling sister panthers. Or panther sisters. But NOT sister wives. I don’t think that Olive realizes that she is related to these dogs. All she knows is that they are dogs AND they look like her. Deborah puts Gem and Crystal in the house so Olive can have the pen all to herself while we sit at the picnic table on this bright, sunny day. Lacey and Ava are in separate pens nearby, quietly meandering around their pens. Ava who just delivered a litter of eight in March, is giving her nipples a rest. Good thing too, because they are hanging down so far, they may reach Cape Horn. Olive is disinterested. All she knows is that she has been separated from me. She’s not crazy about this ESPECIALLY when she can see me. As far as Olive is concerned, she is as alone as Papillon on Devil’s Island. “WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO.” She stops intermittently, presumably to catch her breath, or gobble up some dirt. God forbid I even look in her direction. It starts all over again. “WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO.” “OLIVE, FOR GOD’S SAKE. I’M RIGHT HERE. GO EAT A BIRD. LOOK! THERE’S A UNICORN.” Besides their beauty and brains they also have something else in common. A set of lungs the size of Peru.

Olivepalooza

In weimaraners on 04/05/2011 at 8:37 pm

"Want to hear me YODEL?

Olive is quite the vocal pooch. The deep, basso profundo growl she sustains when expressing her displeasure at a bird trespassing in her airspace. “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY SIGHT OR I’LL SNATCH YOU RIGHT OUT OF THE AIR AND EAT YOU ALIVE!” Or the yearning hauntingly sustained howl she uses to signal her dismay at being left alone. “MY-HEART-IS-BREAKING-INTO-A-MILLION-PIECES.” Then there’s the skull-splitting bark she uses when she’s either signaling her urgent need to go outside to drop a lawn cigar or when she wants you to know that she’s very angry about being crated just because she clipped my head with her rock-solid hind quarters when she became airborne leaping over me while I sat on the couch. “NOT. MY. FAULT. LET. ME. OUT. OF. THIS. BIRD. CAGE. NOW!” Of course, there’s my personal favorite, the “nose whistling.” During these moments, you’d be right to mistake her for the world’s greatest flutist. “DO RE ME FA SO LA TI.” The only thing missing is a series of bright metallic keys on the bridge of her nose. I close my eyes and picture her standing on all fours on stage at Carnegie Hall. A very tiny, very round person dressed in a diminutive tuxedo daintily raises Olive’s petite tail and blows air into her behind while Olive deftly plays the keys on her nose. The pitch and range of the notes she’s able to hit are at the very least, American Idol-worthy. But the one noise she makes that never fails to startle me is her yawn. It sounds incredibly human-like. “EEEYYAHHHHHH.” It’s almost a little creepy. Now she’s snarling a bit like a frustrated bull because her softball-sized red tennis ball just bounced off the wall and shot under the couch. I bend down to retrieve it and when I look under the couch it looks like Christmas. At least five of her toys are huddled together seeking refuge. “SHHHHHH…WE ARE NOT REALLY HERE.”

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.

Animal Crackers

In weimaraners on 03/03/2011 at 8:17 am

I’ve decided that every time the school bus stops in front of our house, Olive goes loony because to her it looks like a box of animal crackers. “LOOK AT ALL THOSE CUTE PINK AND BROWN LITTLE CANDIES INSIDE THAT YELLOW BOX.” She jams her head through the cranberry red fabric blinds and barks as though she’s just discovered the bones of a Pterodactyl in the front yard. ‘LOOK! LOOK! LOOK AT THE GIANT BIRD BONES!” I haven’t looked closely yet, but I’m sure there’s dog spittle all over the blinds.

She eyeballs the parade of children marching into the big yellow box one by one until the last one, no doubt a passive-aggressive adult-in-training, gets swallowed up into the mouth of the metallic carton. Olive’s head pivots repeatedly as she tracks the coordinates of each little jujube. I can see her mentally counting them like a flight attendant confirming passengers before takeoff. “PIG PEN… AIR BISCUIT… BOOGER… PRINCESS… PROSTITOT… FRECKLES…”

This scenario replays itself later in the afternoon when the big yellow carton pulls up in front of our window to empty itself. Olive mounts the love seat as though she is waiting to greet Moses on Mt. Sinai and between “code red” barks begins re-counting… “PIG PEN… AIR BISCUIT… BOOGER… PRINCESS… PROSTITOT… WAIT A MINUTE. I DON’T SEE THE FAT FRECKLED KID. WHERE IS HE?”

Olive’s bark is much worse than her bite. It’s loud and hearty and full-bodied. It has “cojones.” It declares in no uncertain terms, “DO NOT SCREW WITH ME. I WILL TEAR YOU LIMB FROM LIMB IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE. TRY ME.” It is comforting. I know whenever Fed X or UPS has arrived before they even pull into the driveway. I know when my neighbors are outside or pulling into or out of their driveways. I know when a jogger or cyclist passes by. I know when the trash is picked up and when the mail arrives. All without even looking out the window.  Anyone approaching the property lines gets the weimaraner inquisition.

Of course, if they ever came inside the house, that would be a different story. My 10-month old trusting pooch would greet them as if she were coming face to face with Santa Claus for the first time.

Weimaraner World

In weimaraners on 02/18/2011 at 6:06 pm

You should see Olive when the garbage truck stops by to “steal our trash.” She races into the living room, flies up on the love seat like she’s an Olympic pole vaulter and barks her head off. “GET YOUR FILTHY PAWS OFF OUR TRASH,” she seems to be saying. “I GET FIRST DIBS. OH MY GOD, THERE GOES THE ROAST CHICKEN CARCASS.” I’m sure that if she could see the bully stick remnants I tossed out, she’d absolutely shriek in horror.

Thank God, she hasn’t seen one of her headless plush animals tumble out yet. She waits until the local Sanitation Engineers return our trash can to the bottom of the driveway, finally turning away from the window after the truck starts to pull away. Time to turn her attention to something else. I look up from my laptop to see Olive frenetically rubbing herself on the living room carpet, contorting her body like a circus freak and then it dawns on me. She’s found a stinkbug. ‘NO, NO NO. STOP RUBBING YOURSELF ON THE STINKBUG OLIVE!!!” “NOT GOOD, NOT GOOD.” Christ, now she smells like this repulsive insect. To her, it’s eau de pafum. To me, it’s a reason to puke. Thanks, Asia.

As I pick up the squashed, fetid bug, Olive races out of the room as if her short fuse of a tail is on fire. Where is she, I wonder? Apparently she’s made a pit stop at the local watering hole. I hear her greedily slurping water out of the toilet bowl as though she just emerged from the Mojave desert. I yell “OLIVE, NO,” as I rush up the stairs toward the bathroom. Hearing the commanding tone in my voice, Olive again races away. I wipe the toilet seat clean of scattered water droplets and tiny brown dog hairs and put the lid down. I look into the living room just in time to see my parched pooch standing on the sofa with her elegantly long front paws planted on the coffee table slurping the milk out of my glass. I call this Kanine Keystone Kops. It all happens within the space of minutes. Welcome to Weimaraner World.

Camp Clawson

In Uncategorized on 02/09/2011 at 7:37 pm

Olive spent the day today recuperating from her four-day stay at Camp Clawson. Based on the report I received from the humans caring for her, they probably also spent the day recuperating. Yes, when you have a Weim, especially under a year old, it is especially important to find patient, caring, dog-savvy humans to take care of your pooch when you go out of town. Because it’s like leaving a perpetually semi-automatic IED in their home.

Luckily for both Olive and me, Olive’s trainer agreed to care for her in her home. I was grateful that Olive would be staying with the local ”Dog Whisperer.” If anyone could handle Olive, Shelley could. By the time Shelley picked up Olive at 8am on Sunday, Olive had just finished consuming some q-tips and a sheet of paper I had balled up and tossed into the waste basket in the bathroom.

Seeing one end of the q-tip protruding from the side of her mouth like a strange little cigarette, I think: “How ironic Olive. You won’t let me use them on your ears, and yet you don’t mind flossing your teeth with them.” I walk downstairs only to find a splattering of dime-sized pieces of yellow legal pad paper strewn all over the living room carpet like shrapnel. I think, “Christ. I hope I don’t really need whatever was on that paper.” Because now I’ll need tweezers and a CSI technician to piece it back together.

Shelley arrives and places Olive into the crate in the back of her SUV. It’s a bit smaller than Olive is used to so she seems a little cautious, like she’s trying on a dress one size too small. I can’t even watch the car pull out of the driveway or I’ll cry. The dog will be properly cared for; I’ll need a Xanax. It’s the first time I left Olive with anyone since I got her. Two days later, still out of town, I get an email on how Olive is doing. Here are a few excerpts…

“When we arrived home, Olive, knowing she should not jump from the car, refused to get out of the truck. I had to carry her out WHILE STILL IN THE CRATE!” (Not so easy as Olive currently weighs in at about 56 pounds.)

“My daughter loves her. Until the second night that is. Olive decided to cry all night and stopped only as I began writing this email. She sometimes barked but for the most part it sounded like a bird chirping. It would have made me think it was Spring if only she stopped long enough for me to sleep or even think.”

Apparently Olive also ran Shelley’s one-year old Border Collie ragged, which is not easy to do. Yes, Olive has the endurance of a mountain lion. If they had a Tour de France for dogs, Olive would break Lance Armstrong’s record. This dog could run from here to the moon before she tired. I have yet to see another dog not want to lie down, roll over and cry “Uncle,” when being chased by Olive.

My favorite part of the Olive Update was this: “Don’t get me wrong, still love Olive! She is just one of kind, the one and only Olive!” Oh yes, this dog of mine is uniquely in a class by herself. Today, she returns home, walks into the house, tail wagging a mile a minute, jumps on me once then walks past me as though she just passed her favorite fire hydrant. “Oh yeah, this place. I know you. I think I smell a bully stick. Bye.” I take this to mean that Olive is a well-adjusted pooch.

The Barkerista

In Uncategorized on 12/30/2010 at 4:13 am

One morning last week, I decided to invite Olive into the bathroom while I showered in an attempt to keep her from barking non-stop from inside her well-appointed 48 inch crate which is so large, I call it “circus size,” as it looks like it could contain a miniature Bengal Tiger.  Mind you, I love showers but perhaps like my dog, have an undiagnosed case of ADHD so I’m out of the shower within 10 minutes. But 10 uninterrupted minutes of listening to Olive’s plaintive barks, howls and wails is enough to unravel the tranquil state of mind of even a Buddhist monk.

Somewhere in the first few invigorating minutes of my shower, Olive starts barking. I pull back the shower curtain to reveal to her, that yes, I am in fact right here, mere inches from you, so this can’t possibly be a separation anxiety issue. She sits on the terra cotta-colored bathroom rug at militaristic attention with a penetrating look on her naturally inquisitive face. And barks. Again. And again. Without wavering a European millimeter from her stance. She is, to the best of her canine abilities, doing an impersonation of a greek statue right now. Okay, I think, this may be serious. As in, this seems like it could be what they call in dog training books, an “elimination signal.”

I try staring her down. It doesn’t work. (She actually has a longer attention span than I do.) She barks again. Soaking wet, my hair matted to my head like a wet skunk, I get out of the shower and put on my fleece buttercream-colored bathrobe. For a second, Olive gives me an odd look, but I think I must be crazy, I must have imagined that kooky glint in her eye. She seems a little too animated as we walk outside into the yard.

Olive has already displayed an unusual talent for creating situations where others quickly become vulnerable prey. Suddenly, with no further warning, she leaps at me, again and again, biting at my bathrobe with maniacal abandon. Two thoughts race through my mind. One, within 30 seconds, she is going to completely disrobe me in my own backyard. Two, now I get it. When I put the bathrobe on, I became nothing more than a giant plush toy to her.

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