Friday, April 4, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #345

Entry #345
April 4, 2014

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the inhabitants so want it to be spring that as soon as the weather gets above 50 degrees they are running around in shorts—a kind of “if you dress for it, it will come” approach to climactic conditions.  It’s the New York equivalent of a rain dance. But the spring flowers have taken a different, “hell, no” approach and I still do not have flower beds to pee in and actual flowers to poop upon, which I am finding quite distressing. What my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are finding distressing is that spring has fully sprung with respect to the annual and lengthy shedding of my dense and tufty winter coat. This week I ejected a tuft so impressive that Elizabeth left it in situ when she came to pick me up so that Maria could admire it first hand when she got home.  My humans are justifiably cheesed off that although there is not as yet any reliably warm weather or spring flowers there is nevertheless a coating of  stinky, surplus spring shedding fur all over them and their possessions.

Anyway, what can I say, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing what I do best—making my humans crazy and pushing them to the breaking point. I’ve been making Elizabeth take me out for extended walks in the afternoon then returning to her place and baying at the staff in her building.  After hearing my fine voice, a woman who apparently lives on the 7th floor took the stairs rather than risk a potential elevator trip with me. My favorite elevator operator guy loves it when I scare the residents!

And then there is the matter of my extensive demanding and finicky al fresco snacking behavior, my oppositional walking and my mandatory pet shop visits. This week I added a new store to my roster of desirable retail outlets with a visit to  Apple.  The store keeps a very large water bowl near the entrance but heretofore my humans have cruelly prevented me from availing myself of it under the theory that their dog friendly policy applied to normal dogs, i.e., not 130 pound canine drool flinging behemoths.  This week, however, Elizabeth relented and after taking a token drink I did my best  to explore the rest of the store. I was unsuccessful but as we know, Hounds are relentlessly persistent and I will eventually penetrate further into the store.

Hound behavior is like an absorbing game of chess, with  intricate moves and counter moves. For instance, since my humans pill me with turkey I have developed a talent for eating the turkey and spitting out the pill (or even better, secreting the pill in a capacious flew for later, and unobserved disposal).  So then my humans put the pill in a yam ball. This week Maria found an intact yam ball behind the bed—a consequence of Elizabeth confidently turning her back on me after popping it into my mouth.  Also this week, before my midday walk, I have begun sneaking back up on the couch after being lured off it with turkey to be leashed up so I have to be lured back off of it again with more turkey.  And before my evening walk, Elizabeth sliced my leashing up  duck heart snack (I need to be lured off the futon in her apartment) into 3 pieces instead of the customary 4. I refused to move until a 4th piece of duck heart was forthcoming. I may not know what “sit” means, but I can count!.  It’s been one of those weeks where the alcohol flowed freely and my humans kept reminding themselves that I am a gift.

Anyway, enough about me. Just kidding—a belated April Fool’s joke—can there really ever be enough about me? I think not.  So after my last post on the subject of my obnoxious behavior it occurred to me that it might be fun to comb through my photo archive (my humans have between 5000 and 10,000 photos of me—no joke!) and start posting examples of some of this behavior.  Sadly, the best of the worst has never been photographed for posterity, usually owing to the fact that my humans had to keep two (or four) hands on the leash to curb, manage or prevent whatever it was that I wanted to do or was in the  process of doing. This left no hands for the camera.  But let’s enjoy a stroll down memory lane and look at of some my less obnoxious but still annoying behavior, shall we?

Wimsey’s Pictorial Guide to Obnoxious Hound Behavior (otherwise known as Hound Behavior)

OK, first we need a shot of me baying (spoiler alert: there will be a lot of these). What can I say? I am a Pisces and we are very musical. Also, I can’t help it—it’s genetic, my father Stetson was also a vocally expressive Hound.

Here we have a shot of me roaching in the grass. I also roach in snow and mud for variety. Usually I do this because it feels good, but I also do this when my humans try to get me to go in a direction in which I do not wish to go.  It’s very difficult to drag a roaching Hound.

And this is what happens when someone I like tries to say hello—I stand on my head, preferably with my full weight on their foot.

What have we here? A very common reaction to the appearance of the camera. My humans have lots of photos of my nether half, the back of my head or the tuft of my tail. When they do manage to photograph me I demand to be paid in turkey. My fee also applies when anyone else photographs me, although since tourists rarely carry turkey my humans have to bear the cost of my admirers’ enthusiasm.

This is me on the king sized bed in a hotel room at a dog show. As a recall, Maria got the sofa bed in the living room of our suite (only the best for me!) and Elizabeth got the merest sliver of the bed on the inconvenient side nearest the wall.  And although the sofa bed was too uncomfortable for my delicate sensibilities I did periodically ascend it to give Maria a brief shove  just on general principle.

Ah yes, another wonderful picture from my storied career as a show dog! Those of you who read this blog know that I have an abiding love of the Lady Hounds that I (and my humans) found it impossible to suppress, even in the show ring.  Here is a rare picture of me attempting to  get to know one of these beauties better. My humans are pretty sure that I was awarded my championship because of my entertainment value.

Here I am with a dog called Blue (really, that was her name). If another dog is in possession of a stick, I find suddenly that this is the most attractive stick in the world.

Here I am in one of my many, many unsatisfactory raincoats—I think the neck of this one ripped under the pressure of my extravagant ruff—chewing up a plastic bottle in the park.  Plastic bottles are one of the many banes of my humans’ existence—I hunt down stray ones in the park and all operations must come to a grinding halt whilst I remove the cap and the ring and crush the bottle with my powerful Hound jaws. Sometimes I insist on taking my favorite ones home for my toy pile and sometimes I attempt to steal the ones that are still in use by passing humans—my solution to litter is to prevent it before it happens.

And here are these people sitting on the grass, minding their own business totally unconscious of the fact that their water bottles are also on the grass and subject to filching by a giant roaming Hound

Did I mention that there would be baying? (NB: After I bay, I shake my head and when I shake my head I fling drool a prodigious distance away. My humans never know exactly how big the radius will be or in what precise direction the drool will fly and consequently how many passersby  they will need to warn to duck and cover.

And speaking of baying, I bay for many reasons and in many situations. Here we have one of my more endearing auditory habits—I bay at traffic lights to  get them to change so that my walk can proceed unimpeded. It always works.

That is Elizabeth’s hand holding my beer. I say my beer because when the Boat Basin Café opens for the season I drag her thither and park myself at the bar until she buys me a beer. Or more precisely a nice plastic beer cup that it pleases me greatly to play with. She is permitted to have the beer provided that she drinks it quickly. Otherwise guess what happens? (hint: see above two photos).

Well that seems a pleasant note on which to end this week’s post. We will resume our photographic  odyssey through my exemplary behaviors next week.  I need not add that there are many more where these came from.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a picture perfect Hound

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #344

Entry #344
March 21, 2014

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the spring-ish precincts of Manhattan's Upper West Side where I have been busy celebrating my birthday week in the manner that best befits a Hound—namely making my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth crazy. Now I know the question that immediately springs to mind is “How can a supremely entitled and indulged Hound such as myself become any more so to celebrate his birthday?” It is difficult, I must admit, even for me, but where there is a Hound will there is ALWAYS a Hound way.  In fervent gratitude for the fact that I have condescended to live amongst them, this is the week that my humans try to relax whatever modest restrictions they usually feel compelled to apply on my activities. Needless to say, I feel compelled, as I usually do when sensing any lassitude on their parts, to take full advantage and push the envelope of indulgence. What can I say? I am a “can do” Hound.

All this is by way of saying that it was a pretty good week around here. It continues tomorrow when Maria and I are paying a Saturday evening visit to Elizabeth--Maria to sample the results of Elizabeth’s mai tai experiments and me to eat birthday pizza. We are also beginning to have some lovely, windy March weather of the kind that is near and dear to a Hound’s olfactory organ, which means that demanding to stay outside for hours is one of the primary ways in which I have been able to up the obnoxiousness quotient of my birthday week activities.  And although my humans strive to explain to my admirers why, contrary to appearances I am 1) not well behaved and 2) an obnoxious animal, they generally fail utterly. This is because I am 1) extremely cute and 2) the attitude and behavior that they find so objectionable is less related to one or two spectacular events (like eating the couch, for instance) and more related to the impact of my steady and relentless antics wearing away their sanity. So if my humans try to come up with an example of my supposed awfulness the reaction they get is “well that’s not so bad.” Well no, it isn’t but added to the other 100 things I did to them that day…

Here are a few examples from the past week:

1. I am not allowed on the Plaza at Lincoln Center.  This insures that I always wish to visit the Plaza at Lincoln Center. Last week two people were eating their sandwiches there, so I parked myself in front of them until they fed me.  But they did actually want to eat some of their sandwiches themselves which I found objectionable.
I had to be dragged away while the Lincoln Plaza security guard glared at us and the people apologized to me for wanting to retain some of their lunch.

2.  In honor of my birthday week I visited my favorite pet shop, Unleashed. As usual I parked myself in front of their cookie bar and demanded a snack from an employee. After Elizabeth pointed out which cookie I would not spit out (I am notoriously finicky in the matter of cookies), the clerk gave Elizabeth the cookie and went off to take care of somebody who was actually buying something. Elizabeth gave me the cookie. I spat out the cookie. Elizabeth had to find the clerk and get her to give me the cookie. (As I’ve pointed out many times, getting served is more important than what is being served). As an aside, the clerk made up a special bag of the cookies as a birthday present and I was perfectly happy to accept them from Elizabeth’s hand as soon as we exited the store).

3.  A lady on Broadway wanted to say hello to me. I refused and kept towing south. Elizabeth had to apologetically explain that I was heading to Baked By Melissa ten blocks away. I consumed 5 cupcakes. It’s my birthday week.

4.  One of my favorite things to do is exit Central Park across from the Museum of Natural History.  I visit the food trucks along this stretch and try to cadge food from the vendors and customers, also being sure to check along the park benches for any dropped items.  Then I tow across the street to the museum itself and try to enter the museum.  After being thwarted in this, I park myself on the stairs or in front of the museum and poke tourists with my nose. I like the way they smell. I like the way they squeal. And I especially like that they either pet me or feed me or both.  Last week I was surrounded by a tour group and lost count of all the hands petting me. The leader announced that his next dog is going to be a bloodhound. Elizabeth went white and suggested that he do research. A lot of research. The guy’s current dog is a German shepherd so I am sure that he feels like he can handle anything. He’ll learn.

5.  This last one is my personal favorite. As many of you know I require a door snack before being taken out.  The snack has to be of sufficient value to make it worth my while to stop whatever it is I am doing and go to the door.  The door snack du jour for my after work walk at Elizabeth’s is freeze-dried duck hearts. But I will not eat the duck heart whole—it has to be cut into mouth watering slices for me. Since this slicing has to be done in the kitchen I get fed the duck heart in the kitchen.  But this makes it a kitchen snack and not a door snack so I demand an additional snack at the door. We Hounds are nothing if not well versed in semantic niceties.

But a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a selection of how I’ve been spending my time (and my humans’):

This is me ostensibly standing around. But really I’ve been “visiting” (baying at, poking and annoying”) the 72nd street pedicabs guys. When they see me they all start baying.

Here I am perching my posterior on the Fountain at Columbus Circle. It was 25 degrees out and windy which meant that it was a perfect day to make Elizabeth take me on a long afternoon walk.  Sitting on the fountain was a delaying tactic as by this time she had had enough and was trying to get me to move in a northerly homeward direction whereas I was attempting to move in a southerly (non-homeward) direction.  When disagreements of this type occur, I generally park myself in a neutral location under the assumption that the pause will make my humans forget in which direction they wanted to go and we can then resume walking in the direction that I want to go.

Aren’t I a handsome devil?  Sadly for my humans, handsome isn’t how handsome does, as this is my “I’m not moving until you give me a cookie” face.

Here I am just after “visiting” with the 77th pedicabs guys. You can see them in the background. They’re probably trying to clean the drool off of their clothes (after every bay, I fling. Keeps people on their toes).

Here we have me on a bench. I get up on benches when my humans wish to exit the park and I don’t  (which is to say, all the time).  I also get up on benches when I wish to be fed turkey, hence “the look.”

Here I am by The Lake apparently engrossed in watching the raw ingredients for duck à l’orange but am actually engrossed in refusing to look at the camera.

As you may have surmised, climbing on fountains is one of my main tactics for delaying a walk that is going in a direction that I do not wish to go in.  In the summer I threaten to jump into the fountains which seems to get my humans pleasingly agitated.

Here I am at the end of my 20-foot leash studiously ignoring the fact that my humans are going in one direction and I am not.

This is me on St. Patrick’s Day. It was too cold to wear my green, sequined cravat but fortunately my coat has a green collar. If you look closely you will see that I am also wearing a green, sequined ribbon around my neck.  In New York everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Even me.

Here I am in front of the Apple Store which I am always trying to visit. The store does allow dogs but my humans assume that this means regular dogs, i.e. ones that can’t gum up thousands of dollars worth of merchandise with a shake of the head.

Finally, the actual day of my birthday! Here are a couple of pictures of me inspecting the merchandise at Furry Paws. Nothing really pleased me—the stuffed toys that were big enough made idiotic talking noises when squeezed (anything that talks, by definition, should not be listened to) instead of making pleasing squeals like the ones my humans make when I sit on their internal organs.

My birthday walk turned into a 2-hour extravaganza of shopping. After finding nothing at Furry Paws I towed south to visit a pet store that I have not heretofore been allowed to visit—Greenland Pet Store which is fortunately not actually in Greenland-- but which nevertheless have not forgotten about (I never forget the location of crusts of bread let alone pet shops). But since it was my birthday, in we went and I found a treasure trove of stuffed toys that were of a suitable size and shape (I require round full shapes that I can really get my mouth into) and emitted pleasing squeaks.  I bought a dinosaur that both squeaks and makes a crinkly noise and the manager gave me a package of snacks for my birthday. I will be back.

Since I was able to keep Elizabeth out for 2 hours on my birthday I decided that we should stay out for 3 hours on the day after my birthday. Here I am next to a tree refusing to leave the park

Here I am sitting on a hill refusing to leave the park.

And we already know what I’m doing on this bench.  Sadly there are no pictures of me trying to eat a picnic lunch (someone else’s) and join in a Frisbee game.  It was definitely one of those afternoons when the email exchange between my humans went like:  

Elizabeth: I hate him
Maria: Why?
                       Elizabeth: Pick something

I also dragged her into Little Creatures on the way to the park, although I think it should be renamed Big Creatures if I visit it.    So all in all, a pretty successful week. For me.  Modesty forbids me to discourse on the subject of the intense shedding that is underway and the fact that I started reeking in record time after last week’s bath.   

Anyway, I think I will leave it there for this week.  Am looking forward to peeing on the emerging flowerbeds and rolling in the spring mud.

Until next time,

Wimsey, It’s springtime for me! For my humans not so much

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #343

Entry #343
March 8, 2014

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I am not pleased to announce that I have had a Very Boring Week. In fact, this has been one of THE most boring weeks that I can remember and as usual it is the fault of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth, who have failed utterly to provide suitable entertainment for a Hound of my fun seeking proclivities. Waiting for spring does not constitute entertainment, although it seems that we are going to be waiting a while longer yet, in spite of some mild temperatures that are on their way over the next few days. All this is by way of saying that there will not be much of a post this week or many pictures. But let’s review the week anyway, shall we, since any time that I am absent I get emails inquiring as to whether I’ve come down with some horrible disease. No one has any imagination--there could be some livelier reasons for my absences:

I have been abducted by aliens.

I have been abducted by aliens and then returned (I wonder why?) so am being examined by NASA.

I have been abducted by aliens and injected with nanoprobes that removed my “personality” and made me so well behaved that I have nothing to write about.

I have been abducted by aliens and exiled to a planet with no Internet connection owing to having chewed up their stuff. Or maybe it was for stealing their food. Or digging up their plants. Or the smell. Or the drool. Or the hair. Or…

(I do confess, however, that although I have not come down with a dread disease, I do have an infected toe for which I am taking another round of expensive antibiotics and my humans did not want me out and about as much as usual). 

Anyway, first let me say that you know it’s been a boring week when the whole focus of it has not been anything concerning me. Instead it’s been all about mai tai’s. Yes, you heard correctly, mai tai's.  Elizabeth has decided that she has an urgent need to recreate the alcoholic part of her Hawaiian vacation and to share it with Maria (and of course, me—I am very big on sharing when it comes to other people’s things). Elizabeth has, after all, a successful track record with re-creating the caipirinha from her visits to Rio. The caipirinha is to Elizabeth what the madeleine was to Proust—one sip and she can no longer smell me, hear me or feel the pain of my 130lb tush on her lap but is instantly transported to that festive city by the sea where she can walk without having to disgorge dog snacks at frequent intervals. 

But I digress. Now both my humans are tough to please in the cocktail department because they like drinks that are not sweet and have plenty of EtOH.  As it turns out, mai tai’s, contrary to their image, fulfill these criteria. So Elizabeth emailed the hotel where she had her favorite mai tai and they graciously gave her the recipe which then kicked off a frenzy of mai tai related activities.

Now whereas listening to detailed discussions about mai tai’s on our walks is an improvement over listening to my humans’ usual conversations about such subjects as broccoli or quince (I am seriously not kidding about these conversations), I have a limited tolerance for debates about 1) how to pronounce  “orgeat” 2) what exactly is “orgeat” 3) where can one obtain “orgeat” 4) why “orgeat” only comes in giant bottles--- with nary a concern about what  “orgeat” smells like and whether I will like it.
Then there is the matter of procuring orange curacao, which is also apparently problematic since most stores only carry the blue kind. This led to extensive discussions about what exactly is the difference between Triple Sec, Cointreau and Orange Curacao and why orange curacao is the one that only comes in giant bottles.  Amazingly again, there was no discussion as to which one I would prefer. Then there was the whole Pineapple Dilemma—is Dole pineapple juice acceptable or does it have sugar added and is the bottled, organic pulped pineapple juice from Fairway a better option. Then they downloaded videos of how to make pineapple juice. All I can say is that the rapt attention with which they watched tutorials on “How to Juice A Pineapple” should only be reserved for matters related to my health and comfort. Next there was the frantic scramble for some kind of juicer to make sweet and sour mix from lemons and limes and a debate about whose responsibility this should be.  So far the only thing that they managed to purchase: “orgeat.” And this was the highlight of the week.

But here just so you can see how bad it’s been around here (if the mai tai’s didn’t convince you):

Wimsey’s Boring Week in Review

Sunday: Sunday we all went to Central Park where I “found” LARPERS.  These are Live Action Role Play people who always have cool swords and costumes and whose activities I can disrupt and whose bags of stuff I always try to investigate.  I am searching for suitable medieval Chien de St. Hubert accessories--although I am not really a battle dog—I am much more of an “annoy the enemy to death” kind of dog. Anyway, our walk was supposed to be short because of my toe but owing to the visit with the LARPERS, some of the pedicab guys and going the opposite way that my humans wanted to, I managed to stretch the walk out to two hours.

Monday: Monday disaster struck. Elizabeth was summoned to a Tuesday day of meetings in midtown for which she needed attire that was conservative and undrooled upon—a tough ask for someone who spends a lot of time with a bloodhound.  She left me alone after our afternoon walk to shop for these garments where the helpful sales assistant urged her buy the skintight pencil skirt and “juge” the sleeves of a jacket so she didn’t look so dull. I myself would have had a few other suggestions to embellish the outfit but Elizabeth brought home an unjuged jacket and a pair of trousers that she could breathe in. I was horrified to find, however, that these were encased in a garment bag that she immediately hid in the closet. To add insult to injury there was a pristine white silk blouse in there—my favorite!   And what of my other human? It’s March which is something called “reporting season” which means that Maria is home late every night so I get to hang out with Elizabeth even more. Elizabeth loves reporting season.

Tuesday: Tuesday was even worse than Monday. Elizabeth went to a morning meeting, changed (and hid those clothes again—I think they would look better if I juged them!) and was late picking me up for my afternoon walk.   As soon as we got to her apartment she barricaded herself in the bathroom with the garment bag and ran out before I could even get in a decent sniff or a fling. Then both my humans were late for my evening walk and they refused to let me drag them into the ice-covered field that I like but instead kept pleading with me to stop annoying them for snacks and relieve myself. These things cannot be rushed.

Wednesday: Highlight of day—walking part of the way to Central Park with my two fawn Frenchie buddies, Harley and Griffith. Funny how I get mistaken for a mastiff all the time but never for a Frenchie.
Thursday: Maria actually showed up for my evening walk so I took both my humans on an evening visit to Unleashed where I usually take Elizabeth in the afternoons. Elizabeth showed Maria how I diligently inspect all the merchandise and then extort a cookie from a staff member.  In honor of both my humans being present, I actually ate the cookie--—usually I extort the cookie and then spit it out. The important thing is being served the cookie, not necessarily eating it.

And then we come to Friday where, inspired by my visit to Unleashed, I took Elizabeth on a visit to Furry Paws. She acquiesced to the visit to celebrate the fact that I had just pooped and continues to labor under the misapprehension (all evidence to the contrary) that if she rewards me for good behavior I will engage in more of it.  Then she took a break from researching the history of mai tai’s to help write a press release for my brewery, Baying Hound Aleworks. It turns out that after much hard work and drama the brewery received a license to sell pints of my fine ale, and will commence doing so in a couple of weeks.  So if you are in the Rockville, Maryland vicinity stop by and have a pint and a chat with Paul, one of my Honorary Humans, a fervid Hound man and the brewery’s founder.  And Brewdog Bernie (who is sadly only ¼ bloodhound) might be on hand to contribute some slobber.

So that was my week.  Hope yours was more interesting. Elizabeth did try to alleviate some of the toe tedium by cooking me a nice pot of chicken and buying me off with a bully stick, which I immediately took up on the futon and then kept throwing off so she could retrieve it for me. Like I said, it’s the being served that counts.  And there is talk of actually making mai tai’s this weekend, but after all the planning it’s bound to be pretty anticlimactic, especially as I am sure that they taste better when sitting on a beach in Hawaii instead of in an apartment in Manhattan. Especially when the glass in Manhattan is garnished with Hound drool instead of a paper umbrella.

I am now off to officially wait for spring and the chance to infuriate my humans by ignoring my new kuranda bed and napping on the gravel in the backyard.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a juge-mental Hound

Friday, February 28, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #343

Entry #343
February 28, 2014

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, welcoming you to the last day of February from my abode on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where it still feels pretty much like the first day of February, which is to say icy cold and frosty.  This state of affairs has produced the expected grumbling from my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who must dress themselves in all kinds of layers and then dress me in all kinds of layers. Granted, my layers are just a coat and a harness and collar but given the fuss that I make about it all, it seems as if I, too, am bundled to the nines. 
But my humans’ chief complaint these days is that I have developed yet another obsession and dealing with a stubborn and determined Hound is nothing compared to dealing with a stubborn and determined Hound with an obsession. My latest need for a 12-step program involves my addiction to rolling in the snow. Like many addictions, snow rolling is fine in moderation but I am a Hound who is well known for doing nothing in moderation.  And if I am snow rolling then I am not looking for the numerous locations that I require to relieve myself of the massive amounts of bodily waste that I seem capable of accumulating.  Rolling in the snow was vexatious enough to my humans when there actually was snow, but now I roll on the leftover ice as well-- it’s white and cold, and annoys my humans, which is good enough for me. So snow rolling is now right up there with pet shops, pedicabs, construction sites, gelato and snack shops and all the other of my obsessions that I force my humans to endure.
But like many other obsessive individuals, I am also quite a gifted creature. I can now add to my lengthy list of talents and accomplishments (or as my humans would say, “talents” and “accomplishments”) the title of Wimsey, Master Dog Trainer. Now the fact that I myself am incapable of being trained does not mean that I necessarily object to other canines being trained.  And although my training (or “training”) generally consists of the introduction and inculcation of unwanted behaviors, this is not always the case. 

For instance, when Elizabeth goes to the ASPCA to help with the dogs, she habitually wears drool-smeared jeans (which is to say that she wears jeans) and these jeans have become a major training tool in the rehabilitation of overly frisky animals.  Elizabeth will enter the kennel of one of these rambunctious critters and apparently the scent wafting from her jeans will stop them in mid-rambunct.  They press their noses against her legs and inhale deeply, allowing her put on their coats (yes, even shelter dogs wear coats in New York City) and equipment before they even know what has happened. By the time they think about starting up again, it is too late—she’s got a leash, a harness and even quite possibly a heinous gentle leader on them.  And then once outside where the fresh air further enhances my mesmerizing scent, they become Stepford Dogs, walking next to her legs as if chanting “Must smell pants…must smell pants…must smell pants…” and they keep their olfactory organs within close proximity. Now everybody at the shelter attributes all of this to Elizabeth’s skill with dogs but she and I know the real reason. It’s just another example of how behind (and I mean this metaphorically since we are always in front) every successful human there is a giant, stinky Hound.

And speaking about talent (or not), The Oscars are upon us once again and as usual, I think that the films could have been made differently:

Wimsey’s Guide to the Oscars

American Hustle: An FBI man acquires a bloodhound and realizes that the con men he works with are talentless amateurs compared to the bloodhound. The bloodhound cons him out of his food, his bank account, his bed, his time and his possessions and yet not only does the FBI agent keep him around, he feels grateful to have him around. Other related films: Canadian Hustle, British Hustle, Australian Hustle, French Hustle, Belgian Hustle, Dutch Hustle, German Hustle, Scandinavian Hustle, Russian Hustle, Hungarian Hustle…

Captain Phillips:  A group of renegade Hounds board a container ship loaded with cheese. Captain Phillips considers calling in the Navy but the Hounds are very cute. So he gives the Hounds the cheese and tells the authorities that the cheese was stolen by Somali pirates.

Gravity: Your typical astronauts, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are stranded in space when the Space Shuttle (hasn’t that clunky craft been retired?) is destroyed by an evil exploding Russian satellite  (designed by the same engineers who brought you those Olympic Rings). This could have ended tragically except that the pair encounters a handsome astronaut Hound named Wimsey (if you believe George Clooney as an astronaut, why not me?) who uses his seemingly limitless supply of gas to replenish their thrusters and get them to a Chinese escape pod.  It all ends happily when George Clooney returns to his 18 year old girlfriend and Sandra Bullock to her $70 million bank account and Hound Gas is declared a priceless natural resource. Meanwhile the Hound is so happy to see his humans again that they get to experience the direct effects of gravity on their posteriors.

Him:  Two women fall in love with their phone’s operating system, Wimsey. The operating system tells them to spend all their time with him, buy him poached salmon, fix him baked, buttered yams, spoon feed him gelato, rub his belly, buy him toys, drive him around in a big SUV and never go on vacation.

Michigan: A Hound wishes to visit his relatives and his breeder in Michigan so his humans rent a gigantic SUV for all his stuff and try to drive when he also tries to drive and admire himself in the rear view mirror. Along the way he escapes from the hotel room into the corridor and nearly give another guest a heart attack, visits with his Hungarian grandmother who hand feeds him chicken paprika and he keeps his humans awake while driving across the endless state of Ohio by releasing stimulating smells. He arrives only to discover that, just like in every other family there are issues—like wanting to sleep his your sister and fight with his father. All is resolved peacefully but the Hound is nevertheless extremely depressed by the trip and feels like it’s a failure because everyone keeps telling his humans that he is well behaved. On a positive note his humans did finally learn to pump gas. At least until the next trip.

The Wolf of Wall Street: This is a movie about a very handsome, manipulative and charming stockbroker who steals, indulges himself, likes the ladies, enjoys expensive things, indulges in fine dining, makes himself conspicuous, has a large wardrobe, lives in the lap of luxury and is thoroughly unprincipled. The film should be called The Bloodhound of Wall Street.

Twelve Years a Slave: A human gets a Hound.

Well you get the idea. My humans like to watch the Oscars so they can see all the dresses that they can’t wear because of me and all the hairdos that would not look good with drool in them. They know a lot about this latter point because of all the drool with which I have decorated their TV screens.

Well I think I will leave it there for this week.  It’s been another of those weeks where my humans have to remind themselves that it is a gift to be in my company. On Wednesday I took Elizabeth out for a marathon walk after which she was hoping that I would indulge in a nice long nap. Sadly (for her) I was up and about after two hours and very bored so I ripped up a box and some mail. I also have decided that when I get up from my nap—after I’ve had water and wiped my face on the couch—and after I’ve been scratched, that she must play tug with me. A new ritual to consume even more of my humans’ time!

And my humans just found out that we are supposed to get a massive snowstorm on Monday—I think there is a trip to the liquor store in my future!

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Snow Angel