Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘weimaraners’

Distracto

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 11/06/2011 at 8:38 pm

"What was I doing?"

As I took my crazy little beast outside this evening to deposit her expensive organic dinner, she got a rare treat. (And not the edible kind.) Just as she was about to launch her brown biscuit, what catches her unerring eye? A hot air balloon floating nearby. In what must be the equivalent of pulling up one’s pants as if they are on fire and jumping off the porcelain throne, Olive springs up from a mid-squat and starts racing toward the object, barking like she is the first one to spot an aggressively approaching UFO. “WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO- WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO.” I see the fur along the length of her spine, raising from the nape of her neck to the base of her tail. It gives the appearance of being darker than the rest of her taupe coat, making it look like a stripe. “WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO.” Now, I do find this very amusing. Even though as you may know if you read this blog regularly, that I am cursed when I bring Olive out to potty. My dog, who is so alert that she can detect an imperceptible shift in the fabric of the universe, is distracted from her impending biological need almost every time I bring her out to complete this task. If it’s not a bicyclist or jogger going by, it’s a neighbor pulling into or out of their driveway. Or the postman pulling up to the mailbox or the sanitation truck pulling up to our trash can. Yesterday, it was two escapee pheasants from the local pheasant farm which was unfortunately, badly damaged during the Snoctober event earlier in the week. I thought Olive was going to have a seizure as she watched these two delicately framed convicts race across our back yard. “REALLY, I THINK. WHAT NEXT? WHAT ELSE COULD POSSIBLY DISTRACT MY DOG? MAYBE THE CHESHIRE CAT’S HEAD WILL APPEAR IN THE SKY.” I try to divert Olive’s attention away from the hot air balloon but she is fixated on this object as it bounces lazily across the cold blue winter-like sky in her line of sight. “LET’S GO BACK INSIDE OLIVE. I THINK I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM.”

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Snoctober Storm

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 11/04/2011 at 8:57 pm

"WTF?"

Hey everyone, it’s SNOWING! I LOVE snow. I eat snowballs as big as softballs. They’re like soft ice cubes. Oh, the pellet stove just came on. I love that too. I also like to use my front paw to pick at spots on the ground where I suspect vermin or some other tasty tidbit is hiding. My toes are cold. Oh, there’s another tree cracking. What time is it? Did I eat dinner yet? I also like to burrow my nose beneath the snow just because it feels good. And maybe because there might be some stinky vermin below. (Sniff. Sniff. Sniff.) The gophers are back. They stink. They’re kind of dumb animals too. They dig tunnels that leave giant raised ridges. How dumb is that? Why not just leave a calling card? “HI! I’M A STUPID GOPHER. JUST FOLLOW MY TRAIL. FILTHY PRIZE AT THE END.” Oops. Patti just tripped over her laptop cord then stepped on my hard plastic bone with the raised orange dental ridges. I sharpen my teeth on those. Then she fell on top of my Orvis bed. I can’t make out the words she’s screaming but it’s not pretty. OH MY GOD, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD IS ON NOW. ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES. OH BAR-BARA… How come there aren’t any zombie dogs in this movie? I’m hungry again. (Lick. Lick. Lick.) The stinkbugs are finally gone. My bowls are back in the kitchen. Uh-oh, the lights just went out.

Nicknames

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/29/2011 at 1:30 pm

"Did you CALL?"

I love assigning nicknames to people and pets. They are usually so much more appropriate than their given names. When we name babies, their names become self-fulfilling prophecies; expectations and destinies to live up to. All before the child has taken a step or uttered a word. It makes me chuckle and shake my head when I hear the names that some celebrities give their children…all in the drive to impart a sense of “specialness” and “uniqueness” upon their offspring. They give them names like “Apple,” “Kal-El,” “Maddox,” “Fifi Trixibelle,” “Ocean,” “Tu,” “Zuma,” “Moxie Crimefighter,” and of course, “Prince Michael II,” and “Blanket.” And yes, “Pilot Inspektor.” It will likely take a whole lot of character and self-esteem to weather all the unwanted attention and bullying when they are in school. On the other hand, we tend to name our pets based on either how they look or how they behave. Which when you think about it makes more sense. Many years ago, Italian ancestors took on surnames that were based on, among other things, a distinguishing characteristic. For example, the surname Da Zoppa means “Son of the Cripple,” and Magnavacca means “Eat a cow.” This is probably the genesis from where latter day mafia nicknames originated, as in Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero, and Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri.” Originally, I thought about naming Olive, “Rocket” because she zoomed around the house at high speed and used all the furniture as launching pads, but it seemed too masculine and sounded dopey when I called it out. With this all being said, I have many nicknames for Olive, most based on some aspect of her behavior or her anatomy. For example, when she is barking too much, I refer to her as either “Noisebox,” or “French Horn.” When she’s just all tweaked up with pent up energy, I call her “Nuthatch,” “Nut Nut,” or “Crazy Pants.” And when she’s sticking her big proud barrel chest out at me, I remark, “Oh Hi, it’s you Chesty Larue.” Oh, it goes on and on. I’m careful though to use these names to refer to her and not to call her. Otherwise, she’d end up either psycho or just ignore me. “Right Olive?” “OLIVE?”

Olive Jar

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners on 10/29/2011 at 12:41 pm

"MY Jar."

I ask you…How could I not get Olive this handpainted ceramic biscuit jar from Mary Naylor Designs when her name is pictorially represented on it? I actually preferred one of the other designs, but there was no way I could bypass a design that had olives painted on it.

How To Mesmerize a Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/27/2011 at 11:49 am

What is THAT?"

Easy. Just pop popcorn in the microwave or turn on the dishwasher. Olive stands in the kitchen facing the source of the strange sound, and cocks her head back and forth and up and down as though she is playing a symphonic version of “follow the bouncing ball.” She continues to stand there, immobile except for the “head cocks.” Her tail is as silent as a mouse on Christmas Eve. The expression on her face is priceless. It starts out as inquisitive childlike wonder and quickly morphs into unexpected fear when there’s a concentrated burst of popcorn kernals… POP. POP. POP. POP. POP. POP!… or when the water in the dishwasher rushes against the inside of the door like a tsunami. WHOOSH. WHOOSH. WHOOSH. WHOSH. WHOOSH! Then, she runs out of the kitchen into the safety of the dining room like a three-year old who’s just witnessed their sister getting a flu shot. Goofball. Popcorn is one of the few human treats I give Olive. I lie on the couch watching TV and Olive stands next to the couch watching me. One at a time, I toss a popped kernal high into the air, over her head or onto the far end of the couch to make her work for it a little. She snaps them in mid-air as though they are flies who have invaded her personal space. This makes me laugh. Every once in a while, she gags or clears her throat briefly. Like the rest of us, trying to dislodge that blasted yellow kernal shell that’s holding onto her tonsils for dear life. I love watching her leap into the air like a trapeze artist contorting her lithe athletic body into shapes unnatural for a human just to snag the tiny white, fluffy and tasty projectiles coming her way. Olive retains her deep interest as I get up with the empty bowl in my hand and make my way up the stairs to place it into the dishwasher. To her, it is the natural cycle of popcorn evolution.

Bristlers

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/27/2011 at 10:59 am

"Yup, those are my PINS."

This is how I refer to Olive’s whiskers; as “bristlers,” because they are so stiff and prickly that they poke right through my slacks when she lays her head across my lap. Each has the tensile strength of a suspension cable on the George Washington Bridge. (They look deceptively thin and gentle in the photo.) “OUCH! HOLY CHRIST, OLIVE, HAVE YOU BEEN SHARPENING YOUR WHISKERS? I THINK I’M BLEEDING.” Not really, but my lap begins to feel like a pin cushion when she tries to burrow deeper into it like she’s flushing a fox out of a dark den. The first time this happened, I wondered if a Weim’s whiskers were any different than other dogs. I didn’t remember being “pincushioned” by Idgy’s whiskers. Or should I say, vibrissae, which I just learned is what a dog’s whiskers are really called. They are described as “finely tuned sensory structures,” and “while the hairs themselves don’t contain nerve endings, their base is surrounded by erectile tissue and a rich nerve supply.” This sounds like the set-up for a dirty joke, doesn’t it? And then there’s the extra sharpshooting whiskers, two on each side of Olive’s face poking out of the center of moles. I guess these help her navigate her way down the dark hallway while she’s tracking the scent of a micron of day-old food that’s been crushed deep into the nylon fibers of the carpet. So, if the vibrissae are so sensitive, I wonder what it feels like when dogs play with other dogs, mixing it up and “whiskering” each other. I’m guessing it feels pretty good. What do you have to say about this subject Olive? ‘BE QUIET, I’M PLAYING WITH MY WHISKERS.”

Find The Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/22/2011 at 9:11 pm

"Where's Olive?"

Undeniable proof that a weimaraner goes with anything.

Velvet Weimaraner

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/22/2011 at 9:07 pm

"What the hell is VELVET?"

As Olive and I approached the crosswalk in front of the local middle school the other day, the crossing guard enters the street with arms extended protecting us from morning traffic and says, “Whenever I see her coming down the street, all I see is velvet.” “Her” of course, is Princess Olive, the unofficial symbol of the United States Velvet Council. Olive hears this and somehow understands that she’s just been paid a compliment in an indirect, complex manner. She responds physically. Her tool of choice? Her proud unyielding tail. It starts snapping back and forth, creating a stiff breeze. Inevitably, she starts becoming more and more animated. It creates the impression that someone has used her tail as a crank to wind her up. The whole scene reminds me of the animated children’s classic TV show, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” when Rudolph, expressing his joy that the young doe likes him, takes off into the air and flies for the first time. And then, upon his less than graceful landing, his black prosthetic nose pops off to reveal his red blinking honker. When we reach the other side of the street, Olive does what she always does in situations that she is not ready to leave. She jumps up on me, placing her paws on my chest in a subtle display that says “HEY. WAIT A MINUTE. STOP. I WANT TO STICK AROUND HERE FOR A FEW MORE MINUTES.” It is the equivalent of having a three-year old child tugging on the bottom of your coat to stop you from passing the candy store. As much as I always hate doing this, I brush her aside back onto all four feet and say, “HEY NUTCRACKER, LOOK! THERE’S AN OBESE FINCH WITH A BROKEN LEG.” You can actually see the switch in Olive’s brain being re-directed as her head pivots 360-degrees searching to locate this bright yellow delicacy. She’s forgotten the crossing guard.

Caught Red-Pawed

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/16/2011 at 2:11 pm

"I didn't do it."

I don’t know. Do you believe her? Can you tell I just yanked the expensive ball of fresh mozzarella cheese out of her mouth? It was still wrapped but it had at least one puncture wound. Like an idiot, I left it on the new kitchen countertop while I walked out of the room for SECONDS. This dog doesn’t miss a trick. Luckily, I don’t usually leave food out; the cheese was minding its own business as I had just rescued it from the plastic shopping bag in which it was suffocating. So, do I eat the cheese or not? Hell yes. For a $7 ball of cheese, I’ll just irrigate the wound and slice the offending piece away. Not much will keep me from enjoying a fresh mozzarella, sundried tomato and pesto sandwich. I think she’s sorrier that she didn’t eat it before I caught her; the fist-sized ball of soft cheese wrapped in plastic, nestled softly between her powerful molars like a fresh little quail. I’m sure you’ll try again Olive.

On The Road

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/16/2011 at 1:55 pm

"I LIKE the view!"

Yesterday, Olive and I went for a leisurely afternoon drive, winding our way down quiet country roads flecked with smudges of red, orange and gold. Autumn leaves tumble stem over blade, grazing the windshield as the next gust of wind carries them off to another temporary resting place. Olive begins these destination-less trips by poking her head between the two front seats to share the same view I have. She always seems to be slightly amazed by what she sees and tracks the cars in front of us as though they are plump rabbits running away from us. “THIS IS A MUCH BETTER VIEW THAN OUT OF THE REAR OR SIDE WINDOWS ISN’T IT OLIVE?” She looks at me as if to nod “yes,” and goes back to fixating on the view out the windshield. Finally, she settles back down onto the rear bench, maintaining a forward-looking vantage point. As I continue to drive, raising my arm out the window upward as if to high five the wind, I wonder how anyone could ever live someplace where they don’t get to experience the natural magnificence of a Northeastern Fall. It is unthinkable to me. This was a quintessential Autumn day. Cue the marching band at the local football game, pumpkins sitting on doorsteps, the scent of hot cider and donuts wafting through the air and the squeals and giggles of children enjoying a hayride. I swear, days like this make all the hot, humid, stinkbug-filled Summer days and all the frost-bitten, see-your-breath bone-chilling winter days worth it. “WHERE IN GOD’S NAME ARE WE GOING?” says Olive. “I HAVE TO PEE AND I’M GETTING HUNGRY.” Of course she doesn’t verbalize this, but I am exceptionally talented at reading non-verbal communication cues. “OKAY, OKAY, LET ME JUST TAKE A PICTURE OF THIS OLD BARN, THEN WE’LL TURN AROUND AND GO HOME.” My God, it’s like having a two-year old. One who would rather eat diapers than wear them. I look back at Olive’s adorably inquisitive face and I swear I hear, “ARE WE THERE YET?”

Crazy Eyes

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/08/2011 at 7:26 pm

"I'm staring into your SOUL right now."

As Olive and I walked leisurely across the grounds of the local college early yesterday morning, we crossed paths with a student on his way to class. “Good Morning,” I said. “Good morning. How are you?” said the young stranger with the characteristic idealistic tone that only the young and newly independent can enthusiastically muster. “Fine thanks,” I replied. “MAN, YOUR DOG HAS CRAZY EYES,” he noted as we passed. I chuckled. “Ya’ think?”

The Perils of Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/02/2011 at 7:47 pm

"AGAIN? What Now?"

Where do I even begin? The past three days have been nothing but chaos. Chaos executed with the imbecilic skill of the Marx Brothers. At 8:30 on Tuesday evening, I notice something odd on Olive’s back leg. “WHAT THE HELL?” I think. A cluster of raised bumps, about eight of them right above her “ankle.” I squint my astigmatic eyes and position them about a micron from the offending bumps. I find more running along the inside of her front legs and a few dotting her chest which are beginning to bloom. “HOLY SHIT.” My left brain senses that this is an allergic reaction of some kind. But of course, my irrational right hemisphere is conjuring up all sorts of insane possibilities. I call the Newton Veterinary Hospital who asks me if I “want” to bring her in. That’s like saying, “How much money do you feel like spending tonight?” We agree that if it gets worse and travels to her face and neck, then I have to bring her in because it could affect her breathing. I go back to watching TV, going over to check Olive about every 10 minutes. She is resting comfortably, all curled up on her brown faux suede “UFO,” the bean bag chair she booted me from and claimed as her own. At 10:30, I check on her and it’s clear that it’s only getting worse. Her chest is now covered with a ton of irregularly-shaped pink polka dots. And now there are four bumps on her head. I look at Olive and announce with barely controlled panic, “GET UP. WE’RE GOING FOR A RIDE.” And so the drama begins with a 40-minute ride at night, in the rain, on dark country roads with a driver who has trouble recognizing faces across the room. With her glasses on. In the light. I look in my rearview mirror at Olive sitting in the back seat and mutter, “CHRIST. I HOPE I DON’T KILL US BOTH OLIVE.” We pull up to the veterinary hospital and walk inside. Unlike human emergency centers, this one is empty, save just a mother and her 10 year-old son and their pug. Olive gets weighed and then a thermometer is unceremoniously inserted into her butt (never a dog’s favorite; actually never anyone’s favorite.) The Veterinarian inspects Olive and confirms that she has a moderate case of hives. We discuss what might have caused this. My best guess is that earlier in the day when I took her out to pee, she dragged me to the tree in the front yard, tracking some impressive scent and then dropped to all fours and began rubbing herself on it. (Which after talking to my next door neighbor later on, deduce that it was likely fox urine that she rubbed herself in.) I yanked her up right away but apparently the damage was done. I love when people dispense what they perceive as helpful advice such as “You shouldn’t let your dog do that.” Gee, thanks. That’s like saying, “When you see someone pull the trigger, duck.” Genius. Unfortunately, I’m not a psychic. If I could actually read the minds of dogs (never mind humans), I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I’d be taking a bath in a tub filled with gold. The Vet whisks Olive into the treatment area/emergency room, in which I’m not allowed, to give her two injections: steroids and Benedryl, or the canine equivalent of Benedryl. I hate when they do this. I wish I could be with Olive, but I suppose it’s for the best. About 10 minutes later, Olive prances out into the waiting room. She’s got a white cotton gauze bandage on her leg. I’m instructed to stick around for another 20-30 minutes to make sure she doesn’t have an allergic reaction (déjà vu) to the injections. It’s now about 11:30pm. We walk around checking out the store section and I get a soda. Olive is just happy to be with me and away from needles. She doesn’t have a reaction so I settle up the bill ($219) and we leave. Now I have to find a 24-hour drugstore that sells Benadryl so I can have this on hand in case the hives return. Oh, and when I get home, I have to give Olive a “warm, oatmeal bath.” Olive usually starts nodding out between 8:30 and 9pm, and its now almost 2am. She has more energy yet than I would have imagined. Bath done. Then I shower. Set my alarm for 6am to make a 9am Doctor appointment about 90 minutes away. To be continued…

Ancient Annie Hall

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/26/2011 at 8:10 pm

"Whoa. What the HELL was that?"

Today, Olive and I witnessed a most unusual sight at a local mailbox. As we were getting into the car after our morning walk, out of the corner of my eye I see an ordinary looking car pull up to the mailbox. And out steps Annie Hall. Old Annie Hall. Annie Hall as she might look in her early 70s. Dressed like Annie Hall from the ‘70s. When she was in her 20s. “HOLY CRAP OLIVE, LOOK. IT’S ANCIENT ANNIE HALL.” And there before us is a woman, clearly a long-term member of AARP, standing at the mailbox depositing a letter. Her long platinum blonde hair is framed by large, dark sunglasses. It’s also partially entombed by a black wool beret. Her hair comes to rest just below her shoulders in a limp loose curl. It gets better. She wore a temperately inappropriate wool suit; a long-sleeved golden graham-colored jacket with a matching skirt that thankfully was car-length. While the combination of her age and couture caught my eye, it did not register until now just how weird it was that she was essentially wearing winter clothes on a morning where the temperature had already climbed to 70+ degrees. Geez, maybe we just witnessed a terrorist act of some sort. Although Old Annie Hall better fit the profile of an overly ripened female Soviet Spy as opposed to a female Muslim extremist. And while her outfit wasn’t quite “Annie Hall,” that was the immediate impression it created. It was a striking sight. Neither bad nor good, just odd. High contrast on so many different levels. I finished wrangling Olive into the back seat of the car, releasing the leash from her Frankenprong only when she was safely inside. I look at the old woman once more and look back at Olive who is wondering why in God’s name all my attention is not focused on her and her alone. Olive looks at me with her incredibly sweet, innocent face, ready to believe anything I tell her. “SEE OLIVE, THAT’S WHAT BULLY STICKS LOOK LIKE JUST BEFORE THEY’RE PROCESSED.”

Happy Tail

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/19/2011 at 9:56 pm

A brief (23 second) video starring Olive’s charismatic tail. My first attempt at editing audio in imovie. A little sloppy, but a good start. One of my favorite things about Olive is how she expresses so much emotion through her tail. What you are about to see is how Olive’s tail behaves for much of the time during a typical day. More discussion on her tail at a later date. Enjoy.

School Daze

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/14/2011 at 8:42 pm

"They're BACK!"

It’s back to school time and Olive is as thrilled as an unopened jar of fingerpaint. During our morning walk, we pass by the local middle school and Centenary College. This gives Olive two opportunities to seek out oohs, aahs and friendly groping by both small and tall humans. As we approach the red brick entrance to the quintessential 1950s America-style Middle School, first we encounter the crossing guard who will walk into the middle of the street to stop oncoming traffic to allow Olive to pass safely as though she is another child. Olive stops to offer a thank-you lick. Up ahead to the right, all the children have gathered, chatting noisily in small groups like bees at a summer picnic. Sometimes a parent or a teacher will stop to chat and pet Olive. Some of the children stare longingly at Olive, their desire to pet her palpable. But, most are engaged in important conversations about all the things that were important to us at that age. You know, the things we can’t even recall today. We continue walking, passing mostly Victorian-style homes. The morning air is punctuated by the sounds of dogs barking from all directions, cars passing by, cement workers demolishing rapidly deteriorating stone front steps and often, the bell at Centenary College tolling seven times to let us know that it’s seven o’clock. We pass the home of the hyperactive tiny dog that rushes out to the front porch of its unique octagonal home (once the local post office) to bark non-stop crazy at Olive. Olive ignored it for many months and then got sick of it. Now, I watch for the exact moment when the hair on her neck and back rises and she utters a low growl that I’m sure means “SHUT THE F UP YOU BATSHIT DOG.” Inevitably we hear batshit’s owner yell at him and he stops. A few more blocks and we pass the “dancing teacup,” the miniature black and tan Doberman Pinscher, who tethered to his porch, races out toward Olive on the sidewalk, barking like someone just lit his tail on fire. We’re not done yet. Another few blocks and we pass “The Crazy Westie,” the white West Highland Terrier who hurls himself at the windows of his house while barking at Olive. What is it with these tiny dogs and their obsessive barking? As we round the corner, we can see the gleaming gold dome atop Centenary College. Sometimes we stop to rest on the front lawn of the campus. I check my iphone while Olive lays next to me gnawing on a branch she’s found. After a few minutes, we rise, and Olive quickly focuses on the students crossing campus on their way to classes. Yesterday, one of the students hangs out his car window to ask me: “I HEAR THOSE DOGS ARE GASSY. IS THAT TRUE?” “ONLY AFTER SHE’S HAD A FEW BEERS, AND PUKED UP CHEETOS ON HERSELF WHILE WATCHING A FOOTBALL GAME,” I reply. That’s what I want to say. Instead I say, “Not really, but sometimes her stools are really loose.” Have a nice breakfast, I think.

Barbie Crime Scene

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/09/2011 at 7:31 pm

"Now THIS is interesting."

I think the photo above cries out for some creative captions. Got any? This is the treasure Olive found during our walk this morning. She uncharacteristically dragged me across the sidewalk onto someone’s lawn to check this out. I can’t imagine what she thinks of it. A tiny, naked human, lying stiff in the grass. I’m hoping it piqued her interest because it was something she saw as opposed to something she smelled. She was very interested in it, nosing around it from all angles while I was desperately trying to get a good picture and talking on the phone at the same time. I should have let her pick it up in her mouth as the photo would have been priceless, but since my brain was otherwise taxed trying to hypertask, I didn’t think of it. I’ll bet when we pass by tomorrow it will still be there. Maybe we’ll get a second chance. Wouldn’t that be funny, if we came by tomorrow and Ken was lying there naked too? Who knows, maybe some demented neighborhood child is staging some kind of crime scene. Great. That would mean that a Jeffrey Dahmer- or Ed Gein-in-training is living nearby. Olive and I continued on our walk past the house on the corner with the most amazing lawn in the tri-state area. Really, the guy who lives here must have been a groundskeeper at Giants Stadium or a local golf course. It has not one weed in it. Perhaps this is why Olive always wants to pee here but I don’t dare let her. We cross the street and continue our peaceful early morning walk. “SO, WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE NAKED BARBIE DOLL?” asks Olive. “HOW THE HELL DO I KNOW?” I reply. “I JUST HOPE YOU DIDN’T LEAVE ANY NOSEPRINTS OR DNA ON IT.”

Dear Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/07/2011 at 5:06 pm

"And how does that make you FEEL?"

I am pleased to announce that Olive Pimento Soldavini is now authoring a dog advice column. You’ll find it in the Main Menu at the top under DEAR OLIVE. In this column, Olive helps other dogs understand their humans, overcome their fears and become the best dog they can possibly be. Check back every now and then to see what advice Olive is offering. About this photo: Taken by my nephew John, I suspect he actually posed her (although that would not be easy to do given her independent spirit, overall squiggiliness and desire to play) because I have never in my life seen her sit quite like this.

Rip Van Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/05/2011 at 7:03 pm

DO NOT DISTURB. I MEAN IT.

Whenever Olive and I return home from the local dog park, she marches upstairs to the master bedroom wordlessly, hops onto the bed and collapses like a drunken old lady into a deep slumber from which she does not want to be disturbed. There may as well be a cartoon sign that floats above her that says: “DO NOT TOUCH. DO NOT KISS. DO NOT PET. DO NOT STARE AT ME WHILE I’M SLEEPING. AND DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING TO CLEAN MY EARS. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO CLEAN YOUR EARS WHILE YOU’RE SLEEPING? AND I MEAN IT. ALL OF IT.” She’ll stay there, curled up like an overgrown, unhurried fetus for hours. The only way I know she’s still alive is that I hold a mirror up to her big brown nose and watch her breath cloud it up. Just kidding. I do love standing over her though, listening to her snore peacefully and very contentedly. Who knows what she’s dreaming about. Probably the same things we do, only in her dreams, it’s the dogs that speak and around whom all the action revolves. The humans just stand around like tree trunks, barking incessantly in the background. “I’M GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE SOON, I HAVE TO DO A LOAD OF LAUNDRY,” says Olive in her dream. “LAUNDRY?” Says Kira, the snow white Boxer. ‘WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DO LAUNDRY? DOESN’T YOUR HUMAN DO THAT?” “YES,” replies Olive, “BUT SHE SHRINKS ALL MY BED LINENS.” I guess we imagine that emotionally our dog’s lives would be pretty much like our own, but most in the veterinary world would say we’re anthropomorphizing. So what. You fantasize, I’ll anthropomorphize. When you think about it, they’re both imaginary pursuits.

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.

“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.

Olive “Talkies” Debut

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/30/2011 at 8:32 pm

This is Olive at 10 weeks old when I got her in June of 2010. Thank God I did not get her two weeks earlier otherwise I might have lost my mind completely. Olive was a firecracker that I could barely keep up with. I used to go over to my friend Irma or Kari’s house and hand the leash to them and announce with pathetic desperation and exhaustion, “PLEASE TAKE HER FOR 15 MINUTES SO I CAN RELAX. OTHERWISE I THINK I’M GOING TO SIT HERE AND CRY.” I would say that for the first four weeks I had Olive, the thought that maybe I wasn’t cut out for a weim (or maybe just a puppy) occurred to me at least once a day. It was a fleeting thought, but nonetheless one that alternately terrified, shamed and saddened me. But lucky for this dog, I’m no quitter. And today, even though she still has most of the energy of an electrical power plant, now I appreciate how much a part of her personality it is and how bored I’d be with a dog that “disappeared” into the cushions of the couch.

Hurricanineitis

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/28/2011 at 8:10 pm

"Be quiet, I'm PRAYING."

Well, Olive’s prayers must have worked. Hurricane Irene left Northwestern New Jersey relatively unscathed…so far. Although most of the rivers will crest many feet above flood stage by Tuesday morning. Olive and I slept on the extra-long microfiber couch in the living room last night. I didn’t want us to sleep in either the master or guest bedrooms upstairs in case a tree fell on the house. These rooms would take the brunt of the fall and I didn’t feel like waking up (maybe) pinned beneath the trunk of a soaking wet black walnut tree. For Olive, it was out of the ordinary to be sleeping outside her crate in the bedroom. First, she curled up like a little donut in the upholstered chair in the corner of the living room. Why this dog insists on circling her sleeping spot 25 to 30 times in rapid succession before dropping her legs beneath her is beyond me. It’s like watching the canine version of the fable, “The Princess and The Pea.” She stays there for 20 minutes which probably seems like two days to her.  Then, at around 11:30pm, as if  Jack Kerouac has been reincarnated, she gets up to aimlessly explore her other options. I see Olive’s “second wind” coming so I immediately get up and yank her fire engine-red Orvis donut bed off the top of her crate and place it flush against the couch I’m lying on. After she circles this expensive nest 25 times, she lays down and I say “GOOD GIRL OLIVE. GO NIGHT NIGHT.” Within seconds, she reveals her true intent. She jams as much of the fleece-like edging into her mouth and starts sawing away. ‘OLIVE. STOP IT. YOU ALREADY RUINED ONE BED.” I guide her back to the overstuffed chair and she climbs up and settles herself into the wide seat snugly, draping her head over its arm. Now I’m thinking, “WHERE THE HELL IS THIS STORM? NOTHING’S HAPPENING.” As if I had asked this of Zeus face-to-face, the response is immediate. The rain that comes down could only be described as a sustained assault. It is LOUD and POWERFUL. As it hits the roof of my wood-framed contemporary home with cathedral ceilings, the sound is somehow amplified. It has the distinct rhythm of a machine gun but the noise it makes sounds more like “BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM.” This continues throughout the night uninterrupted. Sometimes softer, sometimes louder.  I see Olive faintly, bathed in the blue glow of the oversize digital clock below the TV. She raises her head and looks around the room whenever the sound gets louder. The look on her face says it all. ‘WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?”At around 2am, I’m still mostly awake. I watch Olive rise from the chair and saunter over to the couch near me. I gently pull her up and she hops on the couch. She sidles next to me, extending her lengthy frame against the back of the couch. I put my arm around her and close my eyes, knowing that as long as Olive and I are okay, we can deal with whatever comes our way.

Olive Warhol

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/26/2011 at 9:46 pm

Psychedelic Olive

Perhaps Andy Warhol had segmented eyes like bees do. Add some hallucinogenic mushrooms and perhaps this explains how he saw the world of pop culture around him. Olive has been Warhol-ized by my cousin, Christine Kolenda. The “Blue Olive” on the day-glo lime-colored background reminds me of Blue Dog, created by George Rodrigue. (Do you think he dumped the “z” at the end to sound more French than Spanish?”) The “Brown Olive” against the Tiffany Robin’s egg-blue background makes her seem like a canine version of a chocolate Easter Bunny. The “Grape Olive” against the lollipop red-background suggests to me, Olive’s insatiable desire to be constantly in motion, like a three year-old on a sugar bender. And the “St. Patrick’s Day Olive” resting on the butter-colored background? Clearly, Olive is about to projectile vomit some putrid thing she just ate and regretted. ‘WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS OLIVE? BEING IMMORTALIZED IN AN ANDY WARHOL-LIKE PRINT?” “MY GOD, I’M CUTE. AREN’T I?” said Olive. DOES THAT MAKE ME A NARCISSIST?” “NO MORE THAN LICKING YOURSELF DOES,” I say.

Something’s Up

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/26/2011 at 10:19 am

"A HURRICANE? What's a hurricane?"

Uh-oh. Something’s up. All the humans seems to have high anxiety. Should I be worried? Where are my bully sticks? Who’s Irene? Is she coming here? I hope she doesn’t stay long. Is she related to me? The leaves are falling. I had a nice walk this morning. Did I just launch an air biscuit? WOO. WOO. WOO. WOO. WOO. Now I feel better. I’m going back to sleep on my Orvis bed. I’ll chew on it some more when I wake up. Another day, another nap.

Olive Makes Out

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/25/2011 at 10:01 pm

"Can't you see I'm BUSY?"

When Olive thought no one was looking, I caught her kissing my nephew, John. ‘YES, OLIVE, I HAVE PICTURES OF IT TOO.” Hopefully, prior to “the kiss,” she didn’t just clean her palate in a biological sort of way.

 

Hush Puppy Series

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/21/2011 at 3:09 pm

The Many Faces of Olive

Here it is. What I call the “Hush Puppy Series” from Olive’s professional photography session. I chose that name because it was the first phrase that came to mind when I saw it. It reminded me of the Hush Puppy shoes I used to love as a child. Always the  highlight of the back to school shopping trip each year with my Mom. To this day, I have an incredible affinity for suede and any fabric that feels soft against my skin. This preference may also have descended from the hellish mohair incident also from when I was a child. Someone gave me a mohair sweater and when I put it on, I felt as though I were wearing something cut from a roll of insulation. It scratched like hell and to this day I won’t go near mohair anything. What the hell kind of word is that anyway, MOHAIR? Maybe this why I also don’t really care for goats. (I really hate their freaky vertical pupils.) Because if you didn’t already know this (and I didn’t), mohair comes from the hair of the Angora goat. Anyway, back to The Many Faces of Olive. My favorite shot is the middle picture on the far right. It seems to capture Olive in a goofy child-like moment which seems to dominate her personality right now. I also like the middle shot in the top row which gives off the same vibe. The shot on the bottom far left shows just how symmetrical this dog’s features are. Her front paws line up with the precision of the atomic clock. I have showed Olive this bronze-framed piece of art and introduced her to herself. She showed more interest in the frame. This from the dog who routinely stares (and barks) at herself in the mirror while lying on the bed. Goofball.

Cartoon Moment

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/13/2011 at 4:07 pm

"What the hell was THAT?"

So there we are on the front lawn last night. Me holding the anti-bear flashlight while Olive scent scans the environment. All of a sudden, a common yellow moth bobs and weaves its way into Olive’s personal space. Not a good idea. It’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Olive tracks the moth as it orbits her, observing its erratic flight pattern, waiting no doubt for an opportune moment to strike. And then it comes. Olive waits calmly and patiently until the moth dances so closely to her that it appears that it will touch down on her nose. In one elegantly swift move, Olive lunges at the moth like a champion fencer. She opens her mouth and then snaps it shut around Tinkerbell. Within seconds, probably after experiencing the odd sensation of a moth fluttering around inside her mouth and tickling her tonsils, Olive’s mouth pops open and out flies the moth unharmed as if it has simply emerged from a tunnel, making it feel uniquely like an absurd cartoon moment.

Mona Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/12/2011 at 7:38 pm

"LOOK. INTO. MY. EYES."

Notice the ambiguity in Olive’s facial expression in the portrait above. Is she registering surprise, confidence, or an intellectual curiosity? Her head, front paws and back legs form the shape of a pyramid. Her right ear, cocked ever so slightly, draws the viewer’s eye to the powerful apex of the pyramid’s base. The left paw, extending beyond the right and positioned forward, hints at an independent, dominant nature. Her eyes as wide as UFOs stare directly into the viewer’s soul. Does this make you uncomfortable? Stare directly into Olive’s eyes. What do you feel? Do you have an uncontrollable urge for a bully stick? Do you feel an inexpressible need to dig a hole to the center of the earth, eating the insect-filled dirt along the way? Have you just leaped across the room onto the couch? And does the water in the toilet beckon to you with an uncontrollable desire? Wait a minute. Sorry. Olive has been channeling me again. “YES OLIVE, THIS IS ONE OF THE PRINTS FROM YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION. AND YES, YOU ARE MUCH PRETTIER THAN THAT HAG MONA LISA.”

 

Nose Lever

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/03/2011 at 8:17 pm

"WHAT pink spot?"

Thank God Olive had her photography session before she decided to impersonate Michael Jackson’s nose. That’s right, my beautiful monochromatic monkey semi-disfigured herself apparently trying to use her nose as a lever, probably trying to escape from her crate when I went out for an hour a few nights ago. Now, there’s a bright pink spot the size of a large green pea on the bridge of her nose. It used to be brown. Now it’s like looking at someone with a decidedly noticeable imperfection on their face; so much so, that it’s the first thing that you see. Then, only after seeing the person for the 8,000th time, does it become “invisible” to you. If you like the person. If you don’t like them, then the imperfection becomes even more annoying. Clearly, it’s an unintended focal point. It’s like seeing a calcified horn sprout from a friend’s forehead and doing everything you can not to stare at it. But it’s impossible. And yet it’s just as difficult not to telegraph your discomfort by turning away. Somehow, you have to look straight through them as though they are Casper The Friendly Ghost and carry on a lucid conversation. At least Olive doesn’t have to worry about things like that. Dogs don’t care if you have a horn sprouting from your head. Impale a marshmallow on it and you’ve just created a peace offering. (This just made me drool for a Mallomar; a seasonal confection unique to the Mid-Atlantic States). Olive will always be beautiful to me, no matter how many scars she collects. As I sit here writing this, Olive is asleep on the couch behind me, the pink “badge” on her nose resting on my black pants. Hopefully, this heals and darkens. Until then, I’ll just look at it like it’s the mole on Cindy Crawford’s face.

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.

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.

Twilight

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/18/2011 at 7:05 pm

"Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?"

Olive in a contemplative mood with twilight as her backdrop and a horizon filled with possibility.

Say Cheese Dog

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/01/2011 at 8:09 am

"Am I DONE yet?

Last night, Olive sat for her professional photography session with Tracy Kometani. When we first got to Tracy’s studio, Olive of course spent the first 10 minutes using her nose to imprint the “GSS” Global Scent System of the studio on her brain. Tracy had two backdrops set up, one ghost white and one the color of dark coffee beans. There are big titanium white umbrellas with megawatt lights surrounding the dark backdrop. Olive explored the studio by walking back-and-forth across the backdrops, sniffing out all the assorted props which ranged from dolls begging to be chewed to a old stand-up mirror that Olive spent some time gazing into. Then seeing the half open door in the corner of the studio, Olive shot up about 20 twenty steep steps and started to make herself at home in Tracey’s kitchen and living room. “OLIVE. GET BACK HERE. YOU’RE NOT GETTING A BATH,” I yell as I’m scrambling up the stairs like an ATV with 50,000 miles on it. I wrangle Olive back downstairs and after she calms down a bit, we start the session. Tracey has set up a beautiful antique bench whose wooden ends curl and is covered in an ivory white fabric. It is stunning against the java-colored backdrop and against Olive’s unique shimmering taupey-grey coat. “OLIVE. SIT.” My well-behaved dog sits on the backdrop and looks at me for her next command. “OLIVE. STAY.” As Olive continues staring at me, you can hear the “pops” and “clicks” as Tracy starts taking Olive’s photograph. She seems to be enjoying the process and amazingly does not even blink with the pop of each “flash.” You’d think she was used to this from years of walking the Red Carpet. “OLIVE. IT WOULD BE NICE IF YOU COULD STOP PANTING AND KEEP YOUR BIRDHOLE SHUT FOR A FEW MINUTES.” Tracy gives Olive some water which she characteristically slurps up like a waterholic. It helps. A little.  Then we try to get Olive to sit on the bench and stay which she finally does with much cajoling and lots of Wagatha’s Cranberry with Chedder and Mint biscuits. It’s about 7pm and I haven’t eaten dinner and they smell so good, I momentarily consider eating one. Olive is now seated on the bench as Tracey clicks away. “MY GOD, SHE LOOKS LIKE THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND” I say. We take breaks during the next hour, letting Olive run around the studio burning off her energy by shaking her canvas Frisbee from side to side as though it is a beady-eyed woodchuck she has just caught. Back to the sitting. This time, we try to get Olive to lay down across the bench which would have been a perfect way to capture her natural regal demeanor, but Olive is having none of it. It’s actually a bit too small for her to feel comfortable on. Oh well, no matter how many biscuits I ply her with, it’s just not happening. Break time. Back to the session, this time Olive, starting to tire of posing or “remaining still,” just lays down on the backdrop. So, this becomes the next and final series of photos. Tracy stops to show me some of the pictures she’s taken and my jaw drops. I knew Olive was beautiful, but in the hands of a skilled photographer, she is absolutely breathtaking. It allowed me to see Olive more objectively than I see her every day. I look at these pictures and think, “This session was a great idea.” I look at one of the close-ups where you can clearly see Olive’s distinctive cowlick on the bridge of her nose and all of a sudden, I feel a mixture of love and pride, like I’m looking at the first grade picture of one of my kids with their hair slightly askew. What a fun experience! And for Olive? She got to be the center of the universe for 90 minutes.

Playdog

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 06/29/2011 at 9:27 pm

"Where the HELL is my tiara?"

“For God’s sake, HURRY! I look like a common tart. And I’m getting tired of posing. I’m hungry. WHERE are my clothes? Tell Prince Harry I think he’s very hot. Even if he does resemble an Irish Setter. A drink! A drink! I need a drink! NOW.”

Getting Detailed

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 06/19/2011 at 4:15 pm

"Why are baths SO exhausting?"

One of Olive’s least favorite things in the world is getting bathed. She knows it’s coming when I take her into the downstairs bathroom and shut the door behind us. She looks at me like an escaped convict who’s just stumbled upon an unanticipated 25 foot brick wall. I used to be stupid enough to let her watch me gather the oversized towels and drag them into the bathroom along with her. But, the real giveaway is when I put my swimsuit on. This is an undeniable clue. When she sees this, she runs upstairs and does one of two things. She either jumps up on the overstuffed pony print chair that she has claimed as her own and sinks as far down into it as she can, or she runs into my office and curls up into a fetus on the Orvis fleece wraparound bed she has eviscerated at the seams. She is desperately trying to make herself invisible. I gently drag her off either while she fixes her pleading eyes on mine. “OH C’MON OLIVE. IT’S NOT SO BAD. YOU’RE ONLY GETTING DETAILED. IT’S NOT LIKE YOU’RE GETTING WAXED AND BUFFED. AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU’RE NOT A SHOW DOG?” She retreats to the farthest corner of the bathroom deliberately avoiding all eye contact with me. I remove her olive-colored nylon collar with its repeating pattern of brown dog bones. I replace it with her stinkless stainless steel prong collar. It’s the only way I can pivot her inside the shower stall to ensure I’ve not neglected any of the nether bits. I squeeze into the stall after I’ve helped Olive cross its threshold and quickly shut the glass door. I pull the handheld shower spray down and turn on the water. Making sure it’s neither too hot or too cold, I proceed to “rinse” Olive. I love watching the transformation when Olive changes from weimaraner to seal. She goes from her usual grey-taupe to a dark brown-grey. All I can think of when I see this is that she looks like a seal. Not that I’ve ever seen a seal get a bath before, but I imagine them (some of them at least) to be this color. I start with her back, then work my way to the “undercarriage,” the limbs, neck and chest and finally the feet, tail and the trap door in the back. Then I lather her up in mostly organic Lani shampoo, trying to work it into her fur to get down to the skin, and realize that her micron-sized fur makes this next to impossible. I save the nose, ears and dainty head for last, knowing that this is the part she absolutely despises. Then I rinse her and wait for her to shake. She doesn’t. NOT THIS TIME. NOT EVER. NEVER. Not while she’s in the shower. I swear, this is her way of getting even. I’m not about to stand in the shower waiting for her to re-consider, so I open the door. She runs out and shakes ecstatically like she’s just been baptized by a polygamist cult. Droplets of water zip-zip-zip in all directions while she tries to dry herself off by rubbing her entire body on the teal-colored throw rugs. I try toweling her off, but she’s spastically twirling around the room now like a much-too-young-to-be-competing-in-beauty-pageants toddler. She now bites the towel repeatedly trying to engage me in a game of tug-of-war. I open the bathroom door which she barrels through like she’s been shot into outer space. Legs akimbo, she struggles to gain traction on the linoleum floor. She finally comes into contact with the carpeting and proceeds to zoom across the 24’ x 18’ room executing multiple figure eights at supersonic speed. You can hear the carpet screaming.

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.

Stranger Biscuits

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 06/09/2011 at 6:34 am

"Do I LOOK like an easy mark?"

As Olive and I were on the last paw of our morning walk, we passed the discount gas station we pass every morning. Usually we just say “Hi” or “Good Morning,” to the gas jockeys. On this morning though, one of the gas jockeys approaches me to ask if he can give Olive a biscuit. At least he asked. Because he was holding up, not a complete biscuit, but half of one. That wouldn’t have been so bad but for two other bits of information. One, the artificial red coloring looked like the biscuit had been dropped into a can of brick-colored paint. You could distinctly see the “layer” of manufactured coloring on the biscuit. But the worst part was that I think this guy had been CLEANING OUT HIS CAR. Typical male. He probably thought to himself, “Hey, look, half a dog biscuit,” never stopping to think that it may have been trapped in the bowels of his dirty car amidst all the greasy junk food wrappers, crumpled empty cigarette packs, and God knows what else for the last three years. Yes, most people have good intentions. This is what we say when people don’t stop to think before they act. I look at the biscuit which seems to be decaying in front of my eyes, probably wrinkling my brow and curling my upper lip and say, “Uh, thanks, but she’s got a really sensitive stomach.” I can’t recall exactly what he said next, but it was something to the effect of “Are you sure?” I look him in the eye this time and say “Yeah, I think I’ll pass. I already have to pick up her poop with a straw.” He chuckles and backs away. I walk away thinking, am I THAT paranoid or was there about 4 things wrong with this situation? And just for the record, I half lied. Olive does have a sensitive digestive tract, but only a third to half of her poops resemble cow pies, but that’s a whole different story. Can you imagine my organic foodie pooch eating this petrified biscuit? The dog who won’t even drink out of her water bowl if there is any whisker dirt or kibble floaters present? Olive and I walk away and I am tempted to turn around to see if this guy eats the half biscuit himself.

Weimaraner on Parade

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 06/05/2011 at 7:45 am

"Don't hate me becuase I'm BEAUTIFUL."

Last week, when Olive and I went for our morning walk, we were a bit later than usual and ended up encountering the staging of the local Memorial Day Parade. On this bright, sunny day, we passed bright red fire trucks spewing handfuls of candy, antique cars filled with antique local politicians, a revolutionary war-outfitted band and bazillions of children jacked up on sugar. Olive is pretty much enthralled, excited about the prospect of licking so many people, especially the food-stained boys and girls. Once in a while when one of the trucks or cars passes by and blows their horn right in front of us, Olive’s ears retreat like two wounded soldiers and she hops like a jackrabbit behind me for safety. Instead of just standing on the sidewalk like two deeply-rooted plants, Olive and I follow the parade down Main Street, mirroring the procession from the sidewalk. The air is punctuated with the sound of “oohs” and “aahs.” “Beautiful dog.” “Gorgeous dog.” “What a great face.” “Is she the parade mascot?” “How cute!” “Nice-looking dog you got there.” With each compliment, Olive’s chest seems to fill with pride, yet never interrupting her naturally graceful gait. We also pass a few garden-variety dogs every few yards and all of a sudden, what pops out from the sidewalk crowd but another weimaraner! Olive is always happy to meet one of her fellow brethren. The time usually devoted to the sniffing of naughty bits is significantly reduced when Olive meets “one of her own.” There seems to be an instinctual understanding between the two and they begin playing almost immediately. So far, we’ve been lucky. While the weims we’ve met may not be as naturally gregarious as Olive, they’ve been friendly. I worked hard to socialize Olive, especially when she was between 12-16 weeks old, which they say is the most important window for doing so. Sometimes, I’m afraid I’ve made her too friendly. She is innately trusting of strange dogs and people, so I have to closely monitor all “initial greetings,” to essentially protect Olive from her own naiveté. I chat with the dog’s owner and family for a couple of minutes and Olive and I continue on our walk. “Your dog is so pretty.” “Great looking dog!” “What a beautiful dog.” “Is that a weimaraner?” The compliments are always delivered in the same way. With a slight tone of incredulity. As if they can’t quite believe what they are seeing; that witnessing Olive’s beauty is like seeing an artistic masterpiece where you least expect it. Or like unexpectedly discovering one of the world’s natural wonders in your backyard. We continue walking and run into our friends, Susie, Perry, Ryan and Gail. Olive is always happy to see them and like the grifter she is, immediately tries to pilfer 2 year-old Ryan’s Pepperidge Farm Goldfish snacks. Olive thinks they should extend the line to include tiny birds. Even though it’s a holiday and we’re watching a parade, it’s just another beautiful day on Main Street U.S.A.

Dog Tired

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners on 06/04/2011 at 3:57 pm

"Don't BOTHER me."

Boy am I tired. I went to the dog park this morning! I made lots of new friends. The Border Collie was a little nutty. He thought we were all sheep. I thought they were supposed to be smart. All he wanted to do was round us all up. I ask you, do I look anything like some matronly sheep? God forbid. Besides, nobody tells me what to do. (Except Patti). Where are my Manolo Blahniks? The cobalt blue cheetah print with the 6-inch heels. I want to eat them. Anyway, I liked the Boxer-Redbone Coonhound mix. A little skittish, but my age and she likes to run too. The German Shepherd was obsessed with a dopey ball. Constantly chasing it as if every time were the first time. And these are the dogs that they use to guide blind people? Hope nobody tosses a ball the dog’s way when they’re crossing a highway. I think I smell cheese. Where did I leave my Nylabone with the orange dental niblets? Maybe I’ll go mess up the bed in the guest bedroom. Where did my friend Willy go? I miss him. I like to watch Patti walk around the entire house calling me, often passing me two or more times curled up in my pony chair in the dining room as though I were invisible. That’s when I channel my inner “Grey Ghost.” What are those fuzzy white things on the lawn that stick to my muzzle? You should see the hole I dug in the backyard the other day. I can see clear to China! Look! There’s the Great Wall? Wait a minute…is that a giant pen? Do I have dirt on my nose? It’s always a dead giveaway. Patti sees it right away and knows there’s a new hole somewhere nearby. At least I don’t bury things, right? Well, not yet anyway. I have to take a nap. Do I snore?

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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