Friday, April 18, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #346

Entry  #346
April 18, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the annoyingly late arrival of spring has been dwarfed by the annoyances of my humans’ Hound un-friendly schedules.  My primary human Maria has been working late again and had a tummy bug that kept her from my Sunday walk, my secondary human Elizabeth had two days of conferences (hence short afternoon walks) and a gig taking a dog to the ASPCA’s annual charity ball (AWOL for my evening walk). I do not like to have my schedule disrupted and it is not only that I know that I am owed 4 pieces of duck heart and not 3 pieces of duck heart before I permit myself to be leashed up, I also know when there are the wrong number of humans present for my walk. And when that happens I simply refuse to walk and stare fixedly at the abode of the errant human in full expectation that my stern glare will cause her to appear. The only good disruption is that Elizabeth’s camera finally packed it in so I was annoyed considerably less than usual with picture taking these last couple of weeks.

However Elizabeth is in the doghouse as she is planning on taking off for a business trip to Geneva at the beginning of May which displeases me greatly. I expect a cheese at least as in compensation.  She has also come to the realization that the only French she speaks these days is Hound French and she can synthesize such gems as “Be careful of the drool!” and “ Be careful he will steal your water bottle!” And “Yes he makes that noise a lot.” Consequently she has been speaking to me in French to practice, but fortunately I don’t listen to her in that language either. Being a Chien de St. Hubert means that I am bilingually disobedient.

Well blogging has been difficult these days because the computers are being monopolized for the preparation of my art book (coming soon to you on Amazon!)
So I will be unaccustomedly brief:

Wimsey Headline News

- I managed to “persuade” (read coerce) Elizabeth to let me get a drink from the bowl at the Apple store, although I was less interested in the water than in “persuading” the store greeter to scratch me while I leaned on him to deposit hair and slime.  Sadly I had to be summarily removed from the store for baying at the merchandise.  The acoustics were fabulous and I disrupted the entire store!

-During the two days that we had of actual warm weather I was able to get into the back yard to begin eating the plants. That is until the couple who have the 4th floor balcony overlooking the yard starting calling my name and I started calling theirs. The yard is surrounded on all sides by buildings, so whereas the acoustics were not as good as in the Apple store, I am sure that they were sufficient to disrupt anyone trying to enjoy a peaceful afternoon at home.

-Although the weather turned cold again the daffodils in Riverside Park have emerged! This means my morning walks with Maria have turned into a contest of wills over the matter of my pooping on them.  It’s a wonderful way to get warmed up for the rest of the day’s contest of wills.

- Even though Maria is home for a four day Easter holiday and Elizabeth was hoping for her own four day Easter holiday (from me) she still has to come over because I won’t let Maria put ointment in my eyes.

-I engaged in a major flap-a-thon last night which resulted in a major vet visit today. Apparently my right ear is infected so while the gunk is being cultured I have to have drops put in.  See above.

So now let us return to examine a few more photos relating to My Obnoxious Hound Behavior:

OK, so maybe sitting with my bum perched on the back of a park bench is not exactly obnoxious but the fact that I ascend park benches to delay the progress of a homeward walk and then demand to be fed, is.

So this is me in the squad room of the 20th precinct with the captain.  Why I am I there? Because I carried on so much and so loudly outside the precinct that the captain invited me in to shut me up. It was hard to get a picture because of all the ecstatic wiggling (I used to regularly drag my humans into the station house so I could indulge my obsession with greeting policemen).

As you can see, this is New York’s Houndiest keeping close tabs on New York’s Finest.  If you look closely, you will notice that Officer Wendt is baying at me—something that some of the officers liked to do on the police car bullhorn when they spotted me on the street.

What’s this?  I threw myself down on a city street in midtown to demand that (at least) one of these admirers rub my belly!

And a follow up shot of me calling out to someone else for attention. Or perhaps I just wanted to visit that shop.  There are so many reasons for me to bay that I lose track.

And speaking of which, isn’t this a lovely close-up?  This was taken by an AKC photographer when I was doing a pre-Westminster media meet and greet and Meet the Breeds event opposite Madison Square Garden.

So why am I baying at this guy? Do you notice how his hands are behind his back? I will give you a hint of what he’s got back there: W_  _ _ R     B_ T _ _ E.   He was reluctant to fork it over owing to the fact that he felt it was more important for him to stay hydrated than for me to have some fun.  Humans can be so cruel.

But then again, not always. Here I am with a water bottle that was most likely “donated.”

With regard to baying, I have observed that those who don’t run away screaming in terror, give me stuff.  Here is the pitch….

And the delivery.

Ah, here I am being fed by our friend Nancy’s little daughter Alicia.

However, that behavior leads to this behavior and my general view of strollers as mobile snack shops.  This can lead to a lot of explaining (and tight leash control) on the part of my humans to alarmed parents (“Not to worry, he’s not after your child, just his food….”).

Now as they say, every picture tells a story. This is Alicia again feeding me an ice cream pop. Normally I lick the ice cream off the stick but on this occasion I ever so gently relieved her of the entire thing and swallowed it whole.  This led to frantic calls to the vet, a dose of oil and what I like to think of as “The Great Popsicle Poop Watch.”  For the next several days all my gastrointestinal activities were regarded with even more than the usual intense interest and scrutiny and my eliminatory efforts were poked, prodded and squeezed to find the offending stick. Nada.  After about a week the prevailing theory became that my digestive tract was imbued with termite-like properties and that I had digested the thing.  Then one day when Elizabeth came to pick me up for my afternoon walk, there was the stick! Right on the carpet and completely free of any poop or sign of where it had been. Clean as a whistle it was. How was this possible? It remains one of the great Wimsey Mysteries.

Anyway, I hope that you are enjoying these jaunts down memory lane and that they compensate for the lack of an actual blog post owing to Wimsey Art Book Activities.  Trust me, we are all hoping that the book gets done soon.

Happy Easter!

Wimsey, louder than the Easter Bunny

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