November 30, 2007
Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey-- happily disporting myself amidst the autumnal splendors of Manhattans’ Upper West Side. I hope you all have had as much fun viewing my recent autumn pictorials as I have had in creating them. There is nothing quite as invigorating as the fresh scent of moldy, peed upon leaves in the morning. It just takes your breath away and makes you glad to be alive! And last Sunday we had another magnificent autumn day here in Hound Town so my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth stayed out with me (they call it ‘hounding”) all day in Central Park. And then afterwards we helped Elizabeth do some shopping on Broadway so it was quite a busy day all in all and necessitated the subsequent consumption of 7 ½ cups of kibble, some leftover turkey and a long nap.
Although helping Elizabeth shop is always entertaining, why she bothers to do it is something of a mystery. In my last post I discussed the fact that I am not so much of a dog as a lifestyle and the Wimsey Lifestyle involves not only spending large amounts of one’s time in Central Park, but doing so whilst sporting some seriously unflattering, practical clothing courtesy of LL Bean. And of course LL Bean’s customer service is legendary so my humans have had some interesting of conversations with them:
“Excuse me but can you tell me upon which color drool stains show the least?”
“Do you know if this fabric is drool repellent?
“Can you tell me if this fleece hat is susceptible to puncture by hound teeth?”
“Does this fabric retain odors?”
“How much traction will these boots provide if I were to hypothetically be towed rapidly across a bed of wet leaves by a giant charging hound?”
“If I need to take, say a six hour walk in the freezing cold, will this jacket keep me warm?”
“Do you happen to know if the goose down inside the jacket smells like an actual goose?”
Anyway, this season’s LL Bean boxes have been arriving at Elizabeth’s and everyone is so tactful—no one says “that jacket makes you look like a four foot tall four foot wide blueberry” but rather “how comfortable and warm you look!” And FYI, these wardrobe issues are among the many that make my role of wingman so essential to my ladies receiving any male attention at all—the Hound Lifestyle involves many things, but glamorous attire is not one of them.
But I have observed that not telling someone that their new jacket makes them look like the Michelin Man is symptomatic of a chronic human avoidance of the truth. This is in marked contrast to we hounds who are nothing if not honest —can you imagine us saying “how lovely of you to smell my bottom” when what we really mean is “if your cold nose so much as comes within a nanometer of my delicate derriere then there will be hell to pay.” And there is no such thing as an insincere growl and or an immodest triumphant bay-- when I bay in triumph, I am in fact truly triumphant. Human double talk is one of the more puzzling aspects of their species and it seems to be a universal characteristic amongst them. As an example, during the week I am run by a lovely chap named Roy from Running Paws and as part of this excellent service Roy leaves a note for Maria telling her what time I was run and describing my excretory activities and who I was run with, etc. (“great run up the bridle path with Louie ((my Weimaraner running buddy)) # 1 and #2” is a typical note). But other, more cryptic comments do sometimes appear --“Wimsey was very excited today” or “Wimsey really enjoyed himself!” and such. Of course there was the time when a touch of what he really meant crept in: “Wimsey was a fiend today.” But frustratingly the form of this fiendish behavior was completely omitted leaving my humans to use their imaginations (Roy is nothing if not discrete). Now these oblique comments produce a lot of sympathy on the part of my humans because they do actually have an inkling of what Roy might really mean (“Wimsey jumped down all five flights of stairs, bayed incessantly and dragged me around the park at a high rate of speed”). But humans, unlike Hounds, are so indirect!
As you may imagine, when I am out and about I attract considerable attention as befits a creature of my imposing and handsome stature and I listen intently to the many comments made by these passing humans:
Comments Overheard by Wimsey During His Walks
What is said: “What a big dog!”
What is meant: Can you believe what an idiot his owner is to harbor a dog of that size!
What is said: “Does he do OK in the city?”
What is meant: I bet you have no life and no furniture.
What is said: “Does he bite?”
What is meant: Will be bite me? I don’t particularly care about anyone else.
What is said: “Listen to him sing! What a great noise.”
What is meant: How do you make him stop.
What is said: “Why is he making that noise?”
What is meant: How do you make him stop.
What is said: “Who’s taking who for a walk?”
What is meant: What psychological illness compels small women to have big, lively dogs?
What is said: “Is he a nice dog?”
What is meant: Should I be standing this close to him? I’m actually afraid of dogs but am pretending not to be and I am sure no one will notice.
What is said: “Is he lazy and does he like to hang out on the couch?”
What is meant: He might fit right into my lifestyle.
What is said: “He’s so cute.”
What is meant: As long as he belongs to you
And of course the holidays are upon us and humans will be sending each other greeting cards whose cheery prose is also not entirely forthright. So I think there is a market for a line of Wimsey the Honest Hound greeting cards:
Happy Birthday from your Hound. You gonna eat that cake?
Your Hound wishes you a Merry Christmas and reminds you that it is always better to give (to your hound) than to receive (if you expect to receive something from your hound you will be waiting a long time)
Happy Chanukah from your Chosen Hound
Your Hound wishes you a joyous Easter and reminds you that he likes hard boiled eggs
Happy Valentine’s Day! Isn’t it great that even though you are alone you have such a wonderful Hound to love?!
Happy Fourth of July! Red White and Blue, Statue of Liberty, Declaration of Independence, No Taxation Without Representation, Don’t Tread on Me (especially my tail), the Sons of Liberty, the Boston Tea Party, Lexington and Concord. Now where are my hotdogs. (PS:George Washington himself was a Hound man, so he would have approved this message)
Happy Anniversary! I am so glad there are two of you to take care of me
Congratulations on the birth of your baby. 9 out of 10 Americans think puppies are cuter.
Happy Halloween. Don’t even think about putting a costume on me or else I will leave a steaming “treat” of my own on the living room carpet.
It has taken me a long time to understand that the best way to deal with humans is to completely ignore what they say, especially when in the show ring or on a commercial shoot. If they refuse to consistently say what they mean then they deserve to be made to look foolish by a Hound. How do I really know that “Wimsey sit" and "Wimsey stay” doesn’t actually mean “Wimsey wander around and then come jump on me for this piece of turkey” or that “Wimsey trot” doesn’t mean “ Wimsey take off with me around the show ring at a gallop.” No wonder humans can’t seem to negotiate world peace. (“Yes we Americans do love the French. Everyone does.” “England has the finest cuisine in the world and is ruled by such a good looking family!” “No, Italian men are no hotter or more stylish than the Germans,” etc., etc., etc.).
Anyway, all this has put me in a mood to visit The Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art.
Today, even though we have on view one of the world’s most famous paintings, it too can benefit from some houndly intervention. The Blue Boy (Thomas Gainsborogh, 1770, The Huntington Gallery, San Marino, California). Now this famous portrait is not at all what it seems—although the boy looks quite posh, he is really the son of a hardware merchant and his blue outfit, which is in the style of the early 1600s, is really a costume. The painting was Gainsborough’s homage to Anthony Van Dyck, an artistic luminary of the previous century. But what is really shockingly amiss is that that magnificent feather in the boy’s hat is resting entirely unmolested. In a nation of Hounds what are the odds of that happening! The addition of a Hound messing with the feather adds truth and verisimilitude to an otherwise deceptive portrait. Wimsey Boy.
Well time for me to be off. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have been removing and hiding some treasures from Central Park (an old tennis ball is my most recent acquisition) and it is now time for me to admire my collection before Maria gets home in a confiscatory mood.
Until next time,
Wimsey the honest hound