Friday, November 29, 2013
November 29, 2013
Hello and Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It is me, Wimsey, coming to you from the frosty precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where it feels more like Christmas than Thanksgiving. But neither my human Maria, who got to come home early from work on Wednesday, nor her friend Elizabeth who, owing to the holiday doesn’t have to cater to my whims for 4 ½ days, is complaining. But before Elizabeth could disembarrass herself of me on Wednesday she had to take me for my afternoon walk. And since we had a considerable amount of rain it meant that I decided that it was time for another lengthy expedition to Central Park and the traditional watering of the human holding the leash. And just in case Elizabeth was not moist enough I sat on her when she took me back to my apartment where Maria was already home and preparing my lunch.
Because I eat so much turkey since it is impossible to get me to do anything without a bribe (which my humans prefer to think of as “positive reinforcement) this week I have been fed fresh grilled salmon from the gourmet fish market instead. Whenever anyone observes that I appear to well behaved be (appear being the operative word) and ask my humans how they do it, they have 4 words: The Fairway Deli Counter. We Hounds are by nature a transactional lot and all our behaviors—at least the good ones—come with price tags on them.
But Thanksgiving is all about being thankful so I thought I might share an abbreviated list of the things that my humans are thankful for.
Things my Humans are Thankful For
That I bay politely at people when I want what they have instead of just snatching it.
That none of my sidewalk snacks have (yet) resulted in an emergency visit to the vet
That the extra deep couch (which Maria bought to accommodate my pleasingly plus size posterior) is comfortable enough to sleep on when I monopolize the bed and she can’t fit into the sliver that I have left for her.
That I only need an hour’s walk to identify the best spot in which to poop.
That I first resort to charm rather than to larceny to get what I want.
That I help keep New York City parks free of plastic water bottles including the ones still in use that people might throw away later.
That although I will not sleep on my expensive Kuranda bed, I haven’t eaten it.
That although I can bay in my sleep I have not yet learned to fling drool whilst napping.
That people know who my humans are and are nice to them because I am accompanying them.
That I have not yet pulled the ceramic soap holder out of the wall when Elizabeth ties my leash to it in order to bathe me.
That they have an intimate knowledge of all the neighborhood pet shops are and are up to date about all the latest merchandise.
That none of us are ever hungry owing to my frequent forays to visit snack shops and food trucks.
That I have never actually succeeded in stealing dinner from someone eating at an outdoor café.
That someone invented the (heinous) Gentle Leader.
That squirrels and rats run fast.
That I don’t weigh even more.
That I am sufficiently recovered from the tragic closure of the Grom gelato store to instead invade Lush Cosmetics next door and demand snacks from the staff.
That they have not yet fallen over when I shove them out of the way when they put salmon in my food bowl.
That they get plenty of fresh air and exercise whether they want to or not and irrespective of climactic conditions
That I am attentive enough to hygienic matters to demand fresh water when there is drool in my water bowl.
That I will stop digging up the Oriental rug if given a large pile of smelly sheets to dig in instead.
That I let Elizabeth know whether anyone has made an unauthorized visit to her apartment by running over to my toy pile and taking inventory as soon as we come in.
That instead of being decorated with piles of colorful and expensive throw pillows their apartments are decorated with piles of colorful and expensive dog toys.
That I alert them to my need to go out by shoving a wet stuffie in their faces and squeaking it.
That I relieve them of the boring peanuts in the mixed nut canister by demanding that they hand feed them to me one at a time.
That instead of permanently destroying the plants in the yard by digging them up I merely alter their shapes by napping on them.
That only my head will fit through the neighbor’s cat flap.
That someone invented Febreze.
That someone invented Grimeinator Shampoo
That I am not even bigger.
That I clearly signal when I am about to sneak up on someone and poke them in the butt.
That I clearly signal when I am about to sneak up on someone and stick my head into their grocery bag (NB: Without going into detail, I recommend that if you are shopping on the Upper West Side you not have a baguette sticking out of your shopping bag).
That on road trips I provide moral support for my vehiculalry challenged humans by resting my chin on the driver’s shoulder and giving them encouraging looks in the rear view mirror.
That on road trips I astound, amaze and entertain by performing Houdini-like feats on a wide variety of canine seat belts.
That their lives now have a higher purpose—ME!
I know that there are plenty of Hound people out there with similar lists—like maybe the fact that their Hound did not eat the couch (this week) or that (most) of the furniture still has four legs or that their Hounds only counter surfed healthy items, etc.
But most of all, my humans are simply thankful for me. As well they should be since I have a lot to put up with—from Maria sometimes wanting to sleep in her bed to Elizabeth not wanting to spend the entirety of every afternoon in Central Park. I was, in fact, most irritated with Elizabeth this week: I was following an alluring airborne scent that was drifting in over the Hudson from New Jersey when I was suddenly impeded by an inconvenient barrier. I ordered Elizabeth to immediately remove this heinous obstacle to my olfactory pleasure and she gave me some lame excuse about us having reached the end of the pier. She can be quite difficult at times.
Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday and wisely using their time off to engage in productive activities—like making a Christmas list for their Hounds.
Until next time,
Wimsey and his ever-thankful humans
Posted by Wimsey at 2:27 PM
Friday, November 15, 2013
November 15, 2013
Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where le bon temps roulé amid all the magnificent fall foliage. If I were a poetically inclined Hound I would write a paean to the joys of autumn with special mention of the deep mounds of fallen leaves. These leaves are the stuff of Hound heaven:
1. They hold scent to an amazing degree, causing me to spend countless hours forcing my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth watch me sniff them. I am sure that the next best thing to sniffing them themselves is watching me do it for the extended amounts of time that I deem mandatory.
2. I love the sound that they make when I pee on them—kind of like a crunchy rain. This is why I never tire of peeing on them and why my humans think that my entire insides are a giant bladder.
3. Pooping on fallen leaves also makes a very satisfying sound and has the added benefit of forcing my humans to exhibit advanced excavation skills to collect it. Finding places to poop that are inimical to poop collection is one of my abiding interests in life and one of the (many) abiding banes of my humans’ existence.
4. Not only do leaves contain a plethora of snacks in the form of discarded pieces of rotting food and assorted animal spoor but they also constitute a cloaking device that makes such delicacies invisible to the eyes of my humans and prevents them from taking counter measures. Of course these snacks are abundantly obvious to those of us who happen to have noses that are actually designed for smelling things.
And in fall temperatures are brisk enough to be invigorating and are conducive to lengthy and stimulating park perambulations but not so brisk as to require the wearing my heinous collection of winter coats. Consequently, this week Elizabeth, who is my companion during the day, has been complaining that I have been defining the term “afternoon walk” to once again mean “walk that takes all afternoon.” This is in contrast to the summer definition of afternoon walk, which means “dash from one air conditioned apartment to the next whilst taking care of only the most minimal amounts of business possible.
Fall also brings the return of Eastern Standard Time which makes life even more inconvenient for my humans since I am on Hound Time. Hound Time means that when it starts to get dark I start to engage in anticipatory activities relating to my early evening walk in spite of the fact that this walk will not be forthcoming for another hour or two. Around here, I make sure that Eastern Standard Time is also known as Enhanced Wimsey Walk Chivvying Time.
In other news, I have not been to the vet at all this week. It’s shocking! My humans are still talking about it and the vet staff is all “Where is Wimsey? It’s not like him to stay away so long.” I know that it was remiss of me not to put in an appearance, but I made up for it in other ways this week, principally by taking Elizabeth on extensive and lengthy park expeditions and then squeaking at her when I felt that she was taking too long to prepare my lunch (an afternoon of park perambulating works up an appetite). Or descending into a deep (and immobile) sleep the wide way across the bed just before Maria wants to go to sleep, forcing her to choose between disturbing me or spending another night on the couch. I’ll leave it to your imagination to decide who slept where. Or announcing that I wish to go out, which forces my humans to cease whatever they are doing and suit up for some cold weather walking, only to change my mind and be fast asleep when they approach me with a leash. I could go on, but the Ways of the Hound when it comes to be annoying, aggravating and obnoxious are endless. It’s a good thing that we are so cute.
But in other exciting news, today is the debut of a streaming TV show from Amazon called Alpha House. It’s about a bloodhound who lives with four humans. (If it were about the humans it would need to be called Beta House). I am absolutely certain however that the canine in question will be a TV bloodhound, i.e., one that is too lazy to eat the couch, never counter surfs or eats the important papers out of his humans’ briefcase and doesn’t fling drool all over the alpha walls, the alpha ceilings or the alpha residents. We will probably be fast-forwarding to the scenes that have the bloodhound since they are always the most important ones.
Anyway, for those of you interested in genomics (and who isn’t, especially around here where DNA ranks right up there with Tudor monarchs and broccoli as hot topics of conversation) a recent study shows that domesticated canines are older than previously thought (18,000 years rather than the 10,000-14,0000 usually cited) and that we descend, not from modern wolves, but from an extinct, missing link wolf. Also that we were “domesticated”(I use this term loosely) by hunter-gatherers and not by settled farmers. And since bloodhounds are a very ancient breed, I am sure that my ancestors were involved in this process:
Hunter-gatherer #1: Hey, look at that bunch of animals following us! I saw them yesterday too. What do you think they want?
Hunter-gatherer #2: I don’t know. I wonder if they are eatable?
Hunter-gatherer #1: They don’t smell very appetizing.
Hunter-gatherer #2: Does anything we eat smell very appetizing? Anyway, they are making that funny noise again and moving off. I wonder where they are going?
Hunter-gatherer #1: Let’s follow them and see!
Hunter-gatherer #2: Look, look! They found a juicy boar!
Hunter-gatherer #1:Why don’t they kill it and eat it? They seem to be staring at us and then staring at the boar.
Hunter-gatherer #2: Maybe they recognize our superiority as hunters and want us to do it.
Hunter-gatherer #1: Yes, you are probably right. After all we are larger, smarter and have opposable thumbs as well as these very powerful weapons.
Hunter-gatherer #2: OK, well that’s done. Let’s get the meal back to camp.
Hunter-gatherer #1: Those funny looking animals are still staring at us. And they seem to be producing a lot of drool.
Hunter-gatherer #2: They are probably hungry. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to cut off a little piece and give it to them. They found the boar after all.
Hunter-gatherer #1: Yes, I agree. Well, they seem to have enjoyed that piece but they are still drooling. Let’s give them a little more—it will make less weight to carry to camp.
Hunter-gatherer #2: Good point. And it’s kind of fun to listen to them make that noise.
Later that evening….
Hunter-gatherer #1: We’re back! And these funny, smelly, loud animals helped us find a juicy boar.
Chief: Where is it?
Hunter-gatherer #2: Here!
Chief: Those funny, smelly, loud animals helped you find a boar leg? Where’s the rest of the boar?
Hunter-gatherer #1: Ummm… they were hungry and we thought we’d share. They are very cute when they stare at you, you know. And they make the most amazing noise…
Chief: You mean like they’ve just done to get those places next to the fire?
Hunter-gatherer #2: Yes, exactly! But it’s not as though we’d let them sleep in the cave with us or anything…
Hunter-gatherer #1: No, not that. But I bet they would keep us very warm if they did.
Hunter-gatherer #2: And of course then they’d be around to let us know if there was anything dangerous lurking nearby while we slept.
Hunter-gatherer #2: And since they’ve already eaten most of one juicy boar I’m sure they’d let us keep most of the second one.
Hunter-gatherer #1: Or at least more of it. That big black and tan one is pretty hard to resist.
Chief: We don’t have a choice. They’re staying.
Hunter-gatherer #2: How come?
Chief: My wife is making the big one a coat.
I’m sure that’s how the domestication of humans started. Today of course the Modern Hound no longer needs to find juicy boar or anything else edible that doesn’t come out of the refrigerator or off someone’s plate and humans have many more goods and services to offer their Hounds.
Well I will leave it there for this week. I hope you are enjoying the autumn as much as I am.
Until next time,
Wimsey, a hunter and gatherer of my humans’ time, money and possessions
Posted by Wimsey at 8:24 PM
Friday, November 8, 2013
November 8, 2013
Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side, otherwise known as the Capital of Autumn. True New Yorkers believe that New York is the Capital of Everything so why not nature’s most colorful season? Autumn is one of my favorite seasons owing to all the scent that collects on the fallen leaves and to the crisp sound that they make when I pee and poop on them. Also, I enjoy watching my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth excavating leaf piles to collect my copious spoor whilst I kick leaves in their faces.
But the city has been a busy place—we had Halloween and a Marathon both of which meant extra people on the street for me to investigate. I am profoundly grateful that I am not one of those timid Hounds who become alarmed at the sight of people wearing funny clothes or orange Marathon capes. Perhaps this has something to do with my humans’ not dissimilar wardrobe choices (if the pointy hat fits…).
And last week I had another one of my Adventures in Veterinary Medicine. This one involved a screening ultrasound--a procedure I highly recommend, by the way, as it involves a warm gel massage of one’s belly and is so relaxing that I have been known to fall asleep during them. This time the test uncovered a small abscess on my prostate which had to be drained via a needle and which entailed receiving a modicum of IV Valium (which I also highly recommend).
So last Friday I spent the afternoon hanging out with the vet staff at Blue Pearl (our 24/7 veterinary specialist hospital which happens to be only a mile away). I say hanging out because this was literally the case; one of the great benefits of being a Hound of majestic proportions is that there is a dearth of unpleasant kennels and cages into which one can be crammed. So I hung out with the staff in the treatment area until my humans came to collect me and to fork over the customary wad of cash on my behalf.
But fortunately (for me), being a Hound who is semi-high on some excellent drugs did little to impair the fact that I am still a Hound. So although my humans proposed walking a short, slow mile home I proposed playing one of my favorite games: “I don’t want to go that way, I want to go this way.” And one lengthy expedition to the Far West Side later we arrived home where I was fed scrambled eggs and turkey. Maria also bought me a poached salmon and Elizabeth cooked me some delightful chicken breasts and baked many yams so by Sunday I was once again raring to go. And if my humans were ever inclined to say “no” to me they become considerably less so after one of my veterinary exploits. One of the great talents of The Hound is the extraction of maximum benefit from any situation. Accordingly, this week saw several visits to pet shops, the acquisition of a stuffed penguin, a large bully stick and of course hours of unfettered park perambulation.
Here are some pictures from my week:
This is me at the base of a statue of King Jagiello of Poland. Many people like to take pictures of this statue and I like to stand in front of it and refuse to move so their pictures also include King Wimsey of Central Park.
Here I am doing what I do best—climbing up on a park bench. This has a number of benefits: 1) a Hound on a bench is not a Hound heading home 2) it encourages my humans to sit down so I can sit on them 3) the air currents are better up there and 4) to get me off the bench you have to feed me turkey. And of course it is easier for passersby to scratch me.
Now it might look like I am standing around but this could not be further from the truth. I am actively engaged in demanding a bribe of turkey in exchange for heading in the direction that my human(s) want to go.
Here I am either admiring the autumnal foliage or refusing (again) to look at the camera. Your choice.
This is me baying at the head of the 77th Street pedicab crew. He was trying to eat lunch.
This is me after visiting the pedicabs (you can see them in the background). I wanted to return to visiting the pedicabs on 77th Street but Elizabeth wanted to walk somewhere that didn’t involve me baying at people. There was a wad of turkey forthcoming.
Well we did continue our walk but unfortunately this involved visiting all the food trucks along Central Park West and trying to cadge food from the people eating the food from the food trucks. Here I am in front on the Museum of Natural History with the statue of a headless Teddy Roosevelt in the background. My customary activities here include trying to drag Elizabeth up the steps and into the museum where I am not allowed and poking unsuspecting tourists in the derriere.
This is me in front of the Italian pastry stand encouraging Elizabeth to buy me a pastry by refusing to move until she does.
I am now towing over to the Ballpark beer garden where I hope to obtain a tasty bratwurst. Either my own or someone else’s.
What a lovely autumnal scene! Especially as it is in a section of the park that Elizabeth had no intention of visiting.
Another turkey extorting vignette. These tend to involve strings of drool that will end up in places that no one wants strings of drool to be.
My Houndy Sense detects the presence of a Park Exit and you can tell from my firm expression that we will not be taking that road.
I will leave you with this beautiful scene down by The Lake. The beauty of the trees makes up for the fact that I appear to have slobber all over my face. I don’t know how that happened---I usually have better aim.
So that is what I have been up to. Unfortunately some of my more entertaining antics cannot be captured for posterity as they involve two hands (or four) on the leash. And all that towing around is a perfect prelude to a hearty meal of chicken and yams with a side of antibiotic turkey rolls and a long, loud and smelly snooze in some fabulously inconvenient spot.
Until next time,
Wimsey, wither I go’est thou go’est too
Posted by Wimsey at 9:32 PM
Friday, October 25, 2013
October 25, 2013
Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you at last from the newly autumnal precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the cooler weather has made me a happy Hound but as usual, the things that make me happy tend to make my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth unhappy. This time around the cause of the unhappiness was not my propensity to socialize instead of eliminating or to monopolize the furniture or to fling drool at people or to shred things that my humans would prefer remain undshredded, but rather my love of long autumnal walks. Make that extremely long autumnal walks. And I am afraid that instead of writing a blog post last Friday I indulged instead in one of my endless park perambulations for which I am justifiably famous.
But I can assure you that my intentions were wholly unselfish as the cooler weather also signals the advent of cold and flu season and Elizabeth fell prey to a nasty cold that making its way around our little island. This was quite surprising as it is a well-known fact that humans who live with Hounds succumb far less often to these ailments than those (poor unfortunates) who live without Hounds. There is a theory being bruited about that this occurs because humans who live with Hounds can’t afford to take time off from work because they know that that next humongous vet bill is just around the corner. But this is really a myth (the theory, not the vet bills). People who live with Hounds fare better in cold and flu season because we Hounds make excellent nurses.
For example, rather than allowing Elizabeth to languish uselessly on the couch, I insisted that the fresh air and exercise of an afternoon spent in Central Park with me would prove much more beneficial. It could have been worse—I could have made her spend the afternoon visiting banks and pet shops or better yet, the neighborhood construction sites of which I am so fond. Fortunately Elizabeth was in no position to object because when we set out for the park she was wholly unaware that we were going to spend the whole day there. In fact, here is a picture of me after a mere hour in the park reacting to a chirpy “Let’s go home Wimsey.” In my experience there is nothing quite so humiliating to a humans as being sneered at by their Hound. My humans know that when they see this face it is just better to keep walking and hope that I will decide that that I want my lunch or dinner and perambulate home. But in this case, I decided that Elizabeth’s health took (temporary) priority over my stomach and I kept her outdoors for the duration. Of course I did demand periodic feedings of the turkey and cookies that Elizabeth always wears around her waist to sustain me during those long hours away from my food bowl.
Here is another picture of me from last Friday—I am posed majestically in front of the Ladies Room at the Central Park Tennis Courts. The walk had gone on for so long at that point that Elizabeth was forced to avail herself of the facilities in spite of the fact that the stalls (unlike the ones at the Delacorte theater) are too small for me to fit into-- not for want of me trying mind you. I have important supervisory duties on these occasions. Fortunately, the facility was empty at the time so no budding Maria Sharapova was forced to flee at the sight of a giant Hound hogging the bathroom. However, with so many lovely and tempting leaf piles scattered around at this time of the year I do think it is a shame that my humans don’t seem willing to take full advantage of them. Leaf peeing is one of the great joys of the season.
But Hounds are useful in several other ways when you have a cold:
1. Drink plenty of hot tea accompanied by small pastries or Hungarian cookies. Feed these to your Hound to avoid putting on extra pounds as you convalesce.
2. While resting on the couch apply a large, warm Hound to your body to alleviate aches and pains (or at least those caused by the cold).
3. In case of fever, apply the lips and flews of a large Hound who has just refreshed himself with a cool drink of water to your warm forehead.
4. Make sure that your bed has plenty of fluffy pillows and cushy blankets. Your Hound likes to be comfortable when he serenades you to sleep with his soothing Snoring Hound Lullaby.
5. Have plenty of tissues lying around, preferably used and don’t worry about cleaning them up.
And of course a major benefit of having a cold is that you can’t smell anything, especially not the gastronomic results of those pastries and cookies.
But I confess that although I had every intention of writing a blog post during the week, the piles of crunchy leaves, the crisp autumn air and above all my unselfish devotion to Elizabeth’s health that necessitated taking her on very long walks put a considerable dent in my time management plans.
In addition to being cold and flu season it also happens to be Wimsey Health Check Season-- the time of the year when my humans turn their attention to discovering any of my medical needs. X-rays, ultrasounds, blood and urine tests—you name it, if it can be done to me, my humans will want to do it to me. This week Elizabeth turned her hand to trying to get me to pee in a cup all by herself. Normally it is Maria’s job to trail after us and dive under me when it looks like I am contemplating a leg lift. I think it is massively entertaining to lift my leg, watch Maria dive and then change my mind and put it down again. I mean what is the point of peeing if she’s going to steal the pee, In addition, we bloodhounds are not known for our generosity or our willingness to share, even pee. The very fact that my humans want my pee transforms it into a valuable commodity and therefore one that must not be dispensed casually.
So this week Elizabeth picked up the cup and gloves alone and bravely decided to play the Wimsey Pee in a Cup game. Accordingly she waited, crouched in anticipation, for me to commence operations at every fire hydrant, tree and trash bag. And when she saw that I was actually peeing she would try to position the cup under the stream. I say try, because one of the great advantages of being a male dog is that you can direct the stream in any direction that you choose and I chose to direct the stream so that it would not fall in the cup. If Elizabeth moved the cup, I moved the stream. It was all great fun. At least for me.
And this week has also been fun because of the extended amount of time that I have been able to spend in the park. Every afternoon Elizabeth sternly admonishes me that we are only going out for an hour. And every afternoon she is wrong. So how do I do it?
Wimsey’s Tips for Park Procrastination
Engage in lengthy and frequent sniffing in a manner that suggests that a desired eliminatory function is imminent. Then save all poopage for the end of the walk.
Engage in extensive grass rolling operations which, in addition to being cute, turns a mobile bloodhound into 130lbs of immobile dead weight.
Climb up on park benches and refuse to move.
Greet tourists and pose for pictures thus encouraging humans to engage in lengthy and admiring conversations about you.
Demand frequent drinks at the many water fountains throughout the park.
Stop and stare at the treat pouch. Make humans offer an assortment of snacks before judiciously choosing which one you will consume. Do not move until you have fully masticated the snack.
Socialize with passing canines.
Take paths that lead in the opposite direction from the park exits closest to home.
Don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere (except away from the park exits closest to home)—stop and sniff the ground, sniff the air, sniff passersby. If it exists, it can be sniffed.
Visit with the pedicabs.
Be opportunistic—stop and become mesmerized by any unusual activity such as performance artists, musicians or (like today) men unloading a truck of audio visual equipment in front of the Boat House Restaurant. (NB: this latter effort also meant that the men stopped to chat with Elizabeth about me).
If forced to head to a park exit squeak pathetically and make your humans feel guilty. Then vigorously suggest alternative routes.
And if forced to leave the park, all is not lost--there are pet shops and banks with cookies that can be visited on the way home.
Then there is the day that I met my little Frenchie buddy Pluto in Riverside Park and neither of us would go in any direction without the other. Pluto’s human finally had to pick him up and carry him out of the park. Fortunately, my humans don’t have that option.
And this Thursday is Halloween and there are some amazing decorations here on the Upper West Side, none of which I am allowed to mess with. There has been a lot of posting on Facebook and such about Halloween costumes for dogs and questions about the best Halloween costume for bloodhounds. Let’s be clear, the best Halloween costume for bloodhounds is no Halloween costume for bloodhounds. Fortunately, although Elizabeth seems to be in charge of buying me my coat wardrobe and my seasonal Christmas ruff, my primary human, Maria, has always put her foot down on the matter of not permitting Halloween costumes. And Maria’s word is law. Except when I disagree with her—then her word is a suggestion. Or a fantasy. Anyway, it is a moot point since I am sure that they don’t make pirate or shark costumes in my size (Although my humans would probably find the Wizard of Oz’s Scarecrow more appropriate. However, from where I sit ((atop the couch)), intellect is a vastly overrated attribute).
Anyway, I am off to have a well-deserved rest after all that fresh air, exercise and being annoying.
Wimsey, a 24/7 trick or treating Hound
Posted by Wimsey at 8:53 PM