We’ve had Oliver since he was ten weeks old. He was a gift from my husband for my twenty-eight birthday (his friend’s dog had puppies, Oliver isn’t a puppy-mill dog). He said, “Don’t worry, a dog is-a like-a plant.” If by “plant” he means humpy creature that lives for 20 years and requires more work than three human babies (and a prescription for both xanax and prozac “just in case”). Exactly like a plant, Francesco. Anyhow, we love Oliver. We’d be lost without him even if he’s made our lives considerably more difficult. I blame most of his separation anxiety, attitude problem, and general hysteria on the fact that his mother’s name is Sheena, a village dog, who wears an over-sized pink scrunchy on her forehead.
Oliver is from Cassino, like my husband, but he grew up in Florence. He’s been to nearly every region of Italy, and to the United States. He’s a world traveler but I think his favorite place is the Florence center. Why wouldn’t it be? The women in the stores rush to play with him, the shop assistants all know his name and scream, “OLIVER!” when we enter with him. The butcher gives him scraps, the lady at the bar near our home keeps treats on hand for her doggy customers. In restaurants, Oliver gets waited on more than we do, often with water and occasionally with ham. Yes, seriously, people often bring him things to eat and drink while we’re having our meal because “poverino,” he must be so bored and starved. All of the attention has taught him that he’s a rockstar. Wherever we go he looks around like, “Why the fuck aren’t you guys all petting me right now? FUCKING PET ME I SAID! ” Random old women in the street stop me to say, “Your dog is too thin! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HIM!?” Then I assure them that he’s at the exact weight that he should be, but to be honest, Italians stuff their dogs like a sausage so he’s possibly the ONLY thin dog in Florence. Old men will stop me in the street and hold out their cell phone for me to see pictures of all of the poodles they’ve ever owned in their entire life. “Here is Mario, he died three years ago, this is Lucy, she died ten years ago, this one is like yours, we called him Vanilla, he lived to be twenty-five,” while their current dog plays with Oliver under our feet (and probably wonders why the hell this guy won’t shut up about dead dogs). Growing up in Florence is a dream for most dogs especially for one as needy as ours (P.S. Poodles are Needy, dogs are a 10-20 year commitment, a lifelong commitment, so don’t rush out and buy one just because Oliver so damn handsome).
Regardless of his crazy, he made our dysfunctionally awesome little family complete. In reality he’s perfect for us with his long list of quirks. When my friends see a dog humping a lion or a dog playing the piano, they think of us. What more could you ask for?
His long list of weird.
These Things Piss Him Off:
1. Sneezing (apparently I’m an asshole if I sneeze).
2. Vomiting (in this case he also bites the toilet while you throw up. It sucks. Google has never heard of this before).
3. Hitting a wall (only a specific part of the wall. It really pisses him off).
4. Gagging (He barks at you).
5. Gypsies (He has bit 3 of them to date, but only Gypsies with the long skirts).
6. Being left along. Being alone is the absolute worst.
These Things Scare The Shit Out Of Him:
1. Orange peels
2. The wind
These Things Are So Awesome He Can’t Even Control Himself:
1. His pastel unicorn that his “uncle” Ty bought him, and his “uncle Ty.”
2. Plastic water bottles
3. Francesco. He’s obsessed with Francesco. Like in a creepy way.
4. Peeing on other dogs.
5. Doing training (because treats).
6. Barking in your face for no fucking reason.
7. Flipping his shit right before bed time.
8. Sleeping in a four inch space under our couch.
For throw-back Thursday here is a look at Oliver’s life as he grew up in Florence, Italy. We probably made a lot of mistakes with him (mainly spoiling, but whatever dude) but all in all I think he’s very, very happy.