Friday, November 21, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 94
November 21, 2008

Hello Everyone! It’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the newly wintry Upper West Side of Manhattan. In contrast to last week’s spring-like weather it has now gotten quite nippy which means yours truly is quite zippy, much to the painful chagrin of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth. And the weather has sent them scurrying for their winter gear (Elizabeth is once again waddling down the street like a smelly, drool spattered Michelin man) and an order has been placed for anti-salt spray for my delicate paws. Now winter salt is the bane of every urban canine’s existence and litigation-fearing New York property owners wield the salt spreader at the first sight of a gray cloud, oblivious to the havoc this wreaks on the dog population. Personally I am looking forward to having my paws sprayed as this is just the type of activity that so easily lends itself to the spirited wrestling matches of which I am inordinately fond. Of course my humans are predicting that the paw spray will take its place among the three unused pairs of high traction snow boots Elizabeth purchased last year and the new long underwear that Maria purchased this year, as it is a well known fact that their cold weather preparedness invariably leads to a balmy winter.

And there is still talk about buying me a coat (assuming that one can be found capable of fitting a Hound of my majestic proportions), Elizabeth being very much in favor of the purchase while Maria remains skeptical. This may have something to do with the fact that she has been delegated the task of measuring me (“Let me get this straight. You want me to measure Wimsey. Alone.”). From this you may correctly surmise that being measured ranks second only to ear cleaning in the Wimsey pantheon of heinous human activities. (I don’t count nail clipping as the obvious impossibility of the task means that it is never attempted). And every time Elizabeth points out how cute I would look in a coat Maria points out how cute I would look shredding the coat.

The question of keeping me warm never enters into the discussion since nature has taken care of the problem quite nicely by dint of my large heat retaining size, the density of my coat—an attribute attested to by the copious amount of Wimsey hair with which I, porcupine-like, decorate my humans’ apartments—and then there are my many layers of heat generating skin folds. Of course there is also the fact that I charge around like a maniac when it gets cold. Very warming that is. Even my bulky humans work up a sweat (did you know you can hydroplane on moist leaves?) But it has become the fashion for all New York City dogs to sport elegant coats regardless of whether they need them or not—hence the parade of rugged sporting and working dogs in colorful winter apparel (including the fierce Rottweiler Elizabeth spotted on the east side last winter trundling grudgingly down the street in a pastel coat and matching booties). And of course failure to dress your dog elicits indignant stares and mutters about dog abuse from passing strangers—New Yorkers never being short of an opinion about the behavior of others nor shy about expressing it. Anyway, I am sure that if the projected Wimsey coat does materialize it will take its place alongside the snow boots, paw spray and long johns as the temperature will assuredly never fall below 40 degrees.

But all this talk of coats brings to mind the topic of last week’s post about the desirability of a bloodhound camo coat to increase the chances of successful squirrel hunting. In that brilliant, lightening fast way that my brain works when I am thinking about things that benefit me, I realized that a coat of autumn leaves would prevent the squirrels from becoming aware that they were being stalked by a giant, smelly, snorting Hound. So here is a picture of me in a prototype leaf coat. And here is me demonstrating the product in action. The only problem I foresee is the hoard of noisy, squirrel alerting humans that my appearance in such a coat would attract. And if the leaf coat is a success there is probably an excellent market for additional Wimsey Wear:

Wimsey’s Hound Coat Emporium

Hound salesman: Good afternoon Sir. Can I help Sir find anything today? We have a special on field coats.

Hound customer: Is it wool or synthetic?

Hound salesman: Neither. It’s actual field. It provides excellent camouflage for charging about the countryside terrorizing livestock.

Hound customer: I was looking for something less active.

Hound salesman: How about our napping coat. It’s lined with goose feathers to insure that Sir will always have a cushy surface upon which to nap in case he has been banned from the bed on account of having eaten it.

Hound customer: Does it come with a goose?

Hound salesman: Not currently but when Sir gets bored with the coat he can make quite an impressive mess shredding it—guaranteed to lend that distinguished fox in the hen house look to Sir’s abode.

Hound customer: How about a dinner jacket?

Hound salesman: One you eat or one you wear while eating?

Hound customer: To wear while I eat.

Hound salesman: Well we have an excellent one that is both water and kibble repellent and insures that the mess Sir makes goes on the floor and walls where it belongs and not on Sir. It also provides excellent coverage for those quiet moments when Sir tips over the garbage can, topples people’s beverages or raids the toilet.

Hound customer: And what other domestic garments do you have?

Hound salesman: Well we have a very fine morning coat. It’s embellished with a multitude of large, jangling bells guaranteed to startle a human out of the soundest sleep. Our deluxe model comes with an air horn that is activated when Sir jumps on the bed.

Hound customer: Do you have anything that is good for traveling?

Sound salesman: We have an excellent car coat. It comes with a GPS device capable of overriding the ones Sir’s humans’ use and comes pre-programmed with the locations of all pet stores, butcher shops and parks. It also has an anti-vet feature to insure that Sir’s humans will never be able find the vet’s office.

Hound customer: It all sounds very nice. But I think I’ll take this tail coat. It’s a classic.

Well there have also been some other exciting developments around here this week Now as you know I pride myself on adhering to the highest standards of Hound behavior—which coincidentally translates into the lowest standards of canine behavior. Nevertheless this behavior is very much admired by everyone (“Who’s walking who?” and “It’s so cute that he sits on you like that.” and ‘What a beautiful voice he has!”). And my efforts to scale new heights in appalling Hound behavior (did I ever tell you about the time I decided to take a walk on Elizabeth’s 5 inch window sills?) have not gone unnoticed (truth be told not much about me does go unnoticed). I have been contacted by Cesar Millan’s marketing people who would like me to review Cesar’s new DVD which is appropriately entitled Mastering Leadership. And no matter how much my humans might shriek and squeal at me I, like Cesar Millan, always maintain a calm and assertive demeanor (excepting those situations that involve squirrels or liver). Now I know that Cesar Millan says that humans should not yell at their dogs, but this has not deterred my humans at all:

Things Frequently Shouted At Me:

“Wimsey No!” (Yes!)

“Wimsey stop that!” (You and what army are going to make me?)

Wimsey go away!” (But I like it here)

“Wimsey get your nose out of there” (But my nose likes it there)

“Wimsey get off of me!” (Oh is that you under there?)

“Wimsey we’re not going that way” (126 lbs says we are going that way)

“Wimsey stop towing” (Stop lagging)
“Wimsey sit” (La la la la)

“Wimsey come” (Show me the liver)

“Wimsey that hurts” (Not me it doesn’t)

“Wimsey stop baying!” (I can’t hear you)

“Wimsey that doesn’t belong to you” (Don’t be an idiot-everything belongs to me)

So we are all going to sit down together with a pizza this week and watch the Cesar Millan DVD so I can write my review for the next post. After all, whose opinion on pack leadership should count more than that of a masterful Hound such as myself: “I encourage dogs. I train people. I am the Human Whisperer” (well not a whisperer exactly).

In any case it is time for this Wimsey Whisperer to pace on over to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art where we take a look at one of the world’s most admired paintings. Girl With A Pearl Earring (Johannes Vermeer, circa 1665, Maueritshuis, The Hague). Now this is a very mysterious painting, even for Vermeer who only painted forty paintings in his life. No one knows who the girl is (a long lost ancestor of Scarlett Johansson perhaps) or whether she is even real. There has been some speculation that she is just an idealized figure. And absent a background context, her exotic dress tells us nothing about where she is in time or location or who she is supposed to be or whom she is meant to represent. However, the beauty of her face, bathed in the off canvas light source so typical of Vermeer and the provocative nature of her direct gaze have never been in dispute. But see how much more beautiful and less mysterious the painting becomes with the addition of a magnificent Hound! Now her gaze says to us “Come look at my extraordinary Hound whose beauty is only matched by my own. Is there anything so wonderful to look at?” And in the way of baroque painting the Hound is adorned with a lustrous pearl (Hounds are after all pearls without price). Wimsey With a Pearl Earring.

Well that is all the news here for this week. I look forward to sharing my thoughts about Cesar Millan’s DVD next week. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving! And don’t forget to give thanks for your canine in the manner most appropriate to our species’ poultryphilic nature (we like yams also).

Until next time,

Wimsey, A Hound Master


Saint Lover said...

Nice camo suit Whimsy I can hardly see you in all those leaves :wink:

Bentley said...

Wimsey - I think your hound coat emporium sounds great - how about a trench coat for digging? And a duster for leaving the humans in your dust? or maybe a blazer for blazing new Central Park trails. Oh yes, so many wonderful style possibilities.

Looking forward to your DVD review - and I hope I can pick up a few hints about how to keep my humans in line. I've been hearing talk about heading back to obedience classes after the start of the new year - and at these classes, it's expected that the canine is supposed to do as the human says. *sigh* I'd love to add some new variety to my houndly behaviors.

with love, Madison said...

Wimsey, is that a drool BUBBLE coming out of your mouth? H-Mom actually kind of just a little bit misses Booker's slobber mouth. Madison gets a wet moustache but she doesn't drool at all. She actually has quite a tidy mouth, which is very un-houndlike.

Marmalade said...

Impressive drool, Wimsey--I have yet to perfect the bubble thing... Can't wait to read your review. Speaking of towing, the vet techs at the clinic where I spent the weekend got the full bloodhound experience when they took me out for walks. Despite just having had surgery, I dragged them down the hall and out the door.

Edie and Gus said...

Dear Master of Disguise,

Love the leaf camo coat! Just be careful that another dog doesn't pee on you...!!!

As far as winter coats go, you should think about acquiring a pack rather than a coat. It does provide some warmth and is waterproof for those wet Manhattan walks. (see my profile picture) I am quite fond of my pack, and Edie always makes sure I am carrying some weight- perhaps your own water bottles- it gives me a job to do and prohibits the amount of pulling that I usually do. Sometimes Edie threatens to load my pack up with concrete blocks when I am particularly energetic! Fastening the pack correctly is extremely important, for when bloodhounds shake, things can fly! (Edie found out the hard way)

I cannot wait to hear about the new Cesar Millan production. I am so glad that he has FINALLY realized that hounds have mastered leadership of humans, and has made a DVD on the subject. Let me know about any good tips you pick up and I will try them out on Edie.

Yours in the snow,

Gus, Alaskan Bloodhound

Princess, Tank and Isaac: The Newfs of Hazard said...

Drool is cool but bubbles?!?!

That's amazing!