Friday, November 28, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 95
November 28, 2008

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the turkey and tofu (we have a lot of vegetarians here) saturated Upper West Side of Manhattan. Hope you all had as good a Thanksgiving as I did—my human Maria took me over to her friend Elizabeth’s where a complete turkey dinner awaited my gustatory approval. And as usual I helped a bit with the cooking and with vetting (pardon the expression) the wine as you can see below. I also positioned myself in the most convenient spot in the kitchen.

And there was even a live turkey wandering around Central Park for me to inspect last Sunday. Now I was very keen to get to know this turkey better (I observed that turkeys move a lot slower than squirrels do) but I was unfortunately prevented (“Quick get Wimsey out of here before he jumps the fence!”). And we visited the pilgrim statue in Central Park which was given to the Park in 1885 by the New England Society to commemorate the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock on December 21, 1620. Perhaps if they had brought a few Hounds with them they would not have needed the help of the Indians in the food supply area; but then again we would not have Thanksgiving and I would not have gotten all this turkey, so perhaps it was a good thing after all. And the Hounds were unlikely to have been as generous as the Indians in sharing their food. In addition to the free range turkey, this Sunday’s park outing was once of those “awesome” days where virtually every passerby employed that word with regards to me. It made a much appreciated change from the more usual “he’s so cute.”

Anyway Elizabeth spent an entire day cooking for me and made a most astonishing discovery in her kitchen. Now first let me say that if New York apartments are tiny, the kitchens are even smaller (why waste precious space on a kitchen when your apartment is too small to eat food in anyway) and there are items jammed into Elizabeth’s cabinets that have not seen the light of day since the Clinton administration. Now as she was digging through these relics searching for the turkey roasting pan and rack that she bought several years ago specifically for the purpose of cooking me turkeys, guess what she discovered when she finally uncovered the pan! Kibble! Now granted my kibble distribution skills are legendary (“How did kibble get between the sheets and the mattress?”) but inserting kibble into a packed kitchen cabinet is impressive even for me. And I don’t even live in her apartment! My kibble is like Houdini only it gets into things instead of out. So it was all “Perhaps Wimsey’s kibble should be classified as an invasive species.” Anyway Elizabeth cooked a wonderful meal and as my humans thought about the things to give thanks for, I was (not surprisingly) at the top of their list, which although much appreciated, does make me wonder yet again about their intelligence. And while they discussed my many fine attributes, I took the opportunity to sprawl out for a postprandial snooze.

Things I Know That Maria And Elizabeth, Are Thankful For

They are thankful for the thoughtful way in which I keep them humble. It is hard for them to be self-important when at the back of their minds they know that they are routinely bested by a Hound.

They are thankful for all the opportunities for exercise, both intentional and not, that I provide. Also the fact that I have restricted our injuries to those which, however painful, don’t require visits to emergency room. At least not yet.

They are thankful for the abundant social opportunities that being with me affords them even though they are only permitted to bask in my reflected glory as no one really cares about them.

They are thankful for the fact that they are now on intimate terms with every peebable tree, shrub and bush available in Central Park’s lush 800 acres. I understand they are thinking about giving them names.

They are thankful for the fact that they do not yet need a tractor to move me when I want to go in one direction and they in another. It merely requires the combined efforts of both of them digging in and hauling.

They are thankful for my affectionate nature in spite of the fact that it often results in crush injuries and also that I permit them the (partial) use of my furniture.

They are thankful for my assertive nature which never leaves them in doubt as to what the Great Hound that I am requires for my comfort.

They are thankful for my robust health which means that my frequent vet visits are merely to take care of ailments which are of a non-critical yet somehow highly expensive nature.

They are thankful for my fine voice with which I entertain the Upper West Side.

They are thankful for the fact that I care enough about them to make sure that I am always with them via my scent, hair and drool which are their constant companions however far away from me they stray.

In short, they are just thankful for Me (a privilege to know, a nightmare to take care of). A pity I don’t feel the same way about them. But then I wouldn’t really be a proper Hound.


And speaking of proper Hounds, as you know I, Wimsey, have been contacted by Cesar Millan’s marketing people about reviewing his new DVD, Mastering Leadership (leadership being something I am definitely the master of). Now the DVD comes in a set of three so today I will review the first one called People Training for Dogs. Here is a video of me enjoying the DVD:

Now I think this is an excellent video. Cesar points out the difficulty people have because they live in the past (“Do you remember the time Wimsey ate all the chair cushions.”) or the future (“If we buy new chair cushions Wimsey will just eat them all”) rather than in the present (“Look at Wimsey eating all those chair cushions!). Now as a Hound I never ruminate about past transgressions nor do I (necessarily) plot future ones. I merely seize the moment along with the dirty underwear. Cesar counsels humans to do likewise.

Also according to Cesar my humans should be viewed as animal, species, breed and personality which means that they have needs, first as animals (food and water) then as homo sapiens, (a reason to live: Hounds) then as breed—(New Yorkers: black clothing and Chinese takeout) and then as personalities (Maria and Elizabeth, the crazy women who love that giant smelly Hound). And of course Cesar stresses the need for animals to work for their food, so I make sure to keep my humans hard at work preventing my nose from inserting itself into their food (also the layout of Elizabeth’s apartment is particularly conducive to chase games). Now in general I am a picky eater except where anything humans are eating is concerned which makes their consuming nourishment in my presence quite a vigorous exercise.

And speaking of exercise Cesar believes that the road to fulfillment lies in exercise, discipline and affection by which standards my humans must be extraordinarily fulfilled people. On the exercise front I have them out in all weathers a minimum of four times a day for hours and hours (and hours) of towing pleasure. As a Hound I am the ultimate cross trainer—cardio in running to keep up with me when I am on a scent (which is pretty much always) and I provide an upper body and core workout as they try to periodically slow me down. And of course it takes balance skills to stay upright if you are at the other end of my leash. With respect to discipline I am pretty lucky as my humans show minimal aggression, even when I destroy whatever prized possessions they have left; they tend either to laugh or to cry. And they don’t have any nasty habits like resource guarding which would require firm action on my part. And as for affection, this I dole out at intervals when I am in the mood. But of course affection from a giant Hound is a mixed blessing—I can even make licking them painful as I put my entire weight behind my tongue—I call this power licking-- forcing the human neck backwards to its fullest extent (think Hound whiplash)—which means my humans are not exactly lamenting the fact that it’s been hours since I last pinned them against the couch with my weight or crushed their thigh bones with my tush. And of course the video confirms my position as pack leader which Cesar defines as a dog that jumps on you, walks through the door first, walks ahead of you, wakes you up when you are sleeping and barks at you (although technically I bay). He left out the part about the dog that drags you down five flights of stairs, tows you through the park, and moves the mattress out from under you while you are sleeping. But these are very slight omissions.

Finally Cesar discusses his favorite topic—the importance of rules, boundaries and limitations, with which I heartily agree.

Wimsey’s Rules, Boundaries and Limitations

No vacations can be taken without me.

Social contacts not involving me must be kept to a minimum.

All food items are subject to vigorous nasal interrogation. Items of interest must be shared.

All visitors must be thoroughly nose wanded as a matter of homeland security and having been found harmless must proceed to the Tribute Couch to pay tribute to me.

All bags,(both those belonging to my humans and those belonging to perfect strangers on the street) are subject to a thorough inspection of their contents by my wet and inquisitive nose.

Schedules must be adjusted to accommodate my Morning Walk, Midday Walk, Early Evening Walk and Bedtime Walk. Resulting free time can be spent scratching me, wrestling with me, playing with me, sitting with (under) me or just admiring me.

In the event I do something you want (like sitting for those interminable, walk interrupting photographs) rich rewards must ensue.

If I want it, I must have it.

In short all activities must involve me or be undertaken for my express benefit.

And of course there are other good things in the video too, like Cesar’s dog impersonations and his recognition of The Nose as a magnificent organ. But mainly he confirms my belief that it is my calm assertive demeanor, even in the face of all the ladies’ excited nuttiness (“Run! Wimsey is about to shake his head!” or “Wimsey give me back that remote!” or “Wimsey if you don’t stop chewing on the cookbook I can’t make the stuffing!”) that is the source of my authority. The fact that I am terminally cute has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Anyway, I will be reviewing the second DVD next week. In the meantime I have an extra set to give away to some badly behaved canine so if you are interested, pop Elizabeth an email at
elizabeth@wordsofwimsey.com and share some naughty antic with her and she will post the winning entry in the December 12th post and send you the set. A little Christmas gift from me and my buddy Cesar. And PS: the box makes a fine chew.

Well it appears that we don’t have time this week for a visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art, but feel free to review the entire collection at
http://wimseyhoundart.blogspot.com

Now it’s time for me to tuck into all the leftover turkey that has fallen to me to valiantly dispose of. But I do wonder what the one in Central Park tastes like….

Until next time,

Wimsey, the calm and assertive Thanksgiving Hound





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









Friday, November 14, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 93
November 14, 2008

Hello everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, the foremost stinky bloodhound on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. But lately I have become known as Wimsey the Destroyer (of body parts) due to my excellent effects on my human Maria’s hamstring and on her friend Elizabeth’s shoulder. But this is all part of the fun of interacting with a lively bloodhound such as myself. And it could always be a lot worse as I have not yet succeeded in breaking any actual bones, although I never cease to try—slippery leaves being my current weapon of choice. And speaking of leaves, I have lots of autumnal pictures to show you this week—I think the leaves camouflage me rather well, which makes me think that perhaps I should stalk squirrels wearing a leaf coat—I am sure they would never notice the approach of a 126 pound thundering and snorting pile of leaves. Now all I need is a coat of white enamel to cloak my kitchen activities.

But anyway, in spite of the autumnal appearance of the pictures we are having lots of warm and rainy weather which is causing some degree of consternation to my humans as the conditions are significantly odor enhancing and bath postponing, which is fine with me. But this has still been a most unsatisfactory week in spite of the lack of bath related activities. Elizabeth was absent without leave (of course I would never grant her leave so this is the only way she can escape my ministrations in any case) attending a conference. Now I had high hopes for this conference because Bill Clinton was speaking and as he is from Arkansas (a rather houndish state) I was positive that Hounds would figure prominently in his speech. Alas he did not specifically mention Hounds but his remarks nonetheless resonated with Elizabeth:

Bill Clinton lamented the fact that no one really pays much attention what an ex president has to say. (Elizabeth laments the fact that I don’t pay any attention to what she has to say).

Bill Clinton lamented the fact that he couldn’t control the press who often didn’t give him credit for his achievements (Elizabeth laments the fact that she can’t control me and I never give her credit for any achievements that don’t involve the cooking of liver).

Bill Clinton lamented the fact that he has no power to implement policies that would lead to world peace, economic prosperity, energy independence and environmental stability.
(Elizabeth laments the fact that she has no power to implement policies that would lead to a hair free apartment, fragrance free clothing, unshredded newspapers and ambulatory stability).

Bill Clinton believes that an ex-President has an obligation to serve a sitting president in any way possible (Elizabeth believes she has an obligation to serve a sitting (or standing) Wimsey in any way possible).

So I think that Elizabeth really did feel a sense of kinship with Bill Clinton and she commented that he is almost as charismatic as I am, so he must really be quite a charming fellow. And as we both have an eye for the ladies, perhaps he should be encouraged to acquire a bloodhound. Elizabeth noted that he seemed rather tired and subdued---something that an invigorating life with a loud, smelly, entertaining and rambunctious bloodhound would soon fix (and for those who don’t like Hillary’s pantsuits, a bloodhound would solve that problem too!)

But President Clinton also spoke about the fiscal crisis which has been putting a crimp in the customary √©lan with which we New Yorkers usually conduct our affairs. But the crisis would not have happened if people had organized their finances more along the principles of Hound Finance—we are categorically opposed to borrowing of any kind (stealing is more efficient and seldom entails interest payments, although stealing things of interest to humans is especially enjoyable) and of course we never lend (possession being ten tenths of the Law of Hounds). However, I have been boning up on finance so as to stay on top of the situation (Hounds like to be on top of things, usually laps, beds and places we are not supposed to be on top of).

Glossary of Hound Finance (as compiled by the Hound Street Journal)

Tax: This is what Hounds do to humans, particularly their patience which is always heavily taxed under Houndly administration. Hounds also levy a variety of taxes on other human activities:

Food tax: 50-100% of all food consumed by humans automatically becomes property of the Hound.

Property tax: Hounds collect this tax at random and surprising intervals, generally at a rate of 20-100% depending on how quick the homeowner is to catch the Hound in the act of levying it.

Social Security tax: This tax is paid in the form of toys, food and exercise in order to reduce the risk of a social Hound destroying the security of your property, possessions and physical body.

Stocks: These are investments in items of interest to your Hound that prevent him from disrupting too many of your activities or accidentally sending you to the hospital. Rawhide and bully stick stocks are particularly valuable and hold their value well.

Convertible securities: These are stocks of meat, fish and game that are highly desirable but are subject to a rapid conversion that substantially erodes their value.

Mark to the Market: This is how you and your Hound go food shopping.

Hound Futures: Stocks are generally traded on the Hound Futures Exchange, a place where you exchange your current stock for a bit of future peace that lasts as long as the Hound holds the investment. Longer term investments, such as large bully sticks generally outperform shorter term investments such as stuffed toys or couch cushions.

Bonds: These are permanent investment vehicles that guarantee the long term stability and dominance of your Hound.

Interest Rates: These rates determine how much of your life you can buy back with your investments. Investment that offer a high rate of interest to your Hound buy increased amounts of time to pursue activities that do not involve your Hound. Interest rates are volatile however, and can fluctuate wildly depending upon the mood of your Hound.

Treasury Bills:
These are the bills that you incur stocking up on stuff to amuse your Hound. A full treasury can enhance domestic tranquility.

Bailouts: This is a mechanism whereby you can use your Hound to avoid undesirable social obligations (“Yes I’d love to come to your Dress Like a Banana Party but I can’t possibly leave my Hound.”)

Mortgages: You trade your money and social life in exchange for the approval and well being of your Hound. Hound mortgages on never paid off.

Collateralized Debt Obligations: These are derivatives invented by foolish humans who did not consult their Hounds and tanked the economy.


Anyway, I am judiciously encouraging my humans to conserve their cash during this time of austerity—no costly restaurant meals (a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and a me.--I’ll let you keep the jug of wine), vacations or movies but lots of free walks and play time with me. Perhaps the fiscal crisis isn’t such a bad thing.

Well it is once again time for a visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art and today we go back in time and visit with a fellow who clearly had no knowledge of fiscal troubles: Charles I At the Hunt (Anthony Van Dyck, 1635 Musee du Louvre, Paris). Anthony Van Dyck the great Flemish painter became court painter to Charles I and painted forty portraits of him. Now although this is a very imposing painting it is not an official royal portrait. In it Van Dyck depicts the easy elegance of a gracious gentleman at the hunt. The genius of Van Dyck as a portraitist is that in spite of the casual pose of the sovereign the painter manages to portray him as commanding and regal nonetheless. From his shimmering doublet to his elegant boots and haughty expression, he is clearly the man in charge. But however beautiful, this painting has always seemed to me to be missing something. Shouldn’t the haughty and commanding Charles I be accompanied on the hunt by an equally haughty and commanding Hound? See how much the addition of a magnificent Hound adds to the meaning and beauty of the painting! Both gaze majestically out at their realm secure in the knowledge that their every wish is a their subject’s command—such a sense of ease, elegance and entitlement in both man and Hound. Charles I and Wimsey at the Hunt.

I hope my humans appreciate my efforts at financial education and it is now time for me to levy my favorite tax and command a block of their time for a wet walk so I can fully appreciate the heady bouquet of rotting leaves and fast moving rodents.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a taxing Hound


































































Friday, November 7, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 92
November 7, 2008

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from my Hound House on Manhattan’s glorious Upper West Side. And what an exciting week it’s been. First of course there was the election which was made more thrilling by the fact that the Obamas promised their daughters a puppy. Now this caused uniform cries of consternation from my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth along the lines of “Not a Hound!” and “Do you think we should send a letter to warn them—it could be a matter of national security, not to mention personal security—I am sure the Secret Service is no match for a Hound and how would it look for a young vigorous new president to appear smelly and bruised and sporting a shoulder sling. And the White House housekeeping staff would quit, and there would be Hound hair and teeth marks in all the food for the state dinners and the new elegant First Lady would have drool stains on her dresses or worse, be forced to dress like a farmer and the little girls would have their homework really eaten by the dog (along with all their after school snacks) and ceremonial occasions would be marred by the playing of Hail to the Chief followed by enthusiastic baying and treaties would go missing and pens to sign important bills would be all chewed up and foreign dignitaries would stop visiting and the congressional leadership would suggest off site meetings and the Chief of Staff would resign because his job had been usurped and in short order the administration would come grinding to a halt. But then, Hounds are so cute!”

And Presidential dogs, both real and potential, have been much in news this week as White House dog Barney, the feisty Scottish terrier nipped at a newsman which pretty much sums up how a lot of people in the public eye feel about the media. (Perhaps the Obamas should scratch terriers off their list as well). I of course never nip at the media—my views are that anyone intrepid enough to withstand the onslaught of flung drool and the clouds of stench with which I surround myself deserves to give me a scratch. And the odor with which I imbue them ensures that they will remember the event long after the mere nip of a terrier has passed into the dust bin of history. But I do admire Barney (and other terriers) for their commanding and self-assertive attitude. We Hounds share their goals, we just use other tactics to achieve them. Which makes me think that although most people think that President Bush is the President, Barney knows he’s really the commander in chief. Most canines are.

And speaking of presidents, this Sunday I visited Grant’s Tomb in upper Manhattan. I graciously allowed the New York City Marathon to take over Central Park on Sunday and so my humans and I all spent the afternoon in Riverside Park where the tomb is located. Now the concept of the marathon is one I always enjoy and try to emulate—marathon tows through the park being one of my specialties—but these runners do not appear to be trying to drag humans or follow scent or snack on squirrels. Nor do they appear to be fleeing bothersome Hounds either. Seems a bit pointless and although the marathon is considered an amazing feat of endurance I think living with a Hound qualifies as an even greater feat of endurance—the marathon will eventually end after a few hours but not so the exhausting will of a Hound!

And lest my humans think that marathon walks in Riverside Park and educational visits to national monuments would make me less bothersome, I got another opportunity to prove them wrong during another episode of Wimsey Mail Merge as Elizabeth sent out another mailing about her new company. I am quite enjoying these forays into the business world, especially the squeals of delight that Maria emits when she finds that the keyboard upon which she has been typing has been replaced by my head. And there will apparently soon be another mailing-- holiday cards this time-- and there is some talk of including a picture of all of the company staff with our respective titles. Although I am to be identified as Wimsey, Office Dog I believe that I am much more of an Office Hound:

An office dog provides companionship. An office hound demands companionship.

An office dog naps peacefully under the desk. An office Hound peacefully chews up the desk.

An office dog provides a diversion. An office Hound creates a diversion.

An office dog stays away from the paper shredder. An office Hound is the paper shredder.

An office dog makes people smile. An office Hound makes people scream.

An office dog politely puts his head in your lap. An office Hound politely puts himself in your lap.

An office dog listens to telephone calls. An office Hound participates in telephone calls

An office dog waits patiently for a break. An office Hound impatiently creates a break. Of bones.

And since we have been having warm, wet weather here I am now The Even Smellier Office Assistant which just adds to the general corporate ambience. But this week was also St. Hubert’s Day which was cause for much celebrating and good feelings chez moi. The monks of St. Hubert perfected the bloodhound (see post # 8) and as a consequence I am known in various parts of Europe as a St. Hubert dog. Now St. Hubert was the patron saint of hunters:

Things Bloodhounds Hunt:

►Juicy animals the chasing of which cause a) dislocations of the human shoulder, b) fences to be dug under, acquire holes or to be otherwise rendered ineffective or c) the screaming of such useless imprecations as “no” “come” “leave it” “stop” and “I’m calling Cesar Millan.”

►The most inconvenient spot in the house in which to nap. These include the middle of the kitchen during dinner hour, the couch during TV hour, your favorite chair during reading hour, your bed during bedtime hour and your lap at any hour.

►The contents of the refrigerator—a wily and elusive but ultimately rewarding prey.

►The contents of the kitchen counter—an easier prey than the refrigerator but with a more limited selection

►The contents of the laundry basket.

►Things previously deemed inedible including (but not limited to): shoes, gloves, newspapers, towels, remote controls and other assorted hand held electronic devices, books (Maria’s cookbook collection was especially delicious), haltis, leashes and other instruments of Hound control, pens, pencils, the mail, table legs, money, the couch.

►Newer and better ways in which to humiliate you.

But St. Hubert’s Day did present a problem: The ladies couldn’t think of anything new and special to do for me that they don’t do every day. Just another one of the challenges of living with (catering to) a bloodhound. I however took matters into my own paws and have decided to get heavily into al fresco snacking during walks. So now in addition to dragging my humans over to all vertical surfaces for endless rounds of peeing, rolling in smelly leaves, baying at the red traffic lights that impede our progress, wheeling around suddenly causing my humans to fall over me, poking passing pedestrians in the butt, looking into people’s shopping bags and trying to jump on passing dogs, I now stop suddenly, stare fixedly at the treat pouch and give it a vigorous poke for emphasis until a cookie is popped into my mouth. Just another example of how I continually find new ways for my humans to be of service.

And this week I decided to institute a Great Withholding of the Poop. I apparently had not pooped in 36 hours (really, I think my humans have one of those clocks like the ones used for counting the national debt) causing no amount of consternation among the ladies. There were chants of “Poop Wimsey poop!” and I was escorted around extensively and showed all manner of suitable real estate “Oooh Wimsey look at that beautiful pile of leaves! They even make me want to poop!” and “Look at this cozy spot between the parked cars. Wouldn’t it be lovely to poop here” and “Look! It’s a fence! We know how much you like to poop against fences and make the poop fall out of reach on the other side.” But I remained unmoved. A good poop is like a fine wine--it cannot be rushed. It must be stored, developed and incubated until the time is right and the results can be savored. And when the long awaited mound finally appeared you would indeed have though my humans had opened up a bottle of Chateau Lafitte or had been ushered into the presence of some great work of art. And my efforts were loudly cheered “Hurray! Good Wimsey! It’s beautiful. We hope you exhibit at more frequent intervals!”

And speaking of great works of art, I have often considered myself the Picasso of Poop and for today’s visit to The Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art we look at an actual Picasso: Harlequin, (Pablo Picasso, 1901, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). This painting marks the beginning of Picasso’s blue period in which he used a blue palette to convey the sadness he felt upon learning of the suicide of a close friend. But this is a puzzling picture—the harlequin seems to be contemplating something. But what? See how much more sense it makes if the harlequin is contemplating the beauty of his magnificent blue Hound! Perhaps he is admiring the Hound’s glowing coat or his splendid intelligence. Or thinking about new things he can do to please his Hound. Or maybe he is just wondering when his Hound will finally poop.

Well that is all I have time for today. Finding new ways to disrupt office activities is an exhausting task and requires a restorative nap on the bed.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Chief Operating Hound