Friday, April 27, 2007

Wimsey's Blog:Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 14
April 27, 2007

Hello Everyone! It’s me Wimsey-- also variously known as The Great Hound, El Sabueso and Sir (as in: “Would Sir care for some liver?” or “More of Sir’s show paraphernalia has just arrived”). Of course, I am also frequently known as “Wimsey Stop That.” I am getting called that a lot more often these days as my human Maria has wisely decided to once again walk me on a prong collar instead of the Dreaded Gentle Leader. She is under the misguided belief that I am finally ready to behave myself again on our walks. Also, as I am shortly to resume my show career, she is too embarrassed to bring me into the show ring with Gentle Leader induced marks on my muzzle. It is the canine equivalent of the scarlet “P.” (Personally I hate the thing—in addition to being uncomfortable and leaving marks some people think it is a muzzle. It makes me want to bite them).

Show Judge: Why does this hound have a ring around his nose?

Maria: It’s from pulling on his gentle leader, I am afraid.

Show Judge: You mean this hound pulls! How shocking! And why is he baying at me.

Maria: He wants to shred that ribbon you are holding.

Show Judge: A hound that pulls and bays. What other deviant behaviors does this hound engage in?

Maria: Well, he also drools quite a bit and shakes his head a lot to fling it about.

Show Judge: A pulling, baying, drool flinging hound! How could this have happened?

Maria: Wimsey claims that he is not responsible—it’s his DNA.

Show Judge: Nevertheless, I am afraid it is not permitted to show your hound with three people in wet suits hanging onto him.

Well, DNA is a very funny thing, you know. It causes us to have strong instincts to do things that are not wholly under the logical control of our brains—even the massive hound ones. Now ever since I was a tiny puppy (OK, maybe not an actual tiny one, more like a really big one) I have had a great love of police officers. This has worked out quite well as New York City’s 20th precinct (the finest of The Finest as I like to think of them) is on my route to Central Park and so I am always trying to drag my humans in to say hello to all those delicious-smelling officers. It is of course logical that I should admire these fellows—they keep the streets safe for handsome hounds like myself whose massive size does not necessarily translate into a courageous temperament (“Maybe you should have called him Wimpy instead of Wimsey”)—but I also just feel this powerful, mystical affinity for these guys. (Also they all wear dark blue which shows up my drool in a particularly attractive manner if I do say so myself). I believe that somewhere amidst all the genes that cause me to sing at high decibels, fling drool and generously share my delectable houndly odor with my humans, is an ancient police loving piece of DNA. Based on the evidence, I am sure that I come from a long line of crime solving canines:

Peasant: “Come quick, Monsieur le Seneschal! Someone has stolen a potato!”

M. le Seneschal: “Never fear! We will unleash the ferocious tracking power of The King’s new St. Hubert Dog, Wimsie, who will quickly find the abominable thieving miscreant!”

As a consequence of this ancient genetic program, I become very excited at the sight of New York City’s own blue knights-- I have even been known to bay at them until they come and pet me. (And they frequently call me “dawg” as an acknowledgement of how cool and hip I am). Anyway, I like to think that the officers have a soft spot for me also (Oh no, it’s Wimsey again! Quick get the ear protectors from the firing range and the drool proof riot shields). And as police officers they have a unique appreciation of my inestimable value (“Can we use him to find the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts?”*). But seriously, it has been a real privilege to get to know these brave men and women. The fact that they pet me, let me drool on them, allow me to stand on my hind legs and snuffle their squad cars and bay back at me through those cool mounted bull horns has absolutely nothing to do with it.

(* New York City doesn’t really have a lot of doughnut shops-- New Yorkers are too calorie conscious to tolerate them. But somehow using me to find the nearest sushi bar just didn’t have the same ring).

Well anyway, in addition to being concerned about my upcoming show appearances, (“Do they disqualify you if your dog is actually gaiting you?” and “Are there other ways to get disqualified that Wimsey knows about and we don’t?”) my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have also been quite concerned about my literary career. It’s been all “Squeaky Lady (see entry # 12) doesn’t seem quite as squeaky lately; do you think she read Wimsey’s blog?” and “Wimsey keeps looking for Booby Lady now that the weather is warmer; he will be very disappointed if she is too embarrassed to cuddle him.” There has been a great concern that people won’t want to talk to me if they fear ending up in my blog. “Now Wimsey you don’t want to end up like Marcel Proust—he used all his friends as characters in his books and look what happened to him-- he had no friends left by the time he died.”

Now this got me thinking about really how very much like Proust I truly am: Proust liked to eat madeleines and I like to eat madeleines (particularly if my humans are eating madeleines); Proust’s father had the macho name of Achille but somehow they decided to name him “Marcel” (I bet he had a lot of fun in the school yard). Now my father also has an ultra cool name (Stetson) and I am called Wimsey—how fair is that. I wonder if Proust had such satiric things to say about everyone to compensate for being called Marcel. (I console myself with the fact that “Rambo’s” name is really Sylvester and the “Terminator” is actually called Arnold. I guess the fact that they survived childhood is testimony to how tough they really are).

But we were speaking of my similarity to Proust, not action heroes (Proust is more like an in-action hero). Now in his seven volume oeuvre Remembrance of Things Past Proust pines for his great love Albertine (really his chauffeur Albert, but they weren’t too keen on guy on guy action in early 20th century France) and I pine for my sultry liver colored Bizzy (see entry #4). Proust likes to digress (sometimes for an entire book!) and I too like to digress. Proust wrote about a guy named Swann and I would like to eat an actual swan (I may get my wish soon if this whole pet food recall thing doesn’t get cleared up—I think the latest plan is for me to eat Timberwolf dog food with elk or bison meat, but I heard Maria tell Elizabeth that she was thinking of procuring a rabbit from Citarella, ((a local gourmet meat shop)) for me. Can a swan be far behind?)

And taking a look at both Proust and myself, I think we are both rather droopy looking characters. Perhaps I should change my name to impress the show judges (Ch. Ewines Ramsey Creek’s Marcel formerly know as Wimsey?)

Anyway, Proust was a sensitive guy and we bloodhounds are nothing if not sensitive, (especially about things that affect our comfort). And of course, very much like Proust, I often find the concept of linear time artistically confining. Now, make no mistake, reading Proust is not for the faint hearted (or those who fall asleep easily)—seven volumes of non-linear time featuring a non-action hero can be a bit much. Some critics even believe that boxes of No-Doz should come with his books, but let’s give the guy credit for turning his life (and unfortunately those of his friends) into one of the great literary masterworks of the 20th century. Kind of like my blog.

Well time to pace off to Central Park in search of some more mammary-based affection. Perhaps I’ll see the Duchesse of Guermantes too.

Until next time,

The Hound Formerly Known as Wimsey

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 13
April 20, 2007

Hello Everyone! It’s me, Wimsey coming to you from the rain soaked Northeast. Now as a robust outdoor breed I don’t mind the rain as much as some other breeds I could name (pit bulls

you know who you are). Heidi, a pit bull friend of mine, is such a delicate flower that she walks in the rain like she is walking on hot coals, it’s all “Eek! Eek! Oh no! My little feet are getting wet! Help! Help!” and she takes her rain walks plastered against the sides of buildings so as to take advantage of the two inch dry strip that surrounds them. Of course if you dare to try and put booties on her, then she turns back into the fierce pit bull (it once took two humans twenty minutes to successfully put just a single booty on her and it took just two seconds for it to end up in her mouth—the place where pit bulls generally like to store things).

And Elizabeth (a friend of Maria’s, my human) reports that some mighty fierce looking shelter pits turn into some distinctly cowering wimps in the face of a few raindrops—one of them looking at her in a particularly accusatory manner, as if she were personally responsible for him getting wet. Now granted she usually is personally responsible for things they don’t like (you mean I have to walk next to you???!!)—a sentiment with which I can truly sympathize-- but still, it seems hardly fair to blame the nor’easter on her. As perhaps the world’s most non-fierce looking canine (sigh) I do derive a measure of satisfaction from knowing that on at least some level, (even if it is only disdain for rain), I am tougher than the tough guys. Of course my human Maria would probably prefer me to mind the inclement weather, so as not to be dragged about in it, but deference to human comfort is not the Strong Suit of the Hound. It is a well known fact that The Strong Suit of the Hound is in fact The Hound.

But anyway I am happy to report that the drainage in Central Park is excellent so Maria only had to scrape copious quantities of mud off of me for a few days. And of course all the damp has given my coat an extra fragrant aroma. Now my strong smell has always been a point of contention with Elizabeth “I don’t even live with Wimsey, so why does my apartment and all my clothes smell like him??!!” But then she realized that although she finds my pugent-icity objectionable, other species with more refined tastes find it thoroughly irresistible. She reports that even the most rambunctious shelter canine will often come to a complete halt in mid-rambunct, as it were, once they get wind of the delightful scent with which her pants are habitually impregnated. So even though I am not a forceful canine myself, it is nice to know that my scent can stop a grown Rottweiler in its tracks. It stops humans in their tracks too but not exactly for the same reason.

And speaking of pants, Elizabeth has now acquired a Maria-approved (although not yet Wimsey- inaugurated) pair of green pants for the show ring. Elizabeth says they make her back side look like the back end of a barn (Maria concurs, though in much more circumspect language “Well, your back end is rather prominent and those pockets are not at all placed in a helpful location”), but the important thing is that they look good against me! Now Elizabeth is trying to figure out how to gait me running sideways so as not to display her posterior, but I think she will have a hard enough time just trying to gait me the regular way. o she will just have to take one for the team. Of course everyone has to take one for the team, except me. Taking one for the team violates the sacred Principles of Houndship. Hounds must persuade others to take one for the team while never in fact taking one themselves. In reality, we are always the team for which one is taken.

Now Maria is much happier with the fit of the pants on her as she feels she could use some help in the derriere department, but she still complains that while there is a dent in the side of the couch where she sits and there is none on my side. She of course forgets that I spend most of my couch dwelling time draped across her like a drooly boa. But unlike my humans I am completely happy with my more than generous rump—I couldn’t possibly body slam effectively without it. But seriously, can you just imagine if dogs got depressed because, say, their tails weren’t long enough or fluffy enough or set high enough (“No, I don’t want to go for a walk, this humid weather is making my tail frizz” or “You shot the bird, so go get it yourself—swimming makes my tail look fat”). I myself have a fantastic tail by the way—quite long and well shaped and capable of inflicting great pain and damage when in full wag. (“Run!’ Wimsey’s wagging his tail again!” “No Wimsey, not the Tail!”) Of course my long ears are pretty useful in this respect also. Now technically the bloodhound has long ears help to gather the scent but really they are used most often to ear whip adjacent humans. This is great fun as it entails lots of delightful shrieking (am I the only one who thinks humans make superb squeaky toys) especially when I move in to apply soothing drool to the resulting welts.

You know, human seem to have so many issues and Hounds so few that it occurs to me that they could profit by applying a few of the Rules of Houndship to their daily lives. Perhaps I should write a self help book like “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and Hounds are from the Planet Where They Get What They Want.” or “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Hounds” or “Who Moved My Rawhide.” Now a serious book on Houndly Wisdom would occupy many erudite volumes, but the basics are pretty simple:

Self Esteem: Not an issue for Hounds. It is our job to make others question theirs (“My life revolves around a Hound, am I an idiot?”)

Focus: When on the trail of something you want, ignore everything else, especially humans shouting obedience commands.

Determination: Persistence pays. Trust me, I know. We Hounds are great fans of Winston Churchill: “Never give up, Never give up Never give up!” (“Wimsey, wasn’t Winston Churchill talking about fighting the Nazis not stealing the yoghurt?”)

Innovate: If you can’t get something one way, try something else—having trouble stealing that sock? Use a diversionary tactic like peeing on the sofa.

Wealth: We Hounds don’t need to earn a living; we persuade others to do it for us. We find it works out better that way.

Artful Deception
: When in doubt, look cute and play dumb “I can’t imagine what happened to all those brassieres you can’t find.”

Health: Eight hours of walking a day and you will either be healthy or too tired to notice if you’re not.

Make an Impact: Of course being an enormous, drooly, stinky, baying Hound helps a bit with this one.

Success: You’re entitled. If not you, who? The cat?

OK, so the other big news around here (apart from the Nor’easter and the fact that it was still cold enough for Elizabeth to be wearing her drool encrusted down jacket—which is green, by the way-- the Official Wimsey Color) is that the ladies, against their better judgment, have actually signed me up for a dog show. Now Maria and Elizabeth are very reluctant to make public the details of the show for all the obvious reasons, but I am under no such constraints, as I will be having fun regardless. The beauty of showing is that nothing is ever my fault—it is always the fault of the handler—(“Wimsey is such a beautiful dog, too bad his humans don’t know how to show him.”) a concept so hound like it makes me wonder who actually created these rules. So for any of you interested I will be showing Sunday May 6th at Mercer County Park in West Windsor Township, NJ at a show sponsored by the Trenton Kennel Club ( I’ll be the handsome dog being handled by a confused looking redhead wearing smelly green pants.

Well onto more weighty matters. This week my learned and well trained friend Nanook the Newfy presented a lengthy and impressive list of vocabulary words that he knows. Now although my humans think that I know exactly zero words, this is not strictly speaking true. I do in fact know a vast number of words; they just don’t mean the same things to me as they do to them. A few examples from the extensive Wimsey Lexicon:

Sit: This means you have something that I am going to want to eat, so I rush at you to get it.

Stay: See “sit.” In fact all obedience commands have pretty much the same meaning, so use them at your peril (except of course “come.” In my experience no good can come of coming, so I like to nonchalantly stroll away whilst keeping a sharp eye out for nail clippers, ear cleaning solution, hound gloves and the like).

Drop: This means that I have got hold of something really good. Good luck getting it back.

Want to go for a walk?:
This means you want to go for a walk and that if I run away you will have to chase me to put on my equipment. (Did I mention I like to be chased?)

Wimsey, stop that!: This means that something I am doing is having a really big impact, so it behooves me do more of it.

Wimsey get your nose out of there: Now, I am a Bloodhound so this is a really low percentage (like zero) command.

Wimsey stop towing: Humans often say things that they don’t mean, and the ladies know that without the towing they would be in worse shape than they already are. They are merely venting at being forced to exercise.

Wimsey stop baying: Hard to do when I enjoy it so much and so many humans smile at the sound—the other night a runner told me she heard me on 103rd street while we were on 92nd, a half a mile away. Of course, however delightful my resonant baying is at a distance it is certainly a conversation stopper at close range. It’s also a little hard on the ear drums. But I must say I have been in particularly fine voice this week. It must be the humidity.

Wimsey get off of me: Naaw, I don’t think so. This means I am comfortable and you are not. So, no problem.

Dinner: Yawn. I am a picky eater.

Pizza: OK, so this one I know. This means charge the pizza delivery guy and terrify him into dropping the pizza.

Well just as a final general rule, we Hounds are so successful because we have a laser like ability to focus on the things that are important to us and a corresponding ability to ignore the things that are important to you.
It works for us.
Until next time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 12
April 13, 2007

Hello Everyone! It’s me, Wimsey. Or me, Wimsey the Wonderhund, as I like to think of myself these days; I have actually been doing my show dog exercises pretty diligently (especially the part about eating the liver) and my human Maria and Elizabeth (a friend of hers) are getting a little worried: “Wimsey appears to be behaving himself. Do you think he is feeling alright?”

But of course show training me is not all beer and kibbles-- whenever another dog hoves into view my humans need to fling themselves on top of me (amid much squealing) in order to pin me so that I can’t take off to say hi to the passing dog (did I mention that show leads and collars are pretty much just pieces of string and I am 125 pounds of seriously gregarious hound)? But really the biggest surprise of my show training is the fact that the liver that Maria boiled is actually edible! Now Maria’s mother has been giving me quite a lot of flack for dissing the culinary skills that she so carefully inculcated into her dutiful daughter. I have only one word for her—“fondue”. I think she should ask Maria about the fondue that was so awful that even I refused to eat it. Poor Elizabeth, who was invited to dinner that night, was forced to go home and order take out. Now in my non-humble opinion, it is not unreasonable to assume that anyone who is unable to melt cheese might likewise have some difficulty boiling liver.

But back to the whole show training thing. Now although my humans seem to feel that I am making progress in acquiring the art of the trot (front and rear legs move on opposite sides of the body) rather than the pace (front and rear legs move on same side of the body—the canine equivalent of the Frankenstein walk and equally as graceful!), I wouldn’t be a proper hound unless I found away to bedevil them. Now the exciting thing is that in the process of thwarting them, I have invented a new gait! I call it the “trop” (which is very appropriate since “trop” means too much in French and everything I do is pretty much, too much). Well the Wimsey Trotting Protocol calls for me take off at a trot—actually I like to throw in a few terrifying gallop strides first, just to keep the ladies on their toes—and then to be forced to start again should I take off at a pace instead of at a trot. If I trot properly, I get a piece of Maria’s surprisingly edible liver (well, not her actual liver of course, she needs that one to metabolize her tequila collection, but the liver that she so expertly boiled).

Well, how this works in practice is that whilst one human gaits me, the other calls out whether it is a pace or a trot (or “Liver or No Liver” as I like to think of it). But of course, the whole carefully crafted system is predicated on the ability of Maria and Elizabeth to actually correctly identify whether I am trotting or pacing. Hence the “trop”. When I trop, its all “Look at that! What is it!? What is Wimsey doing?” And ‘I don’t know. It kind of looks like a trot but then it also looks like a pace.” (Yes, that is why it is called a trop) In fact, the trop is neither a pace nor a trot and its entire purpose is to confuse Maria and Elizabeth sufficiently to cough up pieces of liver, while at the same time making sure that I am not actually being obedient (it is a little known fact that obedient Hounds are often turned into pillars of salt). I mean how can people say that hounds aren’t intelligent—I get what I want (even if I have to invent a new gait in the process) while the humans around me don’t. I prefer to think of us as selectively intelligent—brilliant beasts about the things that interest us (like getting our way) and perfect dolts about things that don’t (like commands to get our noses out of the food).

Well, it’s all been great fun and as usual, excellent exercise and training for my humans. But then again, I am pretty much in favor of anything that involves keeping me in Central Park and feeding me liver. And we run into so many people ---like those who haven’t seen me in a couple of months and insist that I have gotten even bigger. This inevitably causes Maria and Elizabeth to engage in much wailing and gnashing of teeth. All of which always ends in denial: “No, they must be mistaken. I was distinctly promised that Wimsey would not get any larger after he turned three!” and “Maybe we lost weight and he just looks bigger; like an optical illusion.” There is something supremely edifying about the fact that hounds get larger while humans get smaller. We need the extra mass, after all to contain our burgeoning brain power.

Anyway, all this talk about size has, has made me think that maybe I should open the Wimsey Big and Tall Shop for husky Canines of Size. It is always so humiliating to walk into the pet store and listen to the clerks tut tutting about merchandise not being made in my size (“have you tried using a belt instead of a collar?—those come in big sizes” and “I am sorry but Wimsey has got his head stuck in the traveling water pouch again” and “A coat in Wimsey’s size—have you tried the men’s department at Bloomingdales?”). And then there are all those tiny bottles of shampoo that might be enough to wash my tail and teensy weensy toys that just seem to disappear in my big mouth. Now you would think that with all the supersizing that Americans do the supersized hound would be enormously popular. (“Does he come with fries?”). But the dogs seem to be getting smaller as the people get larger. Maybe they are aspirational.

So at Wimsey’s Big and Tall Shop we could offer lots of large clothing in baggy stretch materials (thus giving all canines a pleasing bloodhound like appearance) and we could sell furniture made especially for large dogs—the dog beds in our size would have to be actual beds of course, and we could also sell couches capacious enough so the Larger Canine is not forced to shove his humans on the floor. Sitting on them is preferable. Of course, I don’t mean to complain-- being Big and Tall does have its advantages, especially when wrestling humans who are Short and Small. Then again temporarily blinding them with wads of drool before jumping on them may also be contributory to my success in the wrestling ring. The ability to fling drool is kind of like having one of those special powers that super heroes have. Anyway, being Big and Tall just means that there is more of me to love. And to scratch. And to feed. And to groom. And to walk. And to pick up after. And especially to pick up after. (I always enjoy watching Maria try to fit a large poop into a small bag. Cooking and driving may not be her fortes, but she is not entirely devoid of useful skills).

As you can imagine we all have been spending rather a lot of time in Central Park and few people realize this, but Central Park is quite a bit like a medieval village (I know I do seem to hark back to the Middle Ages quite a bit, it’s my ancient linage--see entry # 8). Now in the medieval world people were known by their attributes rather than by their surnames (“Oh, here comes John the Fat walking his Hound, Wimsey the Magnificent”). And in Central Park very few people get around to exchanging names (giving a stranger your name— too scary here in New York-- after all, you don’t even know them!). So, much like in medieval times, one tends to remember people based on their attributes. For instance, this Spring (and I use that word loosely, Elizabeth is still wearing her hideously drool encrusted down jacket) we have Squeaky Lady who continuously admonishes her mellow dog to come play with me in a voice that let us say is “extreme soprano,” and there is Man With Golden Retriever Who Hates Me, and Aloof Woman with Aloof Irish Setters and Handsome Doberman Guy (unfortunately Handsome Doberman Guy comes with a wedding ring attached, so this precludes my Wimsey the Wingman activities (see entry #2); Handsome Doberman Guy is so taken with me that he swears that if it weren’t for the drool he would acquire a bloodhound forthwith (well, that is like saying you would live in the tropics if it weren’t for the sun!)

But I have to say that my very favorite stranger of all is Booby Lady. Now during the one day we had warm weather we ran into Booby Lady (her name being descriptive of a rather remarkable display of female pulchritude). Well she took one look at me squealed in delight and bounced excitedly over, low cut t-shirt and all. Then she nuzzled and cuddled my head right in between “her twins”! Elizabeth (no slouch herself in that area) told Maria that it was quite a show from where she stood. She was at pains, however, to inform Maria “that however much I am attached to Wimsey, “Wimsey should under no circumstances expect similar treatment” from her. I have to say that I can now more fully appreciate why human males seem so enamored of certain aspects of human female anatomy, although for my part there is nothing so attractive as a well wrinkled, loose jowl. But this wasn’t too shabby. Sad to say, that with the continuing cool temperatures, I have not yet again had the opportunity to experiences the full charms of Booby Lady. But I will. I watch the weather channel daily.

Size matters.

Until next week,


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.