Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘bowels’

The Perils of Olive: The Sequel

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/08/2011 at 6:57 pm

"But what does it MEAN?"

If only I had had some tiny board game clue that the day before was only the beginning of a marathon that I didn’t recall signing up for. I awaken and squint my legally blind eyes to try to decipher the Buick-sized digital display on the clock. 7:08am. Thanks you idiot alarm clock. You have just one job to do and you’ve failed to do it. I check the alarm and it is indeed set for 6am. I guess it’s sleeping in today. I change out of my pajamas into clothes faster than Clark Kent turning into Superman. No shower needed as I took one just four hours ago. I grab Olive, run down the stairs, open the garage door and am confronted by torrential sheets of rain. It is worse than when Hurricane Irene came through. Olive looks at me. There is a giant question mark over her head. Simultaneously as this symbol symbolically appears, Olive takes a few steps backward. “ARE YOU INSANE? I’M NOT GOING OUT IN THIS.” she says. I look at her apologetically as I grab my pool blue umbrella and lead her outside. I watch the water pooling all over the front yard. The road in front of the house is already under four inches of water. So this is what they mean by “flash flooding,” I intuit. For once, Olive empties her biological waste tanks quickly as though someone whispered in her ear that there was a sale at Nordstrom’s she didn’t want to miss. I crate her, jump in my car and off I go accompanied by a persistent feeling of a fait accompli. “There’s no way I’m making this appointment today.” I think. “It’s only going to get worse as I travel East.” Sure enough, a short way ahead I see a line of cars trying to squeeze through the one lane tunnel that is choking on 6 inches of water. Eventually, I emerge from the tunnel only to be confronted by an endless unbroken line of angry red taillights. “SCREW THIS,” I pick up my iphone and call the Doctor’s office to re-schedule my appointment. I take the longer way home to avoid using my car as a hovercraft again. Within 10 minutes I’m back home. Olive is perplexed to see me return so quickly but she’s deliriously happy. All is well for about 11 and one half hours. At 8:30pm, we come back in after Olive’s mid-evening dump. I start to towel her off which is an event all in itself. She thinks it’s a game and starts tearing at the towel, making drying her off a fruitless exercise. As the orange and yellow striped towel whips around her head and face, I think I hear Olive start to barf. I quickly pull the towel back and…nothing. That was weird, I think. Until I lift the towel up and a mound of brown puke with mostly undigested food drops on my foot like shepherd’s pie with a distinct and memorable “SPLATZ.” As my brain begins to process this, Olive is still vomiting. I wait until she’s done and then I clean it all up and we go upstairs to watch TV from the couch. At 10pm, on the way to bed, Olive gives a command performance. There is now bitless brown vomit in the bedroom, my office and a small bile-like cluster in the hallway. All on the carpeting. As I give a command performance of my own, I thank God the carpeting has not been replaced yet. Could this be a reaction to the injections she received a day earlier? My guess is probably, but now I’m paranoid enough to sleep little throughout the night, eyeballing Olive next to me to make sure she’s ok. In the morning, I feed her breakfast and watch her closely. Sure enough, within two hours, up comes all her expensive organic dog food. “GUESS WHERE WE’RE GOING TODAY OLIVE? YUP. BACK TO THE VET.” As we wait in the vet’s office, I watch each owner and pet walk through the doors. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. “WTF,” I think, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IS TODAY CAT DAY?” Although Olive doesn’t feel herself, she’s still firing on most of her cylinders every time she sees a cat come through the door. After seeing the vet, we walk out one x-ray, one CBC test, four meds and about $400 less later. No bowel obstruction, thankfully. But wicked gas. Yes, gas. Apparently so much gas, the food couldn’t even squeeze past the foul vapors fermenting in her intestines. Olive is packing more methane gas than a cattle ranch. We go home and I’m so confused about the meds regimen that I feel like a Medicare patient. She gets one an hour before meals on an empty stomach. Another half tablet twice a day when the moon is full. And yet another full tablet once a day when a leprechaun knocks on the door. I actually draft a schedule otherwise I’d never get it right. It’s so detailed, it looks like a friggin’ bus schedule. And just for the record, I do screw up administering one of the pills on this day. “CHRIST OLIVE, YOU’VE GOT 4 MEDS TO TAKE. WHAT KIND OF ROTTING VERMIN DID YOU EAT TO CAUSE ALL THIS? I CAN’T IMAGINE IT WAS WORTH THE FEW SECONDS OF PLEASURE IT CREATED WHEN IT USED YOUR TONGUE AS A SLIDE.” I say this as I make a grand gesture toward Olive who cares only about the greasy little beefy pill pockets she’s about to inhale. Done. I think. I hope. Christ, I’m exhausted. And then the alarm clock goes off. At 7pm.




“Who Moved Olive’s Cheese?”

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/01/2011 at 10:57 am

"QUIET. I''m supervising."

Olive’s been a really good sport about the kitchen renovation taking place. She doesn’t seem to mind that her water and food bowls have been unceremoniously moved into the basement. Or that she can no longer stand in front of the dining room window and people-and-car-watch. And bark. Of course, I knew better than to dare move Olive’s overstuffed black-and-white pony chair from the corner of the dining room. That would be akin to shoving Queen Elizabeth’s throne out a window. There she sat, as regal-looking as ever in her chair surrounded by almost two dozen giant cardboard boxes protecting kitchen cabinets and other nicely finished “sticks.” It was comical. There was just enough room for the chair and her. It created the impression that Queen Olive was surrounded by a crowd of loyal subjects. And while she enjoyed snacking on all the bits and pieces of chalky drywall, splinters of wood, splatters of spackle, and yes, cardboard boxes, she wasn’t too crazy about all the strange people entering and leaving the house. Oh sure, she’d bark her little grey head off when they entered the house, but in a dramatic display of ambivalance, her tiny tail wagged back and forth so fast, I was afraid it would snap off at its base like the stem on an aging pumpkin. One unfortunate result of all this intermittent commotion was the toll it took on Olive’s bowels. I’m now convinced that when she gets stressed, she goes through minor bouts of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome for those of you with non-irritable bowels). This causes her to bark insistently at between 2am and 4am to be let out. Although I consider myself a morning person, this is not my favorite time of day to get up, get dressed and go outside. I stand under the star-kissed moonlight in the front yard with my dog who in the universally undignified “pooping position,” lets the contents of her bowels fly.

A Bird in The Bush

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/03/2011 at 6:30 pm

"Could I be any more BORED today?"

I don’t know who’s more bored today, Olive or me. It’s been raining all day, truly the kind of grey, hazy summer day that most people living outside of New Jersey associate with New Jersey more often than they should. The only time we’ve been outside today is when Olive has had to drop brown trout. Increasingly, she is distracted from this biological need by the calling of another higher order need. The genetic need to capture the warm orange-breasted American Robin nesting in the middle of the purple-flowering Hydrangea bush in our front yard. Olive’s approach is the same every time. She makes a beeline for the bush but as we approach it she begins to slow down, lowering her body into a crouching position like a tiger that has just spotted an obese Peccary with four broken legs. She makes her move, scooting around to the side of the bush that the bird emerged from the last time we were out. Olive frantically starts looking for the bird, head bobbing up and down like a bobblehead doll, sure that it will fly out from this direction where she can just snatch it in mid-flight. And she’s half-right. Suddenly the elusive Robin shoots out the side of the bush right past Olive’s hard-at-work nose, cutting through the air like Zorro’s sword and coming to rest atop the clay-colored shed in our backyard. Far enough away from Olive’s quivering jaws, but close enough to keep an eye on the Tiffany blue eggs laying unmolested in the veiled nest. A few nearby Robins zip close to Olive from multiple directions as though they are performing strafing maneuvers. Probably relatives. Olive is momentarily stilled as she watches this display of bravado. This is a good moment to re-focus her on her bowels, so I lead Olive away from the scene of this domestic disturbance. As we walk away, Olive repeatedly cranes her neck behind her just to make sure she will not miss the bird’s return… and another opportunity to gobble an afternoon snack. “GO POTTY OLIVE. I THINK I SAW LIGHTNING. WE HAVE TO GET BACK INTO THE HOUSE BEFORE WE LIGHT UP THE NEIGHBORHOOD.” She must sense the tiniest bit of apprehension in my energy, so she goes quickly. As we make our way back inside, Olive makes one last desperate pass past the bush. Maybe she just wants scrambled eggs for dinner. I wonder though, do you think she’ll feel inadequate if this genetic need to catch birds is never fulfilled? And if a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, what the hell is a bird in the bush worth?

No Mixed Signals

In Uncategorized on 12/30/2010 at 4:20 am

Olive has finally gotten a bit more vocal about her needs. Thank God, because I have gotten a bit rusty reading minds. Who would have thought that when she had an urgent need to empty her bowels, she would trill and growl. Yes, TRILL and growl. Not whine, not bark, but trill and GROWL. The trilling has an Irish lilt to it, like when you vibrate your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Sounds a bit lyrical and a bit like a demented leprechaun. The growl makes me laugh though. Is she annoyed with me because until that moment, I was too stupid to anticipate her gastrointestinal need? It’s a very clear signal. I need to get her out of the house INSTANTLY. The good thing is, after I remove the barrier to the rest of the house, she races ahead of me like she’s running the Kentucky Derby. I open the sliding glass door just as she sails across the sill, like a reindeer taking off into space. Less than a minute later, a small brown pie rests atop the bright white snow in the yard. Triumphant, Olive trots back to the door, ready to come back in and find something satisfying to chew on. But wait, I hear slurping noises that sound somewhat hollow coming from upstairs. COULD IT BE? Yes, it’s Olive drinking from the never-ending porcelain bowl of water. It’s like there’s a man living in my house now. Often when I sit on the toilet seat, it is now wet, evidence of Olive’s sloppy drinking style. Do you think she’ll stop if I treat her water bowl like my toilet? Right now, she is laying contentedly beside me curled up in her sage-colored Orvis donut bed in my office. I can hear her stomach gurgling. I look at her sleeping so peacefully and my heart fills with joy. I am so happy to have this crazed little nuthatch in my life. The one who now takes my place on the couch whenever I get up. Is it because it’s warm? Or, is she literally taking the pack leader’s spot? Does she question me as much as I question her? What a complex relationship we have. I love it.

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