Entry # 100
January 2, 2009
Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey, the New Year’s Bloodhound, coming to you from the frigid confines of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. We’ve had quite an arctic blast here the last few days and it was so cold that it even forced my human Maria take extreme measures and borrow one of her friend Elizabeth’s ugly Michelin Man arctic parkas-- Elizabeth possessing an extensive wardrobe of these figure flattering items. I don’t know if Maria will repeat the experience any time soon, as although the jacket kept her warm she was displeased with the immobility entailed in trying to trundle along in the thing whilst keeping up with me. (Who knew that down could weight so much!) I of course eschew outerwear of any variety as inhibitory to my naturally lively bloodhound spirits. Besides I keep quite warm running about and vigorously towing, much to the dismay of my humans who alternately sweat and freeze. All part of the joys of Winter Wimsey.
But in spite of the nature of my forceful opinions on the subject of Hound couture, an attempt was made this week to introduce me to the benefits of canine footwear. It was all “What do you mean Jimmy Choo doesn’t make giant Hound booties?” and “Maybe if Wimsey has his own boots he’ll leave mine alone.” Consequently an assortment of elegant footwear was assembled for my inspection and approval as you can see in this week’s bootie montage (which, unlike my usual bootie montage, doesn’t consist of pictures of my actual bootie which I like to present whenever the heinous camera makes its dreaded appearance). Well as you can see, I look quite handsome posing with this array of booties but I became quite peeved when the things were actually put on my feet—especially as I thought they were brought in for my chewing pleasure. The ladies have been urged by Gus of the Yukon’s human to try again—this heroic human regularly shods 12 Hound feet and lives to tell the tale for which she may deserve even more of a medal than she does for living in Fairbanks, Alaska in the winter.
And on the subject of the actual number of Hound feet to be shod, when Elizabeth (this alleged fount of canine knowledge) was assembling the booties she apparently chose them in pairs until some wise soul pointed out that as dogs are usually quadrupeds their boots generally come in fours. Ooops. She forgot! I suppose I should be flattered that she thinks I am human, but somehow I am not at all flattered. That is not to say that I don’t have my bipedal moments—for instance, in order to inflict maximum auditory pain it is necessary for me to stand on two legs and bay into someone’s ear—but generally I prefer to stick to the traditional number of legs, particularly as they confer extra towing traction.
Well otherwise it has been quite a week—the New Year is upon us and I can hardly believe that this my 100th post and that I have actually been annoying people in print for close to two years. Of course I like to think that my musings serve the purpose of enhancing people’s appreciation of their own dogs (“Well, Fido did steal my socks and try to eat the cat but at least he’s not Wimsey.”). And on the subject of the anti-Wimsey, I did run into my extraordinary buddy Bruno the Rottweiler a few weeks ago. Now although I love Bruno and we engage in epic wrestling matches, he always leaves my humans viewing me with a jaundiced eye. He’s rather like that annoying classroom paragon so beloved of parents, who gets straight A’s, never misbehaves and has beautiful manners. Bruno is mostly off his leash because his attentiveness and obedience skills make a leash superfluous. Also he assists his human by carrying her groceries home. Meat containing groceries. Meat containing groceries that he doesn’t take off with and snarf under a bush. And then it’s all “Look Wimsey Bruno is actually useful. Why can’t you be useful?” But of course I am useful—I keep my humans well exercised, prevent them from consuming too much food and make sure they don’t get above themselves—but they see me as just a lily of the field. But oddly enough Bruno’s human is a big fan of mine—perhaps very much like the parents of the straight A student who look with envy and approbation upon the brainlessly handsome and universally popular school athlete. The grass is always greener, etc (except that in the case of Hounds where we mostly make it browner). Anyway, I have always fancied being a tougher breed of dog (like a Rottweiler!) so below is a picture that I think makes me look quite Rottie-like. (although Bruno looks tough, he actually rescued two abandoned kittens that he found by carrying them to his owner and has apparently raised them to be fine upstanding dog bed sharing felines; a lovely story which unfortunately elicited more “why can’t you be more like Bruno” jaundiced looks from my humans).
But then again everyone loves a naughty dog—just as long as it belongs to someone else. Like on all the dog training TV shows my humans have been watching because there is nothing on on all 200 TV channels during the holidays. For those who haven’t seen these shows, they come in two main varieties: Cesar Millan who is very nice and charming and smiles and asks “How can I help you?” And then he tells the people that the dog is fine but that they are mentally unhinged or Victoria Stilwell who is not charming doesn’t smile and is very mean and informs people “Here is how I will help you”. And then she tells the people that the dog is fine but that they are mentally unhinged. Personally I love the fact that nothing is ever the dog’s fault, which means my humans have cleverly trained me to drag them down the stairs at a dangerous rate of speed, stick my nose in their food, pin them to the sofa, shove them off the bed, shatter their ear drums with my baying and eat their dirty underwear. I also note that Hounds seldom figure very prominently in these dog training shows—probably because the trainers know better. But I would like to see new canine events geared more towards Hounds such as:
The Hound Fantasy Show Ring
The Entrance: Hounds drag handlers into the ring and show off their form to the judge by pacing or galloping about. Points deducted for orderly trotting.
The Line Up: Hounds stick their noses into the butt of the Hound in front of them or air scent or call noisily to their friends. Male Hounds attempt to make a love connection. Points deducted for keeping feet and noses in one place.
The Examination: Hounds drag their handlers over to the judge to be gone over individually. They dance around while their handlers attempt to stack them, fling drool on the judge, lean on him affectionately or roll over so he can give them a belly rub. Points deducted for standing quietly and looking regal.
The Down and Back: Here the Hound can really shine as an individual—displaying the lumbering quality of his pace or the wild energy of his gallop. Extra points are awarded for stylish maneuvers such as climbing out of the ring and into the lap of a spectator or knocking down the judge.
The Once Around: Here the judge gets his final look at the group of Hounds. It is important for the Hound to demonstrate his superior Houndiness by either gluing his nose to the ground during gaiting whilst his handler struggles futilely to get him to pick up his head or charges forward to engage the Hound in front of him in a noisy game of chase. The lead male Hound has a big advantage in the Once Around as he is in an excellent position to race up to the last female Hound and begin producing the next generation of Hounds.
Hound Fantasy Obedience Ring
Heel on Leash and Figure Eight: Here the handler runs to catch up with the towing Hound and hopes that the interesting scent the Hound is following makes the shape of an eight.
Stand for Examination: The Hound must stand in position and demonstrate neither shyness nor resentment towards the judge: extra points are awarded should the Hound choose the upright position and slime the judge in the face.
Heel Free: Here the handler races really, really fast to catch up with the unleashed Hound and tries to herd it into a figure eight.
Recall: The Hound listens attentively to the command to come and then promptly moves off in the opposite direction or lies down for a nap.
The Long Sit and Long Down: The Hound is placed in a sit or a down and remains there for a full sixteen nanoseconds. Alternatively, the creative Hound can decide to execute the interminable sit or interminable down whereby he decides he is comfortable and refuses to move.
Retrieve on the Flat: The handler throws a dumbbell and the Hound makes off with it (also known as Stealing on the Flat)
Retrieve Over High Jump: Here the Hound approaches the jump, knocks it over and chews it up before stealing the dumbbell.
And lest you think this is all impossible to achieve, I myself have actually performed many of the feats described in the fantasy show ring! (perhaps this has something to do with why I am not being shown at Westminster this year). I think I would excel equally in obedience competition but my humans are curiously reluctant to try. (“Perhaps if they awarded ribbons for disobedience…”) But below is a special treat—Maria found two of my baby pictures including one in stack position with my breeder Lily Luster. I was already showing my championship form (I am after all Ch. Ewine Ramsey Creek’s Wimsey—I may be a badly behaved bloodhound, but I am a handsome one!). I probably have not stacked as well since (I was too young when this was taken to appreciate how much fun one can have dancing around in the stack).
OK, well it is now time to pace on over to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art where the current weather conditions have induced me to select an idyllic summer scene painted by Monet: Woman Seated on a Bench (Claude Monet, 1874, Tate Museum, London). While it is always refreshing to see a Monet painting that does not involve water lilies, I must confess that this painting has always struck me as odd. The woman in question looks so immobile and static. Also there is so much unoccupied room on the bench considering it is such a nice day (notice how strongly the loose, imprecise brush strokes convey the lushness of a summer’s day and the dappling of sunlight on the bench). But with the insertion of a magnificent (if somewhat rude) Hound, all is explained! The woman is not immobile by choice. She cannot move with the heavy burden of a Hound on her legs. We sense that at any moment the Hound will sprawl across her lap and settle in for a satisfying chew on her parasol, an element which adds drama to this otherwise rather placid scene. Wimsey Seated on A Woman Seated on a Bench.
That’s all for this week. Happy New Year Everyone!
Until next time,
Wimsey the non-paragon of canine virtue
Friday, January 2, 2009
Entry # 100
Posted by Wimsey at 5:18 PM