Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Snacktime

In weimaraners on 03/14/2011 at 8:12 pm

"I smell CARDBOARD!"

Talk to The Back of The Head

In weimaraners on 03/14/2011 at 2:03 pm

"Don't bother me, I'm watching TV."

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.

Sticknut

In weimaraners on 03/10/2011 at 8:55 pm

"Is that a DINGO?"

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?

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

In weimaraners on 03/07/2011 at 5:49 pm

"Look into my eyes. You are getting sleepy."

Greased Piglet

In weimaraners on 03/07/2011 at 5:47 pm

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to render routine personal care to an 11-month old Weimaraner by yourself? Once again, I had to wrestle Olive to the ground pinning her like a State Wrestling Champion just to squeeze two lousy drops of medicine into her left eye because she has conjunctivitis. The treatment started out fine. I guess the first time she didn’t know what was coming so she stared at me doe-eyed like Bambi which allowed me to perform this minor medical procedure with ease. The second time, she tolerated it. The third time, she gave me the paw. Ever since then, I have to chase her around the house like I’m chasing a greased piglet. I catch her and she starts squirming like she’s boneless, eventually escaping my grip with Houdini-like flair. For every drop that manages to land in her eye, three run down her muzzle. Thank God the 7-10 day course of treatment is almost over. I’ve tried being calm and soothing when I first approach her but she’s not stupid. She knows what’s coming. And she’d simply… rather not, thank you. I guess it just takes practice. I finally figured out how to clean her ears without as much fuss. The secret? Soak the cotton ball in witch hazel and put it into her ear further than you wanted your finger to go and do it with confidence. Hesitate for a nanosecond, and Olive will know she’s being violated by an amateur. Then, it’s over. (And if you have a Weim, don’t let them see the bottle of witch hazel because they can read. Where did THAT name come from anyway?) I just wish I could remove her nails, clip them and then insert them back into her paws. This would be much easier. Thank God she doesn’t have hemorrhoids.

Not Singing in The Rain

In weimaraners on 03/06/2011 at 6:56 pm

"It's not RAINING, is it?"

Little Miss Brown Nose

In Uncategorized on 03/06/2011 at 6:54 pm

Olive hates the rain. She hates it so much that she won’t even stay out long enough to go potty. She runs around, shaking herself off every few minutes. When she shakes, her entire body ripples with energy. It picks up velocity as it rockets from her head to her tail, finally spraying thousands of droplets behind her like a machine gun. Just as it looks like she is considering the possibility of dropping her dinner, she runs toward me to seek shelter under my Pantone Palace Blue umbrella. “GO POTTY,” I say a bit too loudly and impatiently. She runs off, shakes, runs some more and then heads straight back to the umbrella. This happens a few more times before I realize that she must not have to go that badly. Either that or she’s willing to defer her urge until it stops raining. I think that mostly she doesn’t like the sensation of the raindrops hitting her. Maybe she thinks the sky is falling. (Although in a way, it is.) She acts like she’s being pummeled by tiny cluster bombs being dropped by the Red Baron (who happened to be German, like Olive, so that makes no sense).

And yet, this is the same pooch who in the Summer frolicked in her wading pool bobbing for her ball and nylabone like a 5 year-old bobbing for apples at her first Halloween party. I tossed the ball into the pool. She ran circles around it like a billiards hustler eyeballing his next shot. The first few times she used her paw to drag the ball to the side until it was close enough to grab with her mouth. That was easy. The nylabone was a different story. It didn’t float. With her graceful but thumbless paw she tried dragging it across the pool and up the side. It was like watching a three-fingered blind man trying to pick up jello. However, she did succeed in getting it out this way. But you could tell by the displeasure on her face along with a symphony of associated little grunts and snorts that this was VERY inefficient. Way too much work and disgustingly inelegant.

As an intellectual challenge to my little canine brainiac, I fill the pool just a little more. Then I toss the bone back in. Olive stares at it deeply, immediately understanding the scope of the challenge. It is submerged in about 4 inches of water now. It might as well be the Titantic lying at the bottom of the ocean. I can see the wheels in her brain spinning. “HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GET THIS?” But what you don’t see is the end of this thought… “WITHOUT SUBMERGING MY LITTLE BROWN NOSE UNDER THE WATER!” I intrinsically understood that this was the LAST thing she wanted to have to do. ANYTHING not to have to submerge her nose underwater. She ponders the dilemma for about 15 seconds and then literally “tests the water.” She’s trying to determine just how far a plunge is required. She steps back out, staring at the nylabone. Then in one carefully calculated move, she jumps back in plunges fully half her snout under the water like she’s drilling for oil, snatches the nylabone, jumps out of the pool and races around the yard like she’s just won the Indy 500. Mostly, I think she’s thrilled that she got the bone and didn’t drown.

Bus Stop

In weimaraners on 03/03/2011 at 8:21 am

"HURRY, I'm going to be late for the bus!"

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.

Dog Tired

In weimaraners on 03/01/2011 at 9:23 pm

"YES, I was sleeping. I ran 25 miles today."

Dog Parkology

In Uncategorized on 03/01/2011 at 8:59 pm

Each weekend, I make it a point to take Olive to one of the local dog parks. We have our choice of a few. The smaller park in the wealthier zip code, the larger park in the less desirable zip code or the one so far North in New Jersey, it might as well be at the North Pole. The smaller park is nice because there’s never more than five or six dogs there at a time. The downside is the dirt walkway into the park that sits on a 45-degree incline uphill. Oh, and the turds that line the walkway like bread crumbs in a demented fairy tale. When I see this, I think, “Christ, I wonder what the owner’s homes look like. Maybe they crap in their kitchen.” The larger park sits on top of a mountain and it feels completely wide open like you’re in the wilds of what I imagine Montana or North Dakota might feel like. The disadvantages of this park are 1) it attracts a rough trade, both canine and human, 2) go after 11am and you walk into a mob scene of about 30 dogs and their people, making it feel like a canine version of the old Marlon Brando flick, “On The Waterfont,” and 3) when the snow melts, half the park becomes a frightening petri dish of squirming parasites burrowing through the mud. Olive cares about none of this. She greets all dogs, large, small, attractive, homely, young, old, unemployed, and neurotic with the same gregarious optimism. Tail at full mast, frantically waving back and forth, while she explores the other dog’s biology, physiology, chemistry, psychology, nutritional profile and personal hygiene all with a few tentative sniffs. In dog time, one quick greeting is equivalent to three months of dating. Very efficient. I wonder what goes through Olive’s mind during this ritual and whether dogs are as judgmental of their own species as humans are of theirs. “MY GOD. THE TERRIER SMELLS LIKE A SWEATY JOCKSTRAP. HE ALSO PICKS HIS NOSE WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING. AND HE IS A SUBMISSIVE URINATOR. WHAT A TURN OFF.” Laugh, but if there’s another weimaraner at the park, Olive picks out her doppleganger immediately as if she were picking a long lost relative out of a police line-up. Clearly, she recognizes her own breed. (Probably from staring at herself in the mirror so much) She is however, without prejudice. She will run at lightning fast speed from any other dog silly enough to chase her. The combination of her speed, grace and stamina never fails to call attention to her. I can actually see Olive’s head ballooning as she hears the “oohs” and “ahs” of the crowd as she races by them once, twice, again and again and again…Finally, she zooms past me like a five year-old pleading “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!” She actually sprayed me with mud around lap #10. As my boots squish in the filthy pudding beneath my feet, sinking deeper and deeper into the earth, I notice one of the other dogs starting to get a bit testy, and I say to Olive, “C’mon, let’s get out of here before you need to be vaccinated for syphilis.”

The Voice of Dog

In weimaraners on 02/26/2011 at 8:21 am

"Okay, I GET it"

Nice Throw Koufax

In weimaraners on 02/23/2011 at 7:10 pm

"Cripes, look at that bag FLY."

Scat On a Hot Shingled Roof

In weimaraners on 02/23/2011 at 7:07 pm

I told this story to friends over the Summer and I’m not sure how I neglected to re-tell it here, but it bears repeating. This is actually a postscript of sorts to my “Kryptonite” post. Once a week, I’d take an environmentally unfriendly plastic grocery bag and march out into the backyard with a scowl on my face and a garden shovel in my hand. Time to scoop up and dispose of the fecal land mines all over the yard. By the time I’m done, the bag feels as heavy as if there’s a bowling ball the size of Minnesota in it. Mind you, I perform this unsightly chore in full view of all the cars that pass by on this busy county road. I know if I drove by and saw someone doing this, I’d laugh my ass off. And then I’d probably lean out the window and yell something like “HEY, DON’T FORGET TO PICK UP YOUR OWN WHEN YOU’RE DONE PICKING UP THE DOG’S!” Olive waits inside the kitchen, quietly tearing everything off the refrigerator door, even messily devouring the cute miniature paper doll chain that my friend’s 6-year old made for me. I think I’m done. Usually, I walk three-quarters of the way around the property to dispose of this transitory septic farm in the trash can. Today however, I’m lazy. I’ll just go to the back of the house, tie up the bag and heave it down below near the garbage can. Then, when I go out later, I’ll pick it up and dispose of it properly. I walk over to the top of the rotting railroad tie retaining wall (which to replace is going to cost me what it would cost to purchase a small country), tie a knot in the bag, swing it backward, then forward, releasing it as though I were in the national finals of a slow pitch softball tournament. Wow. It feels great as it leaves my hand. This baby is going up, and up and up…OH SHIT. IT’S GOING TO LAND ON THE ROOF. Yes, the bag of Olive’s lawn cigars and moon pies (complete with intestinal parasites) lands on the corner of the roof. The only saving grace is that it barely misses landing on the vent pipe that prevents radon fumes from building up in the house (a common geologic occurrence in New Jersey.) WELL, THIS IS GREAT. IT’S ONLY JULY AND I DON’T NORMALLY CALL THE GUTTER GUY UNTIL THE FALL. For a brief second, I think of getting the ladder out to retrieve it. I quickly realize the ladder will fall short by about 15 feet. Then a newspaper headline flashes before my eyes: LOCAL WOMAN KILLED IN FALL FROM LADDER. BAG OF DOGSHIT FOUND AT SCENE. I shake my head and walk away. Maybe it will decompose and blow away before then. As annoyed as I am with my laziness, I am even more annoyed by my “shitty pitch.” But by the time I walk inside the kitchen, even I’m laughing. It’s a great story. I look at Olive and with a straight face and ask her, “OLIVE DID YOU SHIT ON THE ROOF?” She just looks at me all happy, with her tail wagging furiously. Without Olive, it would be just another boring day.

Disbelief

In weimaraners on 02/18/2011 at 6:09 pm

"They're TAKING our trash?"

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.

This Looks Easy

In weimaraners on 02/17/2011 at 7:51 pm

"Comforters are filled with GOOSE feathers??????"

It’s Raining Goose

In Uncategorized on 02/17/2011 at 7:48 pm

Last night it rained goose in the master bedroom. It all began with Olive standing in the middle of my bed inquisitively admiring her image in the dresser mirror. Ever so slightly cocking her aristocratic flannel grey head slightly to the left, then right, characterized by a subtle look of bemusement, adoration and surprise on her expressive face. Truly checking herself out as if she were a narcissistic Supermodel primping before making her entrance onto the (ugh) CATwalk. It was all very entertaining in its childlike innocence and simplicity. And then with the swiftness of a crazed cheetah and the skill of a seasoned neurologist, she drops her head and tears a hole in my massively stuffed burnt orange Siberian goose down comforter. The hole is fairly small, about 18-point and in the shape of an “L.” Almost unnoticeable. Until Olive drops down onto the bed like a house dropping onto a village of munchkins. Hundreds of white goose down feathers erupt from the comforter as though a sleeping Mount Vesuvius had been awakened. “SHIT,” I scream. “YOU CRAZY NUTHATCH! STOP MOVING! NOW!” Olive is now wearing tufts of feathers on her muzzle which make her look like a grizzled old geezer with a spotty beard. She does not hear me yelling because 1000% of her dog brain is focused on trying to eat all the feathers orbiting her. She misses more times than she gets one so all you hear is rapid fire “air snapping.” Her mouth opening and clamping shut repeatedly, stopping only to gag on a feather once in awhile. To complete this mental image, picture Olive racing around in all directions on the bed, frantically trying to catch all the feathers. I guess for her, this is the next best thing to getting the goose. Getting the goose down feathers. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find thread in burnt orange? Still, it was funny. I love my exuberant pooch.

The Shadow Knows

In weimaraners on 02/15/2011 at 6:38 pm

"Get your damn shadow off my nose."

Groundhog Breath

In Uncategorized on 02/15/2011 at 6:34 pm

Boy, if this winter lasts much longer I think I might go batshit. Wait, can dogs go batshit? Then do bats go dogshit? Why is the sky blue? I love birds. Especially the dumb ones. And the ones who are too fat to fly. Boy there’s lots of geese here. Am I drooling? I thought they were Canadian. Do geese have passports? Where’s my bully stick? HOLY CRAP, WHO TOUCHED MY BED? I HAD IT ALL NICELY DISASSEMBLED WITH THE BOTTOM CUSHION HANGING FROM THE TOP OF MY CRATE. I know who did it. You do too. Patti. She’s always picking up after me. SO WHAT IF THE HOUSE LOOKS LIKE A SCENE OUT OF “REVENGE OF THE TOYS.” Wait a second, I need to groom my giant barrel chest. (Lick, lick, lick, lick, lick) I watched the Westminster Kennel Club dog show last night. Yes, really. What’s the deal with the word kennel? Time to retire that. Anyway, tonight my breed is on. I wonder if any of my relatives will be showing. I should be there. They still call us “bitches,” you know. I thought we had evolved beyond such stereotypes. WAIT A MINUTE, ARE RAP SONGS ABOUT US? My paws itch tonight. They stink a little bit too. But they taste good. Uh-oh, my stomach doesn’t feel so good right now. Do I have groundhog breath?

The Sentry

In weimaraners on 02/13/2011 at 6:52 pm

(Waiting for Boxzilla)

Boxzilla

In Uncategorized on 02/13/2011 at 6:49 pm

Yesterday morning on our daily walk through town past the local college, a sustained gust of wind propelled an empty cardboard box toward Olive and I as if it were a tumbleweed. Olive, alerted to the approaching intruder assumes a hair trigger fight or flight stance. She reminds me of a track and field athlete in starting position awaiting the sound of the gun to release her. Leave it to Olive to vogueishly “strike a pose” in response to a cardboard monster. This is going to be good, I think. If it heads straight for us, my dog is going to put on a display worthy of a Cirque du Soleil performance. I stand alongside Olive waiting to see what comes next. The box continues to tumble toward us, end over end, side over side. It reminds me of the feather in the movie Forest Gump and the plastic bag in the movie “American Beauty.” Olive doesn’t move a muscle. To my dismay, the box tumbles to the left and past us, but not before Olive executes a spasmodic little jig never taking her eyes off Boxzilla. Thanks for another chuckle today Olive. It was almost as funny as watching you try to take a poop later that day and finding it difficult to get traction on the ice. You looked a little like a constipated Kristi Yamaguchi spinning out of control.

See No Evil

In weimaraners on 02/12/2011 at 9:17 am

"I didn't see a thing."

The Plush Morgue

In Uncategorized on 02/12/2011 at 9:15 am

The bodies are piling up. Dozens and dozens of Olive’s plush toys, some dismembered, others disemboweled, all cheerfully transformed by Olive’s hydraulic jaw. I have tried numerous brands, countless textures and sizes ranging up to that of a petite bison. Olive laughs out loud at the packaging that screams “for tough chewers.” It doesn’t seem to matter. She uses her teeth to create a small puncture wound to gain entry. Then she starts to fillet the toy until puffy miniature clouds of stuffing begin to erupt from it. At this point, I have to take it away from Olive or she will gorge herself on the stuffing as if she’s Henry the VIII.

After much trial and error, here’s what I’ve learned about dog toys and Weims. The only fabric which remains fairly indestructible to Olive’s surgical talents is canvas. Fleece? To her, that’s a nice bowl of oatmeal. All labels must be removed prior to giving the toy to Olive or it’s the first thing she will remove…and eat. And what’s the deal with the little “fruit loops” on the toys? Is this so you can hang them on the Christmas tree? WTF? I must carefully prune the toy of these loops as well, otherwise I might as well just give Olive a can opener to penetrate the toy. No small appendages. That’s right, if there is a tiny arm, leg, fin or raised eye, I must amputate it. Otherwise, Olive will. Because I use a scissor, my cuts are much cleaner, sparing the plush squirrel, armadillo, bat or fox the pain that comes with the ragged edges that Olive’s teeth leave.

Let’s not forget the stitching on the toy either. Stitching must be so small and tight that it can only be seen at the cellular level. It must also use military strength thread. Oh, you think I should try using industrial strength rubber Kong-type toys? Well, unfortunately, Olive does not seem to like the smell or taste of vulcanized rubber. She won’t touch any of these type of toys. No matter what shape they come in. Bone, cat, chipmunk, bird. Nothing. Even if I stuff a treat inside one, she will endure it just long enough to extricate the treat. Then, she tosses it aside as if I’ve given her another dog’s dirty underwear to put on. As I stuff another dead toy into the trash can, which I seem to do every other day, I wonder what the local sanitation engineers must think when they see all the headless plush animals tumble out.

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.

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.

Cabin Fever

In Uncategorized on 02/02/2011 at 8:12 pm

"If only I had wings."

Trading Places

In Uncategorized on 02/02/2011 at 5:36 pm

Olive and I both have a serious case of cabin fever. We choose to handle it in different ways. I chase my tail in an endless circle until I pass out from the centrifugal force. Olive chats on the phone endlessly with people living in tropical climates. I pick up dozens of plush toys with my mouth, one at a time, frantically shaking them from side to side until exasperated, I fling them across the living room like they’ve been shot out of a cannon. Some actually leave skid marks on the walls. Olive flips through the TV channels constantly, driving me crazy. The remote experiences such friction on a daily basis, that I’m waiting for it to ignite. I run around the house from room to room trying to escape the crushing boredom. Sometimes I even end up in my crate downstairs in the dark…just standing there…waiting…for something…anything to happen. Olive picks up a magazine to read (usually her favorite, BaRK…or Weird New Jersey), but eventually she feels compelled to eat the nice fibrous pages. We stare at each other. Thinking the same thing. Punxsatawny Phil better be right. Or one of us will eat him.

Interior Monologue

In Uncategorized on 02/01/2011 at 6:23 pm

"Huh? What the heck is a wolfman?"

Coyotes

In Uncategorized on 01/31/2011 at 10:17 pm

Tonight, Olive had to get her toenails clipped. She was starting to look like a falcon with giant talons. Or maybe Edward Scissorhands. If they were to get any longer, she probably would have been able to perform open-heart surgery. That, or cut down an entire redwood forest with a few quick swipes of the paw. Speaking of wildlife (again), both Olive and I were awakened very early this morning by the damn howling coyotes; a familiar winter sound in the wilds of New Jersey. (That, and people swearing like drunken sailors while shoveling snow.) It sure is creepy-sounding. My early response system unit — Olive — starts cautiously barking from inside her crate. It’s a low-toned “woof.” She burps it out like she’s not sure if this represents danger, but it’s on her radar. Coyote howls again. Olive’s response is “WOOF.” Definitely LOUDER. Now, I’m awake. A longer howl. Now Olive starts barking with all-consuming purpose. “WOOF. WOOF. WOOF. WOOF. WOOF.” This is code for “DANGER! DANGER! GET THE HELL UP AND INVESTIGATE!” (Hold on, I have to go fetch Olive’s bone from underneath the couch before she disembowels it.) “OLIVE BE QUIET, IT’S JUST A COYOTE NOT THE WOLFMAN.” Earlier today, I caught Olive eating her paw prints in the snow. I guess she was covering her tracks. Not sure what I might find at the end of the trail. I might be surprised. Maybe a dead Wolfman.

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.

China

In Uncategorized on 01/27/2011 at 7:57 pm

"Jesus, I know China is here SOMEWHERE."

White Out

In Uncategorized on 01/27/2011 at 7:50 pm

Last night, in the middle of yet another snowstorm, Olive and I ventured out into the yard and ran around like two idiots in whiteout conditions. Although the wind was brisk and the freezing snow felt like sandpaper grinding against our faces, it was both a joyful and childlike experience. Olive loves galloping through the snow as though she’s a Clydesdale, so she’s hopping in and out of at least 2 feet of accumulated snow like an animated pogo stick. And then she sees it. The tip of a little red flag poking out from under the snow. Yes, the infamous poop flags that I’ve chronicled here. As she goes to yank it out of the ground with her mouth, I recoil the flexi-leash just before she extracts it like a rotten tooth. She is momentarily distracted by some inaudible sound that I cannot hear as she cocks her head to the side and stands still, waiting for confirmation of the alien signal. We literally run around in circles and crazy eights criss-crossing the yard under a bright moon dulled only by the carpeting of cloud cover dropping snow as if a giant ogre had turned an open bag of granulated sugar upside down. Of course, Olive wasn’t the one who had to shovel the snow the next day. Since I didn’t feel like doing it at 7:30 this morning, I waited until lunch time. Big mistake. It was like shoveling a pool full of wet cement. Olive stands in her pen laughing at me. I can see it in her eyes. The only thing she was shoveling was snow into her mouth faster than a diabetic who just found a bag of M&Ms under a couch cushion. I was certain that the minute I turned my back to her, she was going to start mass producing sno-cones in flavors that I’m sure you won’t see at your local Rita’s Ice stands.  Boy, this dog is going to miss winter when it’s gone. (Assuming it ever leaves of course.)

It’s All Business

In Uncategorized on 01/26/2011 at 8:03 am

"Take my card, please."

“Snoticles”

In Uncategorized on 01/25/2011 at 9:34 pm

“Snoticles.” That’s what I call the tiny crystallized drops of water that form on Olive’s whiskers and at the portals of her snout. They can also form in the absence of snow, when it’s just so frigid that the breath she exhales creates these infant droplets that condense instantly. Or, it’s simply evidence of what I call “snow nose.” The result of Olive’s “scenthoundia,” which compels her to plow her finely tuned snout into the snow in search of…whatever the hell is squirming in the earth beneath it. Watching her play in the snow with such gleeful abandon is amusing. I think her favorite part is after zooming around her fenced in yard faster than a gazelle on coke, she slams on the brakes and the snow goes flying as though she’s just slid into home plate and been called “safe.” And then, seeking refreshment, she lowers her head and begins eating snow by the fistfuls. I decide to toss a nicely formed snowball at her. She tracks its trajectory as it sails through the air like a fresh golden Twinkie. When it lands in the snow and “disappears,” she executes a series of gymnastic stunts trying to quickly find it. “WHERE THE HELL DID IT GO?” she wonders. As payment for this entertainment, and to not disappoint Olive, I toss her the embryonic twin of the fugitive snowball. She gobbles it to pieces as though I had just fed her a freshly baked parakeet. Goofy dog.

Throne

In Uncategorized on 01/24/2011 at 9:04 pm

"Bring forth the court jester!"

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