Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘pool’

To Jump or Not to Jump

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/18/2011 at 7:37 pm

"I can see myself!"

That is the question Olive faced (literally) as she stood poised over the edge of the in ground pool at my friend Ellen’s home in Virginia. We tried to entice her down the three little textured steps into the pool using many, many biscuits and even some Monterey Jack cheese. No dice. She would plunge her perfectly shaped snout into the water up to her amber eyeballs to get the barely floating, rapidly disintegrating biscuit or wobbly bobbing orange and white cheese cube, even extending one of her paws multiple times to drag it towards her. A few times, Olive did gingerly plant her front paws on the first submerged step. There she stopped, like she was frozen in time. I didn’t have the patience to watch paint dry which is what training dogs can be like so I told my friend Sue that if she could get Olive into the pool willingly without trauma or drama, I would pay her $50. Since I have the patience of a gnat, it would be well worth it. “IS THAT MY FACE?” Olive seems to be wondering as she stares into the pool. “HOW CAN I BE THERE IF I AM ALREADY OVER HERE? ‘WHY AM I NOT WET?” And then, “ARE THEY INSANE? THEY WANT ME TO JUMP INTO THIS WATER BOWL WITH THE ENDLESS BOTTOM? NOPE. DON’T THINK SO.” Sue, who is in a whale blue inflatable chair float in the pool, puts her glass down at the pool’s edge to break up a biscuit, Olive casually saunters by trying to score a few slurps of the high test alcoholic beverage. I yank the glass away before her tongue ever touches down. “NICE TRY,” I tell Olive. “IF YOU GET INTO THE POOL ON YOUR OWN, WE’LL TALK ABOUT A HIGHER VALUE TREAT.” Olive considered what I was saying and walked away. Sue kept her drink and I kept my $50. Maybe next time.

Genuinely Genius

In weimaraners on 06/01/2011 at 6:23 pm

"Just call me YODA."

At lunchtime today in the coma-inducing heat and spine-weakening humidity, I filled Olive’s little blue plastic pool with water and tossed her glow-in-the-dark ball in along with her raspberry pink Kong-like ring. Unlike last year, she now confidently thrusts her snout below the surface, sometimes right up to her amber and blue-ringed eyeballs to retrieve her drowned toys. She’s become a pro at plunging, snatching and running and seems to take great pleasure in her ability to do so with ease. And then something incredible happened. Purely by accident. I discovered today that Olive is capable of associating the right word with the right soundindependently of the sound being made. Standing outside the pool, staring at the pink ring lying at the bottom of the pool like she’s just discovered an unrecorded shipwreck, I say, “Olive, get the ring-ring.” To my astonishment, she raises her head sharply entering a state of “high alert,” looks around and frantically races to both ends of her pen searching for WHOMEVER IS AT OUR FRONT DOOR RINGING OUR DOORBELL. Now, I did not teach her to do this. Nor did I make the SOUND of a doorbell like “RRRIIIINNGG, RRRIIINNNGG.” I simply said “Get the ring-ring.” Thinking this was just a coincidence, I pick up the pink vulcanized rubber ring and toss it back into the pool. In the exact same way I repeat my command, “Olive, get the ring-ring.” Again, she takes off like an out-of-control locomotive, trying to get to the front door. Clearly, she wants to greet the guest standing on the welcome mat out front that says “Wipe your Paws.” I am momentarily struck dumb. She obviously associates the words ring-ring with the ringing of a doorbell. I knew Olive was intelligent, but now I look at her with as much awe as respect. I call the breeder today leaving this message: “Hi Deborah. I just wanted you to know that out of the litter of 11, you gave me the genius dog. I think I’m going to try to teach her Latin. Maybe I’ll send her to law school.” “OLIVE. STOP LICKING YOURSELF AND GO AUTOGRAPH YOUR HEAD SHOTS.” Now every time she looks at me, I wonder what the hell she REALLY’S thinking, because she’s thinking, that’s for sure.

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