Friday, July 18, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #353

                     Entry # 353

July 18, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, the clubfooted wonder, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been leading a medically exciting life.  For those of you not following the highly fascinating Saga of My Toe, I had a benign growth on one of my rear toes that periodically grew, bled, became infected, etc. causing my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth no end of anxiety and vet visits.  The hope was to treat it via drugs, compresses and ointments to avoid surgery. This was fine with me since I became quite fond of the thing as it enabled me to extort belly rubs in return for not licking it.  Indeed, whenever I felt in need of a belly rub, all I had to do was to park myself conspicuously (although given my size, the conspicuousness probably goes without saying) in front of one of my humans, lick it and wait for the “Wimsey stop licking your toe” command and then roll over and wait for my reward.

Anyway, whilst Elizabeth was away disporting herself shamelessly in Tuscany, the toe thing decided to undergo a major and bloody growth spurt. This led to my visit last Thursday to the orthopedic surgeon at Blue Pearl who usually sees me for phantom ailments that mysteriously vanish when he examines me. But there are no flies growing on him and he didn’t get to be a specialist orthopedic surgeon for nothing, so the minute he clapped eyes on me he helpfully observed “Aha, I see that this time there really is something the matter with Wimsey.” Fortunately, the thing was just confined to the top layer of skin so the next morning I was unceremoniously hauled back down to the hospital for its surgical excision.  But not before Elizabeth gave the vet her speech about how bloodhounds, despite their robust appearance, have metabolisms that are akin to the delicate ones of greyhounds and that we are actually quite easy to kill with a surfeit of anesthesia.  She also expounded upon how I am a particularly poor metabolizer of drugs that are cleared through the liver and that a slow titration of anesthesia drugs is crucial.  I am sure that she was dying to give him a lecture on the biochemistry of the cytochromes, but somehow she forbore. Elizabeth is very popular among veterinarians because they always appreciate her helpful suggestions that they try not to kill me.


But fortunately, I am not disposed of so easily, and before I knew it I woke up with a giant bandage covering half my leg, which, to me seemed a tad excessive. The surgery went very well and the vet commented how the skin on my toe fell right back in place with no tension, so the healing should be quick.  My humans were very happy to hear that all my excess skin for once served a purpose other than mulching the carpet, depositing sharp pieces of kibble under the bedclothes, secreting unwanted medication, serving as a reservoir for drool and growing copious crops of yeast.  

And as usual, there was a plan afoot (every pun intended) to cut my nails whilst I was too incapacitated to resist. And as with all other such plots, someone forgot (probably because they were too absorbed in the slow titration of the anesthesia).  So the first thing my humans noticed was that 1) I was alive and the second thing they noticed was 2) I was still in possession of my magnificent talons. I have always believed that my nails are under the protection of The Universe since even the most foolproof plans to cut them resulted in failure. Nails 10, Humans 0. If there were a World Cup of nails, mine would be the champions.

But on the subject of nails, I now have a clubfoot (or hoof, depending on which human you ask) instead of my usual taloned appendage, which makes having a scratch something of a challenge. The first time I tried, I kind of looked at the thing with that “what the hell is this?” look so well known to my humans. I also find that climbing up on beds and furniture and such with a slippery bandage rather than with grippy claws is a bit difficult but this is more than made up for by the alacrity with which my humans jump to my assistance. I do regret, though, that it is not on my front foot because it would make an excellent thwacking enhancement. Bigger, better, and larger bruises!

Anyway, my surgery was scheduled early in the morning last Friday so I could go home by early evening the same day. After having Pet Chauffeur take me home, the plan was for me to sleep off the rigors of the day and for the ladies to drink Italian cocktails in the backyard and to order in a vast amount of caloric take out food to celebrate my successful toe surgery. However, like most of the plans that my humans make that involve me, it did not work out.  But first, they had to figure out how to get the liquid buprenorphine pain killer down my gullet. In the end, Elizabeth mixed it with organic vanilla yogurt and spoon-fed it to me the way she does when I demand to share her pre-walk snack yogurt. The stuff didn’t taste great, but as I have said many times, what I am being fed is less important than the fact that I am being served it by my humans. (The next day, Maria decided to try squirting the stuff down my throat and to say that this was not happening was an understatement).

So you can see that my humans had every expectation that after a busy day under the knife and then yogurted with pain meds, I would drift off peacefully to sleep while they ate and drank unimpeded.  But as usual, they underestimated The Power of the Hound. (Although I will say that in my drugged stupor I might actually have lain down on the kuranda bed; not to worry, it hasn’t happened again since I’ve been off the drugs). So imagine their surprise when the cocktails and nuts appeared and so did I! I assumed my usual position with my dripping muzzle over Elizabeth’s lap and demanded my share of the mixed nuts at cocktail time and food during dinnertime.  And lest you think it hasn’t been tried, if Elizabeth moves her lap, I move my dripping muzzle. This forces her to return home looking like she has had an unfortunate accident of the lavatorial kind.  I also demanded to be fed pita bread dipped in humus. My humans weren’t sure that hummus was good for me but acceded to my demands for it anyway under the theory that if I survived the anesthesia I would survive the hummus. It is one of the many benefits of being basically gigantic that it takes a lot of anything to do me harm.

I was not very interested in walking the first four days after surgery and my humans couldn’t decide whether it was the hoof or the painkillers. However, when I charged out of the apartment baying loudly the day after my last dose of painkillers, they had their answer. Maria is relieved that she doesn’t have to pretend to eat the drugged yogurt anymore.  I will get the stiches out on Monday and until then I am enjoying all the sympathy the giant bandage elicits—at least from people other than my humans.  I managed to get the bandage wet once this week (saran wrap and plastic bags being no match for a Hound), and had the toe rebandaged at my regular vet’s.  The Hoof II is just as big as Hoof I and I really think a bandage that goes half way up my leg is a bit much for a small incision on my toe--but then again I get a lot of sympathy.

Well if there was ever any doubt that I am a talented fellow, I think that writing 1300 words about my toe should put those doubts to rest. Of course you’ve just read 1300 words about my toe….

In non-toe related news: you’ve heard me relate many times that my humans consider me to be pretty horrible—probably it’s all those “Wretched animal!” and “I hate him!” texts that fly between them on a regular basis. And here is one small example from yesterday as to why:

2pm: I seem to be very gassy. Oh well, I’ll just take a nap so I don’t have to smell it.

4:45pm: Elizabeth seems desperate for a 15-minute catnap on the couch.

4:46: I now have an urgent need to arise from my afternoon nap and engage in a noisy and prolonged drink of water.

4:48: Why is Elizabeth lying on the couch under a fluffy blanket? Is she OK? I’ll go check.

4:49: Poked Elizabeth then noticed that my muzzle was dripping so wiped it on the fluffy blanket.  Waved my tail at her to indicate that I would like a scratch.

4:50: Elizabeth declined to provide scratch so I have to sit down and have a noisy, grunting scratching session by myself.

5:00:  Scratching complete. Elizabeth still on the couch. Is she OK? I’ll check.

5:01: I am bored. Think I’ll lie down next to the couch and chew my bully stick.

5:10: Bully sticks always make me thirsty. Time for a drink.

5:11 My muzzle is wet. Fortunately there is that fluffy blanket that Elizabeth is under on the couch.

5:12 Elizabeth up. She seems annoyed about something. I know, let’s go for a walk! Perhaps it will help the gas problem I’ve had the entire afternoon.

5:13: Elizabeth getting ready for our walk.  Think I’ll eat a bowl of kibble.

5:15: Apparently I can’t go for a walk after eating kibble.  Just because I’ve never been walked after eating a bowl of kibble doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. So I’ll just keep asking to go for a walk anyway. You never know, right?

6:14: Elizabeth getting ready for the walk again. Time to demand my share of the pre-walk yogurt.

6:16: We’re out! Think I’ll sit in this nice field and watch the dogs play in the dog run and that nice lady feed the squirrels.   Was there something else I was supposed to be doing? Hmmm. Can’t remember. Anyway, it couldn’t have been that important.

6:17: Elizabeth texting. Again.

My humans are so easily annoyed, it’s hardly even a challenge! But they are now both working hard on getting my art book ready to be published on Amazon, so when they are done dealing with me in the flesh (or more accurately the fur), they have to deal with me in pictures.  I am desperately eager for these books to be published (they will come out in four volumes) since the more of me the merrier. Or the more annoying. Your choice.

Until next time,

Wimsey BigFoot (and mouth)

PS: Did I mention I was undergoing mid-summer shedding?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #352

Entry #352
July 4, 2014

Happy July 4th Everyone! It’s me, Wimsey coming to you from my rained out barbecue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Not to worry—it has been postponed until tomorrow and I am to have an entire piece of salmon from the fancy fish store—that is if my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth can figure out how to work the barbecue thing-y without burning down the yard.

I have been absent so long that I am sure many of you thought that I would never return. But as my humans know, it is not so easy to get rid of me. When we were last together, Elizabeth was going to leave me for ten days to go hang out with clients and friends in the UK and Tuscany.  Now I must say that I am usually a very easy-going and agreeable Hound but when something Displeases me I will admit that my behavior undergoes an alteration that is not always to the liking of my humans. So when Maria started taking me out for my midday walk instead of Elizabeth I was extremely Displeased.  This led to numerous emails and texts flying across the pond mostly on the subject of how I was taking my displeasure out on Maria. I admit I may have ignored Maria a bit by refusing to acknowledge her presence and always turning my back on her when we were in the same room. Also, I stared at the door when she came in to let her know that she was not the correct human. She also was only able to administer my eye ointment and clean out my ears on two occasions during the ten days. And I may have towed over to Elizabeth’s building on each of my four walks a day.  I was also listless and depressed, but who among us would not be when a treasured servant leaves us?

Elizabeth got back around 6-ish last Thursday and she immediately went around the corner to Fairway to grocery shop. This meant that when I came out of my building at 6:45 her scent was all over the place meaning that I engaged in furious nose twitching.  Although I was cruelly prevented from following her scent to the shops, I did the next best thing and parked my bottom on a park bench across from her building.  Maria had to summon Elizabeth from her unpacking—it was all “You have to come out. He knows that you’re in there and he’s not leaving.” And what a joyful reunion it was! So much slobber, so much baying. Then I sat on her.

Elizabeth did send me some pictures from Tuscany, including a photo of a lovely boar that was on the grounds of the spa of the thermal spring whose laxative waters she was supposed to drink. Fortunately she just sipped a bit but all the toilet talk among her fellow invitees made her feel like she had never left me. (Did I mention that my humans have an inexhaustible ability to discuss my eliminatory activities?). My ancestors hunted juicy boar and I was very disappointed that she did not bring one back for me. But apart from the fact that I was not there (or maybe because of it) she had a lovely time and got to wear real-person clothes and not Hound clothes and even got to wear shoes with heels!  (There is a pair of white trousers in her closet with my name on them!), She actually had many fascinating conversations that were not about me (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one), admired some decorative men (fortunately they were taken—I would NOT have approved) and ate her weight in gelato (for which I am intensely jealous; it is after all the fact that I am the gelato-eater of the group that keeps my humans’ clothes fitting the way that they are supposed to).

Anyway, absent an actual juicy boar, I think that statue would have looked great in my yard. Kind of like Hound food porn.  And speaking of the yard, our friend Ilonka came to visit to give her opinion on it. Sadly, Elizabeth was away at the time but both humans were happy to know that according to Ilonka the yard isn’t being overrun by weeds—all those things they keep cutting back on are actual plants. Ilonka knew the names of them but Maria was not able to remember the name of a single one when Elizabeth asked (gardening, I fear, being right up there with learning to use the barbecue. Good thing I like raw salmon). However, my humans already know the names of the plants: this is the plant that Wimsey likes to eat, this is the plant that Wimsey likes to nap on instead of on his kuranda bed, this is the plant that Wimsey likes to dig up, this is another plant that Wimsey likes to eat, etc.…

But my humans should know that I would never condescend to eat and nap on weeds. As you may have surmised, the continued shunning of the expensive kuranda bed continues unabated. But we are now back to all having Saturday night dinner in the yard. This is preceded by mixed nuts with wine or cocktails which means that eating the nuts is preceded by my humans having to feed them to me, one nut at a time as I prefer. One must savor each one to the fullest. And on the subject of cocktails, those who read this blog know that on Elizabeth’s last trip (Maui) she came back with a recipe for mai tais. This time she came back with a recipe for an aperitif called an Italian Spritz (prosecco, aperole, club soda and orange slice) that have formed the basis of a new round of alcoholic experiments. But as I always remind her, drinking a mai tai on a Hawaiian beach or an Italian spritz at a tony hotel in Tuscany is not the same thing as drinking them in a small, ugly yard surrounded by buildings and containing an intrusive, drool-flinging Hound. And she wonders why they never taste the same.
Anyway, not many picture this week as Elizabeth (my photographer) came home with a pile of work and the weather has been too hot for my usual extended walks. I am an air conditioning kind of guy and tried to hide when my cooling coat made its first appearance of the season.  But these projects that Elizabeth is so preoccupied with seem to involve a lot of writing. Since I taught her everything she knows about writing I am sure it is a challenge for her to write business English which is supposed to feature short, active declarative sentences—the opposite of how I write! So it occurred to me that these short, active declarative sentences are vastly overrated and we have only to read The Declaration of Independence to know why. Long sentences and passive constructions have never read so well. But would The Declaration sound like if it were written in a more modern style?

Wimsey’ Business English Declaration of Independence


TO: King George III, CEO British Empire
FROM: The Founding Fathers
DATE: July 4, 1776
RE: Termination for Cause

Dear Royal Highness,

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that human events sometimes make it necessary for new Managements to dissolve political bonds with former Managements. The new Management must exercise its right to the separate and equal station to which they are entitled by both the Laws of Nature and the Laws of God  (to which, I believe we both fully subscribe). Nevertheless, the new Management does feel that it is incumbent upon it, in the spirit of fairness and transparency, to provide you with the rationale behind our recent acquisition of your colony and of your subsequent dismissal as CEO. We assure you that, appearances to the contrary, these actions were not hasty nor poorly thought out. We think that in the end this will be a win-win for both parties.

Firstly, we here, at The United States, Inc. (formerly, The Colonies, Ltd.). believe the following:

1. Our Creator endowed us with a variety of highly important inalienable rights that apply across the board to the entirety of mankind. We feel that this is an important point to make since we also believe that Our Creator created all men (even those whose family connections enabled them to hold CEO positions in vast empires) equal.

2. The specific inalienable rights to which we refer in point 1, include, but are not limited to:

     ŸPursuit of Happiness

Furthermore, we believe that the mission of Managements is to ensure that these inalienable rights are available to all shareholders and that fulfillment of this mission underpins a Management’s very existence. When Managements fail in this mission, (as we believe you have), shareholders have the right (endowed, as are all rights referred to herein, by The Creator, whether or not so specified) to alter or replace those Managements with one better aligned with their interests and better qualified to promote Safety and Happiness.

Rest assured, therefore, these actions have not been taken lightly and our failure to act in the past is more a reflection of a natural inertia than our acquiescence to your unfortunate policies. Our current actions result from a long string of what we feel are abuses and usurpations on your part which we have no choice but to view as a desire by you to exercise unacceptable despotic rule. We believe that we have been more than patient with these tyrannical antics, but now feel that we have both a right and a duty to remedy the situation.

We have specifically documented the following failures on your part:

1. You have refused to support laws and policies that we believe are necessary for the public good.

2.  You have declared that laws cannot be passed without your prior approval but have then remained unresponsive to our requests for such approval.

3. You have engaged in bullying tactics verging on blackmail by refusing to give your approval to various laws unless those making them allow you to rule instead.

4.  You have called management meetings at locations and at times that you knew would make attendance impossible.

5. You have repeatedly fired people who disagreed with you.

6. You have refused to replace those that you fired which has resulted in a massive power vacuum that left shareholders vulnerable to hostile takeovers by competing French, Spanish and Native American interests.

7. You have repeatedly shot down all our attempts to promote personnel growth and real estate expansion that we believe are highly desirable.

8.  You have blocked our attempts to establish a judicial system and insisted that you hire all judges and that your office pay their salaries in order to control them.

9.  You expanded your military presence here without our consent and for the sole purpose of intimidation and harassment and then forced us to feed them as well.

10. The military mentioned in #9 refused to obey civilian authorities, and as a result of your direct encouragement they placed themselves above the law.

11.  You tried to single handedly replace us with a bunch of hand picked associates who agreed with your ideas.

12.  Again, we must recur to those troops that you sent who were expensive and not only were not value added but actually engaged in criminal activities for which they were not punished.

13. You cut off our global trading capacities

14. You unilaterally imposed taxes.

15. You deprived us of jury trials and had dissenting stockholders deported for fictitious crimes

16. You wanted us to become part of Canada

17. You unilaterally revoked laws and altered our management structure and attempted to micromanage all governance without consulting us.

18. You waged war on us causing a tremendous amount of property damage and loss of life.

19. You sent vast armies and groups of mercenaries to subdue us when you were unable to win your arguments. The words perfidy, cruelty and barbarous have been variously used to describe your conduct and those of your henchmen. We believe that your conduct is incompatible with civilization.

20. You forced our sailors to work on your warships, killed a large number of people (a point that bears repeating), encouraged our enemies to attack us, etc. We found this conduct profoundly unhelpful.

I apologize in advance for the redundancy of several of these points, but we feel rather strongly about them and should you feel this list is insufficient or require more information we would, of course, be happy to supply it. We believe that the current list is of sufficient merit, however, to warrant your immediate termination.

Rest assured that we have tried on multiple occasions to contact you with reference to the matters listed above, but you have always been unavailable. We also attempted to discuss these matters with your representatives but these discussions proved unproductive. We have reluctantly concluded that your continued position with us is no longer tenable or to our mutual benefit. We suggest that therapy or counseling may prove useful and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
We therefore, as the New Management of the newly formed entity, The United States of America, Inc. declare that we are a free and independent entity and no longer have any relationship with our former CEO, His Majesty George III. We refer all future inquiries to his lawyers.

Management will now be solely responsible for such operations as declaring war, concluding peace, contracting alliances, establishing commerce, etc. that were previously the responsibility of our former CEO. We want to assure the public that we are all heavily invested in the new enterprise and have pledged our lives, fortunes and honor to it and believe that these assets, together with Divine Providence are more than sufficient to ensure a successful outcome. Please find below the signature of representatives of our thirteen new subsidiaries who look forward to serving you in the future.

Best regards,
The Founding Fathers

Well you get the idea.  Perhaps I will be able to help Elizabeth with her business writing after all.

Anyway, Happy July 4th everyone!

Until next time,

Wimsey, Gone for a few weeks but forgotten never (I hope)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #351

Entry #351
June 13, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the weather gods are wreaking havoc with what used to be known as spring. It’s been mostly chilly and humid which means that I have to listen to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth complain about being both cold AND being sweaty. Then every now and then it just gets hot. Or very rainy. One never knows what to expect next.  Rather like life with a Hound.

As many of you know, I am being abandoned for nine days. Elizabeth is going to Europe which means that my primary human, Maria, will have to take full care of me. There is some compensation in that she is taking a few days off next week to devote herself to the effort full time and I am also to have a visit from one of my favorite humans, Ilonka who is married to Paul who is the founder of my brewery, Baying Hound Ale Works. She will be bringing along a friend to add to my entourage hoping to distract me from the fact that one of my humans had the temerity to leave me.  And better yet, we will all be crammed into my tiny apartment which means that not only can’t you run, you can’t hide either. Not from the drool, the hair, the stink and my tush on your lap. I only hope that Ilonka is still friends with her friend after a couple of days with me (and nights, during which I excel at running, farting and snoring all at the same time).
So all this because Elizabeth has been asked to temporarily join the 1% in Tuscany for a few days. I still can’t believe that she would rather do this than be part of the 0% who have the privilege of not being listened to by me.  This has also induced her to leave me alone during the day and engage in a flurry of shopping so she can wear clothes that don’t smell and aren’t covered In drool stains or worse (I managed to smear my butt along her pink t- shirt this week in the process of settling myself in her lap. But pink and brown go, right?).  I am sure that she will have many fun stories when she returns, as everyone is supposed to drink these medicinal waters whose main effect is apparently to make you run to the bathroom. So next time I grab something revolting on the street that has similar properties I will claim that it was for medicinal purposes! 

Anyway, in spite of the crazy weather I did manage to take my humans out for a 3-hour frolic in the park on Sunday. Although mainly this consisted of me resting in shady bowers while my humans stood around and gave their sunscreen a workout while watching me.  But since the weather has been largely cool and cloudy I have been out and about and my humans have been spared my annual metamorphosis into Wimsey the Vampire Hound in which I run from shady spot to shady spot to avoid the direct sunlight. Summer would be great if it were not for the weather.

Good Things About Summer

People carry plastic water bottles which I am very good at  “obtaining”

People eat outside which means that there is much clean up work for a tidy Hound like myself

People eat outside which means there is much cadging opportunity for a charming Hound like myself

Outdoor cafes

Gelato stands 

Tourists in town to admire me

The exciting absence of a lot of scent-and-cold-nose impeding clothing
But another good thing about summer is finally getting to go out in my yard. Last Saturday I spend the afternoon watching Maria try to dismantle and remove at least some of the junk left by the previous tenant of the adjacent apartment.  Then Elizabeth tried to use a pair of pruning shears which was only marginally more useful than me trying to use a pair of pruning shears (New Yorker not being especially well known for their gardening skills).  When she started cutting things this led to the Great Debate about which pieces of vegetation were actually plants and which were weeds-- but really, if you can’t tell the difference, does it really matter? As long as they don’t remove the ones that I like to eat.

When all of this proved too taxing to supervise I took a nap not on my kuranda bed.  Maria keeps hopefully repositioning it around the yard under the theory that if only she found the right spot I would use it.  This is kind of like thinking that if only she told me to sit often enough I would do it. But as a reward for all of our labors we rewarded ourselves with the first Saturday wine and pizza night of the year. I ate quite a bit—cut up and hand fed to me the way I like it naturally. Apparently when you drool on a piece, it’s yours.  And as happens every year, plans are being made to try to barbecue—Maria bought all the gear several years ago but has yet to get up the courage to use it. Barbecuing is right up there with gardening, driving and pumping gas in my humans’ arsenal of skills.  They can take comfort in the fact that I will be on hand to deal with any unsuccessful experiments.

Sorry for the short post this week but before I go I want to observe that New York is full of odd things (like giant, baying bloodhounds) and here is a statue of a giant, non-baying raven. Why? Because the building behind me used to be a farmhouse owned by Edgar Alan Poe’s parents and he wrote “The Raven” there. Things have changed a bit. Sadly, I am not allowed to pee on this raven which is disappointing since I’ve never peed on a raven before and I believe that expanding one’s horizons is important for personal growth.  

And speaking of new experiences, Elizabeth showed Maria the clothing that she bought and Maria looked on in horror as a pair of white trousers appeared. One person’s white trousers are another person’s canvas. Will Elizabeth ever be able to wear these trousers?

Quoth The Wimsey, “Nevermore”

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #350

Entry #350
June 6, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey! I am back again at my post (no pun intended) here on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where owing to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth being busy and me being lazy, I have not had a chance to write a single word.  Two whole weeks without there being any news about me. It’s tragic.

Anyway, as those of you who follow my doings know, Elizabeth was busy with meetings in New York and Boston last week, which meant that ONCE AGAIN Maria had to come walk me in the middle of the day and to minister to my many needs. I do not like when this happens. And when a Hound does not like something to happen it generally does not happen. Now when Elizabeth comes to pick me up at midday she puts ointment in my eyes, cleans out my ears, puts drops in them, brushes my teeth and puts antibiotic ointment on my toe.  All this happens whilst I sit enthroned on the Tribute Couch receiving cooing accolades on my good behavior and receiving Elizabeth’s undivided attention, which I find quite pleasing.  And also as many of you know, I am a Hound of Fixed Opinions and one of them is that my humans are like apps—they each have a different function, so when Maria tries to medicate me it’s like calling a taxi with Uber and getting the weather instead. The upshot of all this is, is that Elizabeth was on the receiving end (for once) of irate emails about my lack of cooperation (i.e., fleeing) vis my treatments and how she is likely to find a medical mess when she returns because I would not permit Maria to come near me with any of the necessary stuff.

I mean as The Hound in Charge I do have to enforce division of labor discipline or else there would be chaos (by which I mean chaos that I have not created). I would never know who is doing what and when. If there is any element of surprise to be doled out I need to be the one responsible. As in, “Surprise!  That sandwich you turned your back on for a micro second is gone” or “Surprise! There is no longer any dirty underwear to wash” or “Surprise! I did some gardening,” etc.

Anyway, apparently the lack of recent practice in taking care of me has resulted in some very sloppy caretaking on Elizabeth’s part. She forgot to boil my chicken breasts for my lunch the way she always does on Monday—her apartment is so fragrant on Mondays that my nose practically twitches off my snout—and was forced to substitute hard boiled eggs instead. Fortunately, I enjoy hard boiled eggs, but like everything else that is prepared for me, I demand pieces of a certain size and feel compelled to reject pieces of things that are either too small or too big. So on Monday, I had no sooner put the snout into the trough, so to speak, when I noticed an unacceptably large piece of hard boiled egg.  This I immediately removed from my bowl, dropped on the floor in front of Elizabeth (I like my humans to stand around and admire me while I eat) and glared at her.  After once slicing my duck hearts into pieces that I considered too large, she really should know better.  I’m not even going to complain (again) about the lack of sufficient butter on my baked yams.

So what else is new? I was about to report an unprecedented absence from the vet’s office but this is not strictly speaking true. My humans did not like the look of the growth on my toe (there are plans afoot to freeze it off with cryosurgery at some point) and I had been engaging in a bit of a flap-a-thon so I was in fact taken to the vet. However, in the 24 hours between the symptoms and my appointment I underwent another one of those Wimsey Pre-Vet Appointment Miracle Cures (the ones that have the vets scratching their heads and my humans looking like they have Munchausen Syndrome)—pristine ears and a non-angry looking toe.  The vet felt so sorry for my humans that she didn’t charge anything but I was somewhat compensated for my lack of imposing a financial burden by the fact that Elizabeth was forced to drop her work on a very busy project to take me to the appointment. Although I prefer to cost my humans both time and money, sadly I had to settle for time. For now.

The summer season is also underway in Central Park and this means that I am the focus of much seasonal attention.  There are photo opps and snack feeding opps aplenty at this time of year and since people eat al fresco, so do I. Somehow my summer walks all entail routes that take us along park benches and verdant fields fragrant with picnic remains. But owing to the warmth and sunny nature of the season I do feel impelled to take frequent breaks in the shade while my humans stand around in the sun and watch me relax. If they too try to sit with me and relax I get up and pull them somewhere else. Ditto if they try to take a break from watching me and try to check their emails or something—up I get.  It’s this kind of behavior that wins me the many “Wretched Hound” accolades in which I bask.

But there is Evil afoot. Elizabeth has selfishly accepted an invitation to go to Tuscany in the middle of the month, and is stopping off en route to see friends in the UK.   She is flying across the pond on her favorite airline, Virgin Atlantic, which coincidentally happens to be the only airline whose planes have a bar (although what she finds to drink about when I am not around is a mystery). But I think I could do better than Richard Branson:

Hound Atlantic

Hound fight attendant: Welcome to Hound Atlantic, the Airline that Doesn’t Care About You (actually, none of them do, we are just honest about it). Captain Hubert is in command of our aircraft, and of you today and he has turned on the fasten seat belt sign so we ask that you return to your seats—or what’s left of them—and fasten your seat belt.

Passenger: Mine just has the metal buckles! Where’s the rest of it?

Hound fight attendant: I see that you haven’t flown with us before. If you had, you would not have to ask. You won’t find those safety cards in your seat backs that no one reads either. But don’t worry; one of our flight attendants will be around to sit on your lap during takeoff and landing.

Passenger: But they weigh 130lbs!

Hound fight attendant: Exactly. You won’t be going anywhere. It’s one of our advanced safety features.

Hound fight attendant: I also want to remind our passengers that interfering with or not obeying a member of the flight crew is a Federal offense and that this applies whenever or wherever you encounter one of us. Now please turn off all electronic devices and pass them to a flight attendant. Their use during flight is prohibited. Except by us.

Passenger: Why do we have to give them to a fight attendant?

Hound fight attendant: Because due to cutbacks we no longer have sufficient staff to steal them all ourselves.

Passenger: But why can you use them and we can’t?

Hound fight attendant: Because we use them for a different purpose that does not involve turning them on.

Passenger: Well when will I get mine back?

Hound fight attendant: You really have never flown with us have you?

Passenger: Well what about a drink?

Hound fight attendant: I was just coming to that. Ladies and gentleman after takeoff our flight attendants will be coming through the cabin to offer you a beverage of your choice.

Passenger: What are the choices?

Hound fight attendant: Coke with drool, sprite with drool, orange juice with drool, coffee or tea with drool, fancy bottled water with drool and of course, our specialty drink, Just Drool.

Passenger: Can I have that on the rocks?

Hound fight attendant: Of course. We also have a selection of alcoholic beverages that include wine with drool, beer with drool a selection of cocktails with drool and our special house drink, Shots ‘n Drool.  These are available for purchase with a credit card that we will be taking from you to verify their validity.

Passenger: Really? You verify the card?

Hound fight attendant: No, we eat them. But no one would give us the cards if we said that. Notice that we didn’t promise to give them back. At least in their original form.

Passenger: What about food?

Hound fight attendant: I am just coming through the cabin to deliver a tray with our award winning meals.

Passenger: But this tray is empty!

Hound fight attendant: You snooze, you lose.

Passenger: But I am hungry.

Hound fight attendant: Well I could try to get you a meal from first class.

Passenger: Is that an empty tray also?

Hound fight attendant: Absolutely not! First class passengers are served on elegant china!  The meal is all the stuff that we don’t like and spat out. I think the meal you have is better.

Passenger: And who exactly did these meals win an award from?

Hound fight attendant: The American Kennel Club.

Passenger: Well what about entertainment.

Hound fight attendant: I’m glad you asked. We have an award winning entertainment system also.

Passenger: Let me guess. We throw squeaky toys for you to fetch.

Hound fight attendant: Don’t be ridiculous! Hounds don’t fetch. Why would we bring something back that we went to all that trouble to retrieve? Anyway, each row has its personal entertainment system. A flight attendant will stretch out on all of you and thwack you until you scratch him.

Passenger: Is there audio entertainment?

Hound fight attendant: He snores.

Passenger: That sounds like an entertainment system for the flight attendants.

Hound fight attendant: Well yes. It’s not all about you, you know. And we didn’t say who our entertainment system entertains.  But scratching a Hound will lower your blood pressure-- at least until you get the bill for the flight.

Passenger: Do people really fly this airline?

Hound fight attendant: Absolutely! Haven’t you seen our advertising campaign--
“Hound Atlantic: Something Special In the Air.” We just don’t say what.

Well you get the idea. Of course the flight attendant on Elizabeth’s flight back from Boston was also something special—after yelling at the passengers about various things she started complaining about how none of the glassware had been washed and that the glasses were too small anyway. Then she served wine in the large plastic glasses meant for water. They were full. No one asked for seconds. When Elizabeth finally rolled home she came over to see me immediately because she missed me—but then she sobered up.

But we Hounds are something special on the ground too. It’s why everyone loves us—except of course the humans whom we put on involuntary diets and who have to repair moonscaped yards, replace chewed up fences and buy lots of new underwear. Also new couches. I myself am special in so many ways that it is not possible to enumerate them all.  For instance, I am trilingual—I know how to not listen to my humans in English, Hungarian and French!

So in other news, when I entered Elizabeth’s apartment after our walk yesterday, my toy pile was missing! (There is a very good reason that I inventory it every day).  But a completely missing toy pile can only mean one thing—a visit from Pluto, my French bulldog buddy. Sure enough, Elizabeth disappeared and came back with the little fellow! It was delightful (except for the fact that I had to be walked on the heinous gentle leader because Maria was walking me and owing to the fact that she hadn’t slept the night before, she somehow felt that I might take advantage of her if I were on my harness. Moi?).  I really like Pluto and I am sure the neighbors that I bay awake when he and I meet on early morning walks like him too!

Well, I think I will leave it there for this week.  I have to go help Elizabeth find something to wear in a tony Tuscan resort. Something in black and tan perhaps…

Until next time,

Wimsey, something special (and painful) in your lap