December 26, 2008
Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey wishing you a happy Boxing Day from Manhattan’s currently soggy Upper West Side. Fortunately my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth managed to keep any boxes out of my reach, (although I can’t say the same for the plastic water bottle that I dug out of the recyclables when the ladies were otherwise occupied). Now the term Boxing Day is supposed to have originated in jolly old England (where Elizabeth spent many a boring Boxing Day moping around with friends nursing hangovers and fruitlessly hunting for something to watch on telly in order to forestall the inevitable joys of playing board games and waiting for it not to be Boxing Day) where employers were said to give gifts to their household help and to the under privileged in general (Christmas boxes) on the day.
But of course for we Hounds every day is Boxing Day, especially yesterday when I tried to climb onto Maria’s lap whilst she was imbibing a cocktail and eating fancy cheese-- although it was not technically boxing since she was not fully able to use her hands-- but it was all “Quick! It’s Woman vs. Hound” and there was so much merriment that I actually had her pinned for a while. Laughter is always the friend of the Hound as it seems inimical to the effective execution of anti-Hound maneuvers. Anyway, I had a lovely Christmas bath (NYC has been such a slush fest this week that I was beginning to smell rather like a swamp), a fine cooked meal of mixed poultry and was finally awarded my giant Christmas candy cane rawhide. And we were also forced to watch Elizabeth’s favorite Christmas movie, Christmas in Connecticut, about a woman who writes a weekly magazine column (isn’t that the ancient version of a blog?) and has no domestic skills. Hmm…
But there is really nothing that puts one in the mood for Christmas so much as a week of slush filled towing, except that before the snow was slush it was ice, which made me feel quite reindeer-like as my traction challenged humans glided gracelessly and somewhat noisily behind my every tug of the leash. My photos this week are somewhat gloomy looking due to the overcast conditions, but I was able to get in a good romp nonetheless. And my humans discovered this stuff (yet another item of mine for them to carry!) called Paw Pro (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=13540) from Drs. Fosters and Smith to protect my dainty feet from the vicissitudes of the salt and ice with which New York City streets abound. Unlike musher’s wax, Paw Pro sprays on, which is frankly a much easier proposition than thinking about tinkering with my massive “messing resistant” paws. But there is still talk of trying to fit me with boots under the theory that as I am an idiosyncratic Hound I might actually like wearing them. I would stay tuned on that one.
And while I am on the topic of useful products, a few weeks ago I was sent a bowl to evaluate called the DogPause (www.dogpausebowl.com) that is designed to slow down fast feeding canines. Now as it happens I am a rather slow and methodical eater (very un-Hound like I know, but we bloodhounds are famous for either being voracious or finicky and not much in between—it’s more annoying that way) as I employ the pig nose style of eating. For those of you unfamiliar with the technique, the pig nose style of eating consists of me resting my prominent proboscis on the rim of the food bowl and delicately using my tongue to scoop up the contents of the bowl. It is a laborious and time consuming process—especially as my drool generally seems to promote the adhesion of the food to the bottom of the bowl. The pig nose method also requires the use of a feeding station (when I eat at Elizabeth’s she becomes the feeding station by dint of sitting on the floor and holding the bowl steady in her lap—otherwise I just push the unanchored bowl all over her kitchen making both a racket and even more of a mess-- just another one of the many wonderful habits that make me such a delightful houseguest and yet another reason that Elizabeth assiduously looks after the health of Maria). So I sent the bowl over to one of the kennel attendants at the animal shelter where Elizabeth volunteers—the woman adopted a dog whose blitzkrieg eating style was making her a candidate for both the Guinness Book of records and a roaring case of bloat. Well the bowl was a huge success (“When I first put down the kibble filled pause bowl Sheba looked at it strangely. Normally she begins to inhale the food before I even set the bowl down! She then began eating each compartment. It took her about four times as long to eat from this bowl than it did with her old bowl which makes me ecstatic! I really like how deep each compartment is because it creates obstacles in finding every last piece of kibble.”). So if you’ve got a chomper of a canine of anywhere from 15-150 lbs. you might want to give it a shot.
Now before we leave the subject of Christmas entirely, I just want to say that is has come to my attention that the well organized Newfoundland people established a nationwide secret Santa program this year and I have been viewing pictures of lively newfs ripping open treat and toy containing boxes and envelopes from around the country. I think a Secret Santa, Hound Edition would be an excellent idea, however I suspect that the presents would be somewhat different:
Gift Items For a Hound Secret Santa
It’s All in Your Head! Every Hound owner needs their head examined and this gift--sessions with the psychotherapist of your choice-- will make it all possible! Explore your deep seated need to be humiliated by your Hound and see how his sense of entitlement can leave you devoid of both dignity and possessions!
A luxurious Caribbean cruise! A deluxe two week cruise for two for you to give away to someone without Hounds. Enjoy your fill of vicarious sun and fun and drinks with umbrellas through the wonders of video and email.
A $5,000 gift certificate to LL Bean good for a wide selection of snow boots, rain boots, mud boots, slush boots and waterproof Hound jackets and coats of every weight and design. Included: a bonus “poop finder” baseball cap with an LED light for locating your Hound’s gifts on even the darkest nights.
Baggies Baggies Baggies! A year’s supply of super sized baggies for those larger than life moments in your Hound’s career. Strong yet supple these baggies are designed for maximum tactility and “hand feel” permitting the most accurate assessment of the state of your Hound’s bowels yet!
Merry Maids Gift Package: For the Hound lover whose friends and family refuse to visit for hygienic reasons. Merry Maids will help reduce the stench, drool and hair to levels experienced by ordinary dog owners. See how the other half lives!
Gardens of Delight: No moonscape is too great a challenge for these fellows. Holes, uprooted bushes, shredded flower beds, mounds of ossified Hound soil—they fix it all!
Furniture Madness! Has that special someone in your life eaten your furniture? Never fear—a visit to out warehouse will replace it all (electronics extra).
It’s raining orthopedists! A free year’s worth of visits to your local friendly orthopedic doctor—including one deluxe trip to the emergency room and one outpatient surgery—to help ease the pain of Hound ownership.
Well, I think a Hound secret Santa would be very much appreciated. Anyway, this week my humans made a visit to the Museum of Natural History, ostensibly to see the horse exhibit which is to close soon, but really to ogle the fascinating creatures in the Hall of Dinosaurs (I would love to be that big!). But there is a little visited section of the museum that they missed:
The Hall of Hounds
Houndus filchus minimus: An extremely small primordial Hound: these were Hounds so small that they were able to steal and destroy things early man didn’t even know he owned. This probably contributed to their longevity.
Houndus larcenus minor: A primordial small Hound: these Hounds were able to steal and destroy items people knew they had but often justified the loss of because the items were so small (“He’s only eaten all of my shoelaces—I am sure I can just glue my shoes on my feet. And after all, he is very cute”). When used for hunting these Hounds were known for finding prey so small and unappetizing-- newts, rats and centipedes for instance-- that no one else wanted to eat them. Their cuteness was sometimes marred by the resultant obesity.
Houndus loudus: A primordial medium sized Hound: these were robust Hounds that could strip and eat a hut in record time. Consequently early man was forced to give them something else to do, like hunting in loud noisy packs. Then it was discovered that fellow early men would pay large sums of meat to follow along and be entertained by watching the loud noisy packs try to hunt. Pack owners prospered and ended up owning most of England as a consequence.
Houndus wimseii: The stellar exhibit in the Hall of Hounds, Houndus wimseii is the forerunner of the modern large Hound. He was a magnificent looking creature-- as much prized for his looks as he was for his abilities—his destructive powers were the stuff of legend—whole villages fell to the ravages of these beasts, but fortunately no one seemed to mind much because they were of unsurpassed cuteness. Houndus wimseii was known to be relentless in the pursuit of the things it wanted—largely things already owned by someone else—but his interests did occasionally include the tracking of meaty animals, wherein at the conclusion of the chase he would graciously allow the attendant humans to actually do the messy work of food preparation for him. Houndus wimseii liked to be served, a characteristic he has passed down to his modern descendants.
And speaking of museums, it is time once again time for our visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. Today in honor of my fine Christmas meal we are going to view the work of a rather obscure 18th century French painter (the 18th century being noted for its excellence in the production of obscure painters) Jean-Baptiste Oudry. Now French 18th century art is the century that brought us the gooey delights of the rococo and other types of sentimental art not usually admired here at the Wimsey Institute. However, Jean-Baptiste Oudry was the official court painter of the hunt! He spent his career raking in the francs by painting pictures of the stuff Louis XV killed—hardly the masterworks to excite the curatorial soul. But he did paint lots of (temporarily) live animals and among his oeuvres was this piece which seemed very appropriate to display: Ducks Resting in the Sunshine (Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1753, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). But it really makes no sense that these ducks were just hanging out (especially in France, home of duck a l’orange and hard hunting French monarchs) and the scene has a rather static quality to it. But see how the addition of a magnificent rampaging Hound who is about to catch his dinner adds to the drama and the dynamic quality of the painting! Ducks in the Sunshine About to Be Eaten By Wimsey. (I wonder if my humans would consider hiring a court painter to paint my dishes of kibble?)
Well until next time—hope everyone has a Happy New Year!
Wimsey the Christmas Gift
Friday, December 26, 2008
Posted by Wimsey at 8:46 PM