Friday, October 10, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 88
October 10, 2008

Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey coming to you from the gloriously autumnal precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. And apart from the fact that the world’s economy is falling apart, (could Hounds have done any worse a job at running Wall Street I wonder?) it’s been a great week here. First, as many of you know, last Saturday was the feast of St. Francis and my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth took me on Sunday to the cathedral of St. John the Divine to be blessed at their outdoor blessing ceremony. They then planned to take me into a local church for an actual service under the thesis that I can’t have too many blessings (“Wimsey needs all the help he can get.”).

Well Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day and we all walked up to the Cathedral through the northern part of Central Park (well the ladies walked, I charged about as I always have an attack of excessive friskiness in this relatively unfamiliar section of the park—this friskiness precipitated some talk of the premature application of the Halti, which they had not been planning to use until the ceremony itself). Now part of the day’s festivities included an animal fair in the cathedral close and I became exceedingly fascinated with an exhibit of farm animals-- those being in rather short supply on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. But it was felt that I was developing an unhealthy interest in this donkey and I was consequently removed from the farm animal area; this turned out to be just fine as I then managed to ambush Bishop Sisk, the Episcopal Bishop of New York as he was exiting the rear of the cathedral—probably in hopes of avoiding an ambush by a large drooly Hound such as myself. It was thought safe for me to meet Bishop Sisk as he appeared to be a sturdy chap and unlikely to topple easily.

Below you see a picture of me conferring with the Bishop on important ecclesiastical matters such as the ordination of Hounds and the like. I was also quite taken with the striking color of his cassock and although Maria and Elizabeth believed that they had prevented me from sliming it, I did manage to leave just a small token of our meeting for the Bishop to remember me by. Well after this we toured the rest of the animal fair where it was further felt that I was becoming too interested in the Birds of Prey exhibit and was once again removed before I could fully satisfy my scientific curiosity on the subject. To be fair I do take an active interest in wildlife and am always seeking to expand the breadth of my experience, but I do feel that sometimes my purely academic interests are misinterpreted by my humans.

Anyway, what with touring the fair and conferring with the bishop and the priests being on a lunch break, it actually took quite some time before the blessing occurred. And while waiting I began to get somewhat bored as we active Hounds are wont to do and fell back on my usual pastime in these situations—I sang. At high volume. Continuously. Of course this attracted groups of onlookers who listened with great interest and appreciation. I look at it this way, some people fidget when bored, some people drum their fingers, some people whistle. Me, I bay. This creates a paradoxical situation in which people gather around to discuss all the noise with my humans but no one can actually hear anything above the racket.

Well finally it was time for my blessing and if truth be told I was a bit squirmy—I tried to think spiritual thoughts but visions of angels kept getting crowded out by visions of donkeys. Then after my less than saintly performance at the cathedral it was determined that perhaps it would not be the best idea to take me into an actual church (This was somewhat disappointing as I have always wanted to do a solo backed by a full choir) and so we all headed instead for a delightful walk in Riverside Park—well delightful for me as I had some suppressed energy to unleash as well you can imagine. When I finally arrived home-- a mere four hours after first setting out—I ate a large bowl of kibble and turkey (do turkeys count as birds of prey?), immersed my muzzle in a bowl of cool water and climbed onto Maria’s bed for a well deserved, drool and snore filled nap (at first Maria thought perhaps construction was being done next door). I am truly blessed. (Too bad the same can’t be said for my humans!)

Now it should come as no surprise that when I walk about on the Island of Manhattan, let alone attend animal fairs, etc., I attract quite a lot of attention—especially when I am in fine voice. And of course many of the people who clap eyes on me think that they too would like to share their lives with a magnificent Hound such as myself-- little realizing that sharing doesn’t come into it at all—we bloodhounds will take it all—your time, money, possessions, food and anything else we fancy. And even humans who have lived with other types of hounds experience shock and awe at how different it is to live with a bloodhound. There is nothing to really prepare one, so anyone even remotely contemplating life with a bloodhound should be introduced to the Kingdom of Houndistan.

Wimsey’s Kingdom of Houndistan

Government: Houndistan is an absolute monarchy ruled by an occasionally benevolent despot known as The Great Hound.

Character of the Great Hound: The Great Hound is a magnificent creature wholly devoted to the comfort, well being and boundless love of The Great Hound. He is unfailingly generous in the dispensing of Hound smell, sticky, spiky hairs and viscous drool amongst his minions.

Geography: Houndistan is a mobile kingdom and it exists wherever The Great Hound happens to be physically located, including but not limited to, your abode, your yard, your neighbor’s garbage bins and all surrounding parks and streets. Pedestrians who are unfortunate enough to get caught in the path of a line of scent that the Great Hound is following will be summarily bowled over. The Great Hound brooks no interference when he is following a line of scent and his human attendants must be prepared to alternately run fast to keep up with him or stand patiently for many minutes while the Great Nose investigates a particularly compelling scent.

Furniture: All furniture belongs to the Great Hound but he does not always shove you off of it—sometimes he prefers you to sit or lie on it so he can sit or lie on you-- and have you stroke him and arrange his wrinkles while he decorates your apparel with drool.

Food: All food belongs to The Great Hound. Great Hounds come in two varieties—the Voracious Great Hound who will lustily consume all edibles (“edibles” being extremely loosely defined) especially those that you are in the process of preparing or eating yourself and the Finicky Great Hound, who reserves the right to stick his nose and occasionally a bit of tongue, into all comestibles only to turn away sadly, finding them wanting in appeal. The Finicky Great Hound prefers to choose from among a wide range of freshly prepared food items offered to him for his daily delectation. One Great Hound bankrupts the Royal exchequer by sheer volume whilst the other achieves the same result by his devotion the highest standards of quality.

Recreation: Great Hounds are active in mind and body and require constant stimulation and entertainment. Although multi-hour hikes and walks dragging humans at the end of long leashes are preferred, Great Hounds also enjoy the presentation of tribute in the form of multiple rawhides, bully sticks and plush toys in a profusion of appealing shapes and sizes that can be chewed, ripped and shredded by the Royal Mouth. When these are unavailable Great Hounds enjoy a variety of sports including the eating of beds and couches and the digging of holes in the walls.

Personal Possessions: All things belong to the Great Hound. The royal treasury includes (but is not limited to) such items as: sheets, towels, couches and chairs (and especially their cushions, upholstery and legs), tables, pillows, duvets and blankets, all items of clothing (especially the contents of the laundry bin), gloves, boots, shoes of any description, bedroom slippers, all electronic equipment, (convenient mouth-sized items are especially pleasing to the Great Hound), toys, games, cards, newspapers, books, all desk and office items, garbage of every description (The Great Hound is a firm believer in recycling), the entire contents of the refrigerator along with everything else in the kitchen and all toiletry and bathroom items including the toilet bowl fountain. In short if it exists, it’s his.

Houndistan is a wonderful place to live—if you’re a Hound! (Now I am sure many people are thinking that this can’t be true “If they’re so bad why would people have them?” In fact, a bloodhound’s humans ask themselves this same question. Every day).

Now Monday is Columbus Day and every year I contemplate those brave explorers who risked their lives to obtain the treasures of the East and instead found the wilderness of the West. But it is a little known fact that Columbus actually had 4 ships—the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria and the Sabueso Grande:

Columbus: So we sail tomorrow to find the treasures of the East.

Captain Wimsey: Now let me get this straight. We are sailing West, but want to go East?

Columbus: Yes. If you sail East you just run into Africa. So why not give sailing West a shot? Seems like a better idea than North or South.

Captain Wimsey: But what happens if the earth is flat?

Columbus; Then we’ll fall off and end up who knows where.

Captain Wimsey: I see. And what do you hope to find in the East?

Columbus: Gold.

Captain Wimsey: Is gold edible?

Columbus: No.

Captain Wimsey: What else can we find?

Columbus: Gems.
Captain Wimsey: Are those edible?

Columbus: No. But we could find some rich textiles—you might enjoy those.

Captain Wimsey: What else?

Columbus: Well spices of course.

Captain Wimsey: Can I eat those?

Columbus: Well I wouldn’t recommend it.

Captain Wimsey: I hear the Costa del Sol is nice this time of year.

And so Columbus was forced to sail with only three ships. But Captain Wimsey’s life was not without achievement—he and his men did discover an excellent paella shack in Malaga.

Well now normally it would be time for our Great Moments in American History visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art, but I have to leave off early today as I am due over at Elizabeth’s for a delicious cooked dinner (I hear roast chicken. yams, scrambled eggs and kibble are the plat du jour this evening). I have once again gotten a reprieve on my bath night since Maria is going out, but Elizabeth still has the privilege of keeping me company this evening.

So until next time,

Wimsey, The Royal Raja of Houndistan


Edie and Gus said...

Greetings, Most-Favored Hound,
You have outdone yourself once again, as Edie laughed so hard she cried while reading of your latest houndly exploits! I can only imagine the Bishop's great dismay upon looking down and realizing he was the recipient of your most thoughtful gift! Edie laughed hysterically, recalling the story Maria shared while walking with her in Central Park, about undiscovered drool and a subway ride...
But most importantly, the question that Alyssa & Amanda are begging me to ask---"WHAT'S UP WITH THE DONKEY???"

Keep spreadin' the drool (I mean love).

Gus, Snowbound Hound of Alaska

Unknown said...

Was that a PETTING ZOO? Or various odd animals arrived for a blessing? Oh my, Booker would have bayed relentlessly and had to be dragged away for some quiet time. Your adventures are always wonderful. One day we will visit NYC and watch at every corner expecting to run into Your Houndliness!

Bentley said...

Yet again, a wonderfully entertaining recap of your week! My humans were laughing pretty loud - not close to the volume of a good bay, of course, but still, pretty loud.

Have a good week, Wimsey the benevolent hound! Looking forward to your next adventures.

Biggie-Z said...

Wow, you had a fun-filled weekend! I did too - my humans had 8 adults and 5 little ones over to our place to play. They brought all sorts of toys and smells like diapers and stuff.

One of our friends brought some Beard Papa cream puffs and I managed to sneak a little lick and taste while Momma was petting a baby with her other hand. All in all, I was practicing my houndly behavior (no baying, though).

Bernie said...

Wow, Wimsey, Houndistan sounds like quite the happening place. You're so lucky--when I was take to be blessed, there were no farm animals or anything--just dogs and a few cats and rabbits. I definitely drooled on the priest... He didn't notice because he was excited to be blessing such a large hound. I don't know what I'd do with a donkey--Bernie saw a horse once and barked like crazy. He wanted to tree it but it didn't quite work out. Biggie, the cream puffs sound heavenly. I'm sure they're as yummy as the sour cherry cake I swiped off the counter last summer...

Unknown said...

How cool to get a blessing... I hope you have a wonderful year.