Friday, April 6, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 11
April 6, 2007

Hello Everyone! Wimsey here. Well, it has been quite an exciting week here at Hound Central. After much backing and forthing between my human Maria and Elizabeth (a friend of hers), it seems likely that my dormant career as a show dog is about to spring back to life with a vengeance. This week it was all: “But do we really want to give Wimsey more public opportunities to humiliate us?” and “Can we afford the extra life insurance-- show equipment is dangerously flimsy and what happens if Wimsey decides to do more physics experiments?” (see entry #9).

Anyway, in view of the fact that I am not a very well behaved show dog (or dog for that matter) and that they really have no actual clue about what to do with me in a show ring,
these courageous humans decided to mount an expedition into the wilds of suburbia to consult an expert show trainer. (“Does he always drag you around like that?”)

Now for some months previous, Maria had been crowing about the fact that she had finally identified a back seat car restraint system that I would not be able to chew my way out of (they don’t call me Houndini for nothing). The system consists of a harness with a strap that attaches from a ring to a zip line that connects those high door handles that suburban people use to hang their dry cleaning and such off of. Well the system finally arrived and with great fanfare Maria and Elizabeth fitted my harness (frankly it made me look like the star of a canine S&M video—you know “Professor Wimsey’s School for Naughty Hounds” and all that kind of thing.) Leaving aside the kinkier bits, I have always maintained that there is a strong S&M component to Hound ownership—we Hounds supplying plenty of bone crushing, drool producing “S” and the humans supplying the squealing, dry cleaning bill paying “M.”

But I digress. Well the Big Day arrived and Maria bustled out to set up this amazing, fool proof Hound Restraint System whilst Elizabeth and I patiently waited nearby. And finally with great ceremony, they hook me into this gizmo and hop into the front seats—only to be greeted by-----ME! –as I enthusiastically charge to the front to give the wheel a good snuffle and to lubricate the gear components. Well, it was pretty funny, I can tell you—especially the looks on their faces. Apparently they had failed to notice that the strap attaching me to the zip line was rather long and the distance between the seats rather short. Anyway, after much squeaking and squealing, they eventually saw the humor in the situation —you know “Man Proposes Hound Disposes” kind of thing-- so I added to the fun by creating a new blind spot in the mirror using a discrete dab of drool.

Then of course we ran into the great gas crisis.

Do you know how to pump gas?
Me either.
Do you know where the gas is supposed to go?
What are we going to do?

Now, I know that most of the people in the rest of the world seem to use the automobile to get places, but here in New York City, any location that is not accessible by subway, simply doesn’t exist. In fact Maria has to borrow a car from her friend Ray (or Uncle Ray as Maria insists I call him, since she says anyone brave enough to have his own motorized vehicle in New York City deserves extra respect. Uncle Ray used to chauffeur me around quite a bit himself until he got fed up “There is a giant hound head in my mirror!” --I always enjoy watching my handsome reflection in mirrors and rear view ones are particularly well suited to this purpose, I am sure they were designed especially for hound gazing). Anyway, on the sage advice of Uncle Ray we drove to the exotic state of New Jersey for gasoline because there they actually have people who pump gas for you! But the relief was short lived as finding the place where the gas goes and figuring out how to open it is a whole other skill set. Frankly, my advice is that if you ever have the opportunity to drive with my humans, take the subway.

Well in the end it was all worth it because the show class was pretty entertaining. Immediately upon arrival I got to drag Elizabeth around the room by this leather string they call a show loop. I am really looking forward to seeing more of that thing, I can tell you! The class itself was kind of like the Wimsey Olympics. For instance, in order to get me trot instead of to pace it turns out that you have to take off like Jesse Owens on the block and in order to lift my legs and place my feet in a stack you need the strength of a Bulgarian weight lifter. (I have since decided to add an extra degree of difficulty to the stack, by lying down and rolling around with my feet waving in the air like a giant New York City cockroach ((these are lots of fun to hunt, by the way—who says there are no blood sports in New York City)). But the good news is that teaching me to free bait is relatively easy--it merely requires the patience of a saint.

Well after class my humans were pretty fired up about the whole show handling thing and immediately zeroed in on the key issue: “But what are we going to wear?!” This fascinating topic preoccupied them to such an extent that it caused Elizabeth to get confused and to think that Upstate New York is somehow actually South of New York City, which resulted in pandemonium when it was discovered that we were going in the wrong direction. (“Oh no, we are going even farther away from New York—we could be attacked by Indians at any moment!”)

After the miraculous feat of executing a U-turn was safely accomplished, it was finally decided (quite rightly) that as it was me that was being shown and not them (“May we have the redheads into the ring please”), my humans should wear colors that coordinate best with me, not those that look best on them. So it was all, “Are you really sure we can’t wear black—I am sure even Wimsey understands the shock that wearing color can cause here in New York” and “People will think we’re from out of town!” and “Won’t colors make us look fat?”

Anyway, as usual, my needs triumphed and Elizabeth dutifully trotted off to Macy’s and returned with two large bags of khaki and green colored clothing that she intends to test against my coat for the optimal effect. I can hardly wait for the fashion show. Especially as whilst the clothes are theoretically returnable this assumes that they have not been snuffled and drooled upon by a large fashion forward hound. Let the games begin!

Well, the next monumental problem that my humans had to confront is what to bait me with (bear in mind that I have still not been entered in a single show!). As you know I am a very picky eater (and snacker) and while I will condescend to eat turkey from Fairway (a gourmet store here on the Upper West Side), nothing much else appeals. Funnily enough, though, the show trainer had a bag of $50/ounce treats which did seem inexplicably tasty. However, as the Fairway turkey is too crumbly for the show ring and Maria draws the line at acquiring a second job to pay for Wimsey motivating snacks, the ladies decided to try string cheese. Now anyone who needs proof that the human race suffers from some serious intellectual impediments, has only to watch these two highly educated women try to open a pack of string cheese.

First, Maria struggled for a considerable time (“this cheese is not working; the directions are confusing”). Then Elizabeth stepped in: “Here, give me that. I am a scientist, we know how to solve difficult problems—this is only string cheese not string theory.” Well after about after about ten humiliating and unsuccessful minutes of pulling, tearing and scrutinizing the insurmountably complex string cheese directions (during which time I produced a large pool of drool, just on the off chance that I would like the string cheese) Maria reappeared wielding a large pair of scissors, and finally put a crude but effective end to the Great String Cheese Crisis. The next day, however, I overheard Maria excitedly calling Elizabeth to tell her that she had figured out how to open the string cheese. It was like she had discovered plutonium or something. Kudos, ladies. But this news proved to be somewhat anticlimactic as Elizabeth had just procured a large beef liver from Fairway to tempt my refined palate. I don’t know how this experiment is going to turn out as it is Maria who is going to cook the beef liver (let us just say that her cooking skills are right up there with her ability to pump gas), but I hear that it is virtually impossible to ruin beef liver.

So, all in all, I am definitely approving of this show stuff— in a good cause of course-- my humans are learning the joys of sprinting and of developing the upper body musculature of a Russian shot putter. And they are acquiring new skills like opening string cheese, cooking offal and wearing clothes in Wimsey enhancing colors. For my part, I get to exercise my skills as a food critic and to parade about virtually devoid of any hound controlling equipment. All in all, a pretty good week. And one of these days, I might even get entered in a show.

Until next time,


PS: When last seen, Maria and Elizabeth had their heads buried in show schedules trying to identify venues where nobody knows them.


Sophie Brador said...

Oh Wimsey, Entertaining as always! I must meet you in person one day. Does that work? In person? In dog? I'm not sure which is technically correct for a beast.

Nonetheless, we will watch for your name in lights when you reign supreme in the show ring.

As for the cheesy treats, perhaps a little paper-wrapped Quebec Oka would be more easily accessible in a hurry than that string variety. You just let us know if we can send some up for you.

Peanut said...

Once again a great blog wimsey. Your humans must love the stuff you make them do for you. Oh and my mom has a problem opening string cheese also. She is a intelligent woman but if you want sting cheese open ask any child. They can get it open in a snap.

Tasha & Eva said...

Wimsey, you are a hound to be admired! You have so much control over Maria and Elizbeth any dog would be jealous. When they were going the wrong way did they even think of asking you which way to go? No. Even though they had a bloodhound right there who would know by sent which way was the right way! Entertaining as always our jowly, drooling friend!!
Belly Rubs, Tasha & Eva.

Boomer and his mom Carol said...

Wimsey, I am so glad I met you - you are a grand story teller!

It's hard to imagine not knowing much about gassing up cars but mom explained New York to me, how wonderful it is, and how you can practically walk, cab or take the sub anywhere.

She asked me to ask you if it wouldn't be too much trouble to buy her some clothes from Takashimaya if you have a moment, then maybe stop off at Bergdorf's for a new handbag and shoes. Can you pick me up a fine leather collar too? Just don't make it like that S & M contraption they tried hooking you up to!


Balboa said...

I think they should start taking charge, without you what would they do. Humans are so silly sometimes

Frenchie Kisses,

Bogart said...

Wimsey, you always make me SMILE

Happy Easter, my friend...


Nanook The Newfoundland said...

I wanna know what shows you are going to! My mama and I will totally come!

Tadpole said...

A SHOW DOG?! I know a SHOW DOG?! One that rolls around on his back in the show ring?! How absolutely fantastic!! Aha ha ha!!! I want to see you in a show, Wimsey!! :-)

Sophie Brador said...

Hi Wimsey, I just read about your predecessor Flange and her drooping eye lids. It's so wonderful that she had a preventative option. I've never heard of this kind of procedure, but it's so great to hear that this kind of work is being done for the benefit of the dogs. I hope you post of picture of Flange sometime!!

Chelsea said...

I love string cheese or any kind of cheese actually.

Maybe you could do a blog on the art of opening one without the hoomans help?


Johann The Dog said...

Oh dog shows - do they do jumping and tunneling and weaving there? Oh, wait, wrong show!!!

Sounds like you guys (gals) had lots of fun! Very entertaining.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, you been blogrolled!!!


Jazz and Dixie said...

Hey Wimsey,
What an entertaining read your blog is! We are really looking forward to hearing news of the dog show and of course to seeing the pics! Sounds like you are doing quite well with the preparations!!
Jazz and Dixie

The Army of Four said...

Woo. I think things are simpler here in the "Little Apple". My brother Zim is trying to learn how to drive. Maybe he can take you to your shows!

Tasha & Eva said...

Hey Wimsey, Tasha here. Sorry about the pictures not working. Can't trust a human to do anything right. Check it now and let us know if you can see the pictures. Drool on your humans for us!! Tasha