Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘pets’


In Uncategorized on 01/23/2011 at 11:32 am

"Talk to the shadow."

Call of The Wild

In Uncategorized on 01/23/2011 at 11:22 am

If I want to get Olive’s attention without saying a word, I just quietly open a flexible package of Fruitables or any other canine tidbit. It’s like watching Jack London’s “The Call of The Wild” spring to life. Olive’s ears, capable of picking up HDTV signals from outer space, wrinkle in delirious anticipation and within seconds, she has shot through the house like a lunatic pinball. She arrives at my side before I have even finished tearing open the package. She immediately sits with the perfect posture of a member of the royal family and looks up at me longingly. The pupils of her amber eyes dilate to the size of hot-air balloons. She’s trying to telepathically communicate with me now. If I listen very, very closely, this is what I hear: “OH PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…” I toss her one of the 9-calorie treats and she’s so happy, she almost swallows it whole. Sometimes, when I’m in a rush and don’t have the time to play “tag” with Olive, I just grab a bag, stand quietly and TEAR THE BAG OPEN. Works every time. She’s by my side in an instant. Of course, in order for this bit to keep working, I do have to fork over a tidbit each time. Sometimes it’s pumpkin and banana or blueberry and pumpkin Fruitables, sometimes it’s Wagatha’s organic breakfast blend, which has such an authentic aroma of maple, oatmeal and apples that I feel like eating them. Or, it’s one of many other tantalizing flavor variations. This way, Olive becomes mentally engaged as she has no idea what flavor awaits her. She knows it will be something good, so it’s worth dropping the tasteless cotton candy-like dryer lint or fetid stinkbug she finds momentarily captivating.


In Uncategorized on 01/21/2011 at 7:06 pm

"Christ, I just might die of boredom today."

Sticks R’ Us

In Uncategorized on 01/21/2011 at 7:02 pm

What? Did someone say “Bully Sticks?” Of course I know what they’re made from, I’m a Weimaraner. I’m keenly intelligent. Highly articulate. And very impatient with dolts of all species. Wait a second, I have to bite my tail…What were we talking about? Right, Bully Sticks. So fragrant. Like Chanel Number K9. If I could roll in its scent I would. I really don’t care if it was made from the privates of a kangaroo. Is there such a thing as Kanga Sticks? I’d like to try them too. You know what? Can you take me to a store where they sell all kinds of Sticks? Like Tiger and Lion Sticks. Elephant and Buffalo Sticks. Oh my God, my stomach is growling and I’m drooling. And I can’t stop fantasizing about ZEBRA STICKS. Hold it. I have to lick myself. Was I talking or were you talking? Did you just see that bird? I’m waiting for the spring when they turn red and ripen. And blue. The blue ones look like they might taste spicy. God, my toenails are long. I almost poked my own eye out before when I went to scratch my cheek. Oh look a mirror. Geez, I AM adorable. Here. I’m done with this Bully Stick, you can have the rest.

“Bully Sticks”

In Uncategorized on 01/20/2011 at 7:57 pm

You have to wonder. How did they get the idea to process bull penis as a dog treat? I mean really, we’re not talking rabbit’s foot or elk antler or even pig’s ear. Whose idea WAS this and how did they even GET this idea? I’m afraid to ask. And why the bull? You know what, I don’t want to know the answer. All I know is that Olive LOVES them and her breath stinks like, well, I’m not sure whether the predominant “aromatic note” is bull or penis, but it is gross. The only thing grosser is when she has chewed the entire 12 inch stick down to about 3 inches and I have to take it away from her so she doesn’t swallow it whole or choke on it. God, why do I feel like I’m writing porn right now? I can’t begin to adequately describe what the “leftovers” are like. Suffice to say, gooey, fleshy and stinky. These things aren’t cheap either. Of course, Olive prefers the Merrick brand which are more expensive (about $5 each) AND much stinkier. Big surprise on both counts. She’s lying in front of the pellet stove chewing her way through one right now. Last night I had to pull the remnant piece out of her mouth and this dog is a very powerful chewer. Three words came to mind as I did this, Lawn mower, mountain goat and beaver. I still have all my fingers. (Probably because they are fingers and not tiny bull penises.) I wonder if she has any idea what exactly it is that she’s chewing on?


In weimaraners on 01/19/2011 at 5:29 pm

"Oh, it's the paparazzo again."

Crash Landing

In Uncategorized on 01/18/2011 at 9:16 pm

Olive is now 9 months old and has begun toying with me.  The other day while I was in the kitchen, I looked into the dining room to see Olive peering through the oak railing into the living room below. I could tell she was perplexed simply by the way her head was cocked and ears slightly elevated as if preparing for lift off. This impressionistic display clearly communicated “Huh, how did that happen?” or the ubiquitous “WTF?” Curious myself to see what she was staring at with such intense focus, I make my way into the dining room. “Olive, what’s going…” and as I peer over the side of the parquet cliff, I see it. The twisted, gnarled plush wreckage. Olive’s mini bear squeak toy, lying lifeless at the foot of the domestic mountain. Trapped between the chestnut-colored leg of the couch, and the base of the pewter floor lamp. Olive looks at me with a mixture of shock, curiosity and helplessness. At least that’s how I interpret it. If you look closely, you can see what I can’t, the cartoon bubble floating over her head. It reads “Watch me get this without moving a muscle.” As if on cue, I proceed down the stairs into the living room to retrieve Olive’s bear from its hellish crash landing. I come back upstairs, toss the bear to Olive and return to the kitchen. Not 30 seconds later, the deafening silence grabs my attention. What do I see? As if I am watching a slow-mo replay of a Superbowl touchdown, Olive, striking an identical pose, peering over the side of the parquet cliff, as if to say, “Oops.” As I make my way back down the stairs to once again rescue the tiny plush beast my goofy pooch has casually tossed away like a rancid fish, it occurs to me that I’ve just been trained how to fetch.

Do Not Disturb

In weimaraners on 01/17/2011 at 5:07 pm

"Do I look like I want to play right now?"


In Uncategorized on 01/16/2011 at 1:24 pm

If you’ve never heard of Giardia before, think Kryptonite. It is an intestinal parasite common to dogs THAT CAN LIVE IN ENVIRONMENTS FOR TWO TO THREE MONTHS after a dog excretes its cysts. Yes, this would have been a useful piece of information to tell me when I was leaving Olive’s lawn cigars and cow pies scattered about the lawn like Bingo chips this past Summer. Had I known they required delicate hazmat handling, I would have been obsessive about picking them up right away. Because when you have an acre of property, what’s a few brown trout dotting the lawn? The drawback to having an acre of property as a canvas for Olive’s fecal artwork is that contrary to what one might think, it’s actually not so easy to find these deposits. I couldn’t pick them up right away while I had Olive on the leash because she would try to tear the flimsy plastic bag out of my hands as if we were playing tug of war with a delectable rotting fox carcass. So I’d put her back in the kitchen and arm myself with a gardening shovel, plastic bag and…surgical gloves. Just call me “Scatologist.” Then, I’d be faced with trying to recall the coordinates of precisely where the event occurred. Standing in the yard looking hopelessly perplexed as if I were lost, I’d mutter to myself out loud, “I think it was about 10 feet from the 8th pole in the split rail fence opposite the middle hemlock bush.” It was like playing “Battleship.” And rarely, did I sink the battleship. Then, I have a brainstorm. Why not get those tiny red anti-litigation flags that companies plant on lawns to warn people that pesticides have been sprayed? I go to the first place I think might have them. Yes, They have EVERYTHING. Including 50 miniature red flags attached to the end of foot-long wire poles…for about $5. Now my lawn looks like a miniature golf course in the summer. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m batshit when out there planting little red flags in the lawn while Olive is in the undignified “pooping position.” I don’t care. It’s genius. Except I didn’t anticipate how hard they’d be to jam into the frozen ground in the winter, resulting in bent poles hanging and twirling in the wind like psychotic pinwheels, while leaving my knuckles bloodied. Now, it looks like a miniature golf course at an insane asylum from which a serial killer just escaped. The alternative is feeding Olive sweet potatoes which when consumed, digested and released, resemble orange glow-in-the-dark cylinders. You can see them from space.


In Uncategorized on 01/15/2011 at 3:23 pm

"I wonder if it tastes like chicken..."

The Other Reindeer

In Uncategorized on 01/14/2011 at 7:27 pm

When I was first thinking about getting a dog, I was also thinking about what I’d name her. Olive’s predecessor, my surrogate pooch, was named Idgy. What a great name. Even William Wegman whom I met at a book signing in Frenchtown, New Jersey thought so. He signed (prophetically apparently) his book “Chip Wants a Dog,” and he sketched a simple doodle of Idgy and me. When he said “What a great name,” I actually sensed that for a split second, he considered the name for one of his future dogs.

Anyway, after considering many names, I short-listed Luna, Zoe, and Shortbread. I loved Shortbread, but it was just too long. I tried yelling it out loud as though I were calling her and quickly decided I sounded like an idiot. “SHORT BREAD! SHORT B-R-E-A-D. COME HERE SHORT BREAD!” It met the two-syllables criteria, but not without using most of the letters in the alphabet.

Then a friend of mine said “What about Olive?” Not only did it just feel right before I even met Olive, but I loved the idea because it reminded me of one of my favorite “nouveau” children’s books, “Olive The Other Reindeer.” It was also serendipitous that the pooch in the story looked like the late Idgy. So, Olive’s name is also a nod to Idgy, a dog I came to love wholeheartedly for 14 years. It was perfect. Now everyone who hears Olive’s name thinks it’s just perfect for her. They have no idea that her middle name is “Pimento.” This was suggested to me by another friend. It made me laugh. So, that’s how Olive Pimento Soldavini got her name. Ironic, given that I am an Italian who will not let a green, black or purple olive come within 15 feet of my mouth. My poor cousin’s wife always has to make my salad “sans olives,” because I won’t even pick that scat out of my dish.

Now that I know Olive, would I have named her anything else? Not a chance. But…I would have considered the following names: Rocket, Tornado, or Goofy. In fact, one day I called her Goofy when we were walking past the local middle school and I overheard an 8 year old boy say to another in an incredulous tone, “Is that dog’s name GOOFY?” No, but it could have been.


In Uncategorized on 01/13/2011 at 9:47 pm

"Absolutely disgusting, but I can't stop watching."

Canine Musicology

In Uncategorized on 01/13/2011 at 7:27 pm

Ever notice the musicology of squeak toys? They have a limited range of distinct squeaks, but depending on how Olive squeezes them, they take on the quality of the Boston Symphony. The larger squeakers, when compressed slowly like an accordion actually emit a sound that resembles the word “people.” PEE-PULL, PEE-PULL. PEE-PULL. The smaller squeakers, compressed more rapidly sound like BE-BAD, BE-BAD, BE-BAD, BE-BAD, BE-BAD, BE-BAD, BE-BAD.

The sound I make when I’ve heard enough of Canine Concerto Minor? “STOP-IT. STOP-IT. STOP-IT.” I wonder if dogs use squeakers to try to communicate with us, using them as a sort of aural sign language. Really, maybe we’re just too stupid to get it.

Right now, Olive is lying in front of the pellet stove contentedly (and quietly) gnawing on a $27 Elk Antler which is so hard, it feels like the femur bone of a Triceratops. God knows what she’s sharpening her teeth for next…

Ordinary People

In Uncategorized on 01/13/2011 at 8:01 am

"Hurry up, my ass is cold."

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