Friday, January 9, 2009

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 101
January 9, 2009

Hello everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the frosty weather continues pretty much unabated. Now I enjoy this excellent frisky-making weather but my delicate human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are starting to wish for a little more global warming, especially as the wind has been howling. The only thing that should be howling is me, although technically I bay (I actually do get quite annoyed when people refer to my beautiful melodious baying as howling)--something I have been doing quite a lot of lately. Especially last Sunday when we dropped by Petco for some more food (amazing how fast those 30lb bags seem to disappear—perhaps the winter weather is giving me a hollow tail) and as you can see below I did a little shopping myself. Unfortunately I was unable to give free rein to the process as a consequence of being forced to wear the heinous Gentle Leader. My humans seem to think that I might vandalize Petco. I can’t imagine why. Anyway, I was allowed to select something on account of it just being a day when I was looking exceptionally cute (I should have a present every day by that criteria) so I selected this fantastic duck. Now this duck, it spoke to me. And I spoke to it. All the way down Broadway I bayed furiously at it (my range on Sunday was noted by an admiring pedestrian as being a true basso profondo, which is a tad lower than my usual bass baritone-- but my non-opera savvy humans generally just refer to my lower ranges as my basso peevo) to come out and play, until finally it did!

And of course I have to have this duck with me at all times so it’s been all “Do you think the duck is Wimsey’s familiar?” I sleep with it, I carry it about, and it keeps me company whilst I root through my kibble for the leftovers that Elizabeth so thoughtfully provides. Now although all this might be charming to some, it is proving rather inconvenient to Maria as it is her policy to ignore and avoid me when I am messing about with a valuable object—(like a duck)—under the theory that this will discourage any houndly tendency towards fear guarding. But I must say that I am having quite a lot of fun with this concept as every time she wants to do something to me that I am not prepared to have done—say like trying to put on my walking equipment when I am more in the mood for bed lounging—I brandish the duck! And once I even put the duck on the path to the bathroom to stop her from sneaking in there to get away from me—isn’t that the purpose of bathrooms? Perhaps if I put it the duck front of the refrigerator I can sell it as a new diet aid.

Anyway now Maria has been wailing into her cell phone every night to Elizabeth “We’ll be late again this evening, Wimsey’s got the duck!” And I have been trying to keep Maria off of the bed by placing the duck on it—she has the couch and the floor to sleep on after all and a queen sized bed is really only just big enough for a giant Hound—but this has resulted in the luring of me with Yummy Chummies whilst some surreptitious duck re-positioning occurs. Personally I think Maria might be a vampire in disguise and the duck is her stand-in for the silver cross and clove of garlic. So now every evening this week, in addition to giving Elizabeth the detailed and ever fascinating daily poop report in which the number, size, texture and location are gone into at great length, she also gives the daily duck report, exhaustively detailing all the ways in which the duck has inconvenienced her. She even used a word that rhymes with duck. But I do love my duck—I haven’t even begun to shred it yet. And as I said it speaks to me:

Things my stuffed duck tells me as opposed to things my human tells me:

You are unbelievably handsome.
Human: You are unbelievably bratty.

Duck: I love it when you lay on top of me.
Human: Wimsey if you don’t get off me I’m calling the police.

Duck: I love it when you wipe your wet wrinkled muzzle all over my body.
Human: Wimsey I have an umbrella and I am not afraid to open it.

Is it any wonder that I love my duck. It looks on me with great approbation when I stick my nose into Maria’s food and it takes up much less room in bed than she does. And of course, it has become a wonderful training tool to modify my human’s behavior. I think I too should have a TV training show:

The Wimsey Show

Wimsey Millan: I am Wimsey Millan. How can I help you?

Hound client: My human hogs the couch.

Wimsey Millan: Shocking. And does she ever push you off of it and guard it?

Hound client: Yes, especially when she is snacking on things that I will steal.

Wimsey Millan: This is a red zone case. Did you try shoving her off?

Hound client: Yes, but she has this annoying habit of climbing back on again.

Wimsey Millan: Are you sure you are shoving her off in a calm assertive way and not in an angry and annoyed way? Humans can read your energy, so when shoving it is very important not to display any animosity. You must shove calmly. It's your couch--you must claim it.

Hound client: Yes. I very firmly plant my huge paws in the small of her back and shove in a decidedly calm manner—I don’t even engage in any nipping.

Wimsey Millan: Well are you baying at her? You know humans don’t really understand our language so it is better to use your body and remain calmly quiet.

Hound client: Well perhaps I am baying a bit.

Wimsey Millan: Also you could poke her in the neck and snort at her when she tries to get back up. But let’s see what my rival TV trainer recommends.

Wimsey Stilwell: Hello. I am Wimsey Stilwell and as a client you are an idiot by definition and are very lucky that I am here to help you.

Hound client: I’ve never seen a Hound dressed entirely in black leather before. Is there a point to it?

Wimsey Stilwell: Well apart from intimidating people and making me look even more evil, it keeps me from having any contact with saliva, drool, hair, poop, pee or any other canine secretion. But of course I love dogs. Anyway, I am here to help and I will succeed unlike that inhumane beast with the higher ratings, Wimsey Millan. First there will be no shoving. Every time your human hogs the couch I want you to steal a delicious treat—like say that evening’s dinner—and place it on the floor just out of reach of the couch. When your human gets up to try to salvage the meal, stretch across the couch, blocking access and thump your tail furiously and look as cute as possible.

Hound client: But....

Wimsey Stiwell: Be quiet. You are an idiot. I am the trainer. Now, as I was saying-when your human approaches give her a lick (although I personally think it’s disgusting that humans like their canines to be affectionate). This will positively reinforce the staying off the couch behavior. And you must be consistent—every time your human chooses to sit somewhere else, beam at them appreciatively and thump your tail. Humans have a natural instinct to please their Hounds and I think that even though you are a clueless idiot you will find that there will be no more couch hogging. OK, now time for a nice hot decontaminating shower,

Well some people might say that I am spoiled, but of course that is ridiculous—it is impossible to spoil a Hound—our sense of entitlement is too great. Nothing you give us is really ever enough. We deserve so much more! But in any case I did start to feel a bit sorry for Maria and yesterday actually presented her with the duck to try and help her overcome her aversion to it. And of course like all males I am a bit fickle and already have my eye on an alluring hedgehog that was calling to me from the next aisle.

But all things considered it’s been a good week—I got to play with that model canine Bruno the Rottweiler again—he likes to lick the drool from my muzzle which is gratifying to my humans as it means there is less of it to end up on them. And I did make a new friend on Sunday—her name is Brooke and isn’t she a beauty. Below are some pictures of us playing.

Well it is once again time to toddle off to view the collection at The Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. Today we revisit La Belle France, the ancestral home of the St. Hubert Hounds (please, no howling from Belgium—regrettably Belgium did not exist at the time of the Crusades when French knights brought my ancestors to the monks of St. Hubert in the Ardennes. Given the political system at the time, claiming French origin is the best I can do; besides it accounts for my cultivated nature as evidenced by my appreciation for fine food and femmes). Anyway, we are looking today at Young Lady in 1866 (Edouard Manet, 1866 Metropolitan Museum, New York). Now many people think that Manet painted this picture because his buddy Courbet had a success in the Salon of 1866 with Woman with a Parrot. Of course in Courbet’s painting the woman with the parrot was naked and lying suggestively on her back-- which may have had something to do with its success. Anyway, hopping on the parrot train, Manet painted his (fully) clothed friend and model Victorine Meurent with her parrot confidant. Victorine, by the way was no stranger to the unclothed and the erotic—although she looks starchy here she was the model for Manet’s quintessential odalisque, Olympia. But anyway, this parrot appears to be looking at something quite fixedly which is very puzzling. But when we insert a large, luminescent Hound, the object of his gaze becomes clear! Who would not gaze with such intensity at so large and magnificent a Hound, especially if the parrot suspects that at any moment the Hound might turn his attention from thinking about eating what is in the woman’s hand to thinking about eating him! Well, the parrot clearly lacks the allure of the duck, but it gives us Wimsey and a Young Lady in 1866.

Well that is all for this week. Time to watch the ladies bundle up for a windy walk. Perhaps I will take my duck along tonight.

Until next time,

Wimsey the quack Hound


Dughallmor Beagles said...

Another stellar entry Wimsey...and lovely of you to share your internet prescence with some friends, very noble of you! Brooke looks like a lovely young lady...we have a friend who looks alot like her, she's called Talullah.
We hope the behaviour modification of your humans is coming along... after all, it's jolly decent of you to share your apartment with them! Good luck with the hedgehog!
Slobbers, large friend xx

Unknown said...

That is so cool that you now have a duck! And boy do we understand duck-guarding ... here is what H-Mom did with Booker (the dear departed ...) one day, she got fed up with the toy-aggression. So she went out and bought LOTS of toys. Probably about 15 toys. All equally wonderful! And she just kept giving them to Booker, one after the other, everytimehe growled possessively. It was funny! It worked! He was so confused that he went into overload and just stopped guarding! So ... suggest to your humans that they invest in a CASE of ducks and do some redecorating of your digs! Do not let them know that this idea came from us. H-Mom is shaking her head at the thought of 24 ducks laying around the living room ...

Biggie-Z said...

HAHAHA that's how I am with my Orvis chicken. My big one has been out of commission for a while due to a broken wing (I wonder how that happened). I also squeak it to talk to my humans.

Your points on human training are good ones. I will have to put them to use since they are starting to misbehave by being away from home a lot.

Happy snow!

Edie and Gus said...

Wimsey, you are always full of surprises--duck guarding, now that's a new one!! I wonder if you will guard a hedgehog as vigorously? You know, Edie used to have a hedgehog as a pet. Sometimes she threatens to get another to put me in my place. Hmmm. That would be very interesting.

I have been corresponding with Bentley and Marmalade in recent months, and Edie & I have finally made an attempt at our own blog. We have made 2 entries so far, and they include videos of Dimond, Molly and of course, ME! You should check it out!

Are you wearing your booties lately? Edie is still laughing about the pairs of booties Elizabeth got you.

We are looking forward to warmer weather soon. I know I am extremely tired of 45 below zero and colder, as it has been since Christmas. It may warm up later this week. I am also sick and tired of booties, and so is Edie!

Stay warm in windy NYC!

Frosty (Boy is it Cold Up Here) Gus, Bloodhound of Alaska

Life With Dogs said...

At least you know who your friends are - keep your duck close!

Bernie said...

Your duck is very cute. I'm partial to hedgehogs myself, and Bernie loves his squeaky egg. I've been "difficult" in the mornings too... don't want to go out into the cold even with my coat on. I don't do booties, though. Not my style. Although I did chew up Mom's cat slippers the other day. What's a hound guardian doing with CAT slippers??? Treason, I say.

Bentley said...

Wimsey, love your closeup. That first picture is fantastic.

Hmm, Beau's got a hedgehog, but I don't get to play with it. I might have to see what I can do about that! OH, don't worry though, I've got plenty of toys!

Oh, your new pal Brooke is a cutie!

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

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Anonymous said...

Your Houndship,

If your vassals take up Madison's suggestion and shower you with toys next holiday season, I expect to hear you singing (in your own inimitable way):

"On the first day of Christmas my humans gave to me..."