February 13, 2009
Hello everyone. It’s me, Wimsey, coming to you direct from the canine capital of the world, New York City, where the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show wrapped up this week and all of us on the Upper West Side wish you a happy Friday the 13th and Valentine’s Day. An interesting juxtaposition of holidays, don’t you think, and ideally suited to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who have not been lucky in love (but they have been extremely lucky in Hound). And some cynical folk out there would say that all things considered, being single is not always the unluckiest option. But of course for my human the presence of a large, stinky Hound can be somewhat inimical to the acquisition and retention of boyfriends—candle lit suppers for three being something less than romantic, especially when one party has to focus all her energy and attention on preventing the third party from stealing the food.
A Candle Light Supper With Wimsey
Potential boyfriend: What a wonderful meal.
Maria: Thank you. Boiled liver is one of Wimsey’s favorites. You can always tell when he is pleased by the size of the drool puddles on the table.
Potential boyfriend: Does he always blow bubbles like that with his drool?
Maria: Only when something is exceptionally delicious. Drool bubbles are his highest accolade.
Potential boyfriend: I see. And how thoughtful of you to provide a vinyl smock, but I seem to have an extra placemat.
Maria: That’s not a placemat, it’s a drool shield. You quickly place it in front of your face at the first sign of head shaking. It protects the bits not covered by the smock, although sometimes the trajectory of Wimsey’s drool forms a parabolic arc so you might need to cover the top of your head. But you can wear a shower cap if you like.
Potential boyfriend: No thanks. Perhaps with dessert. But where is my napkin?
Maria: Wimsey! Did you eat the napkins again! Naughty boy! You know what your poop looks like when you’ve been eating napkins!
Potential boyfriend: That’s a very interesting looking dessert. What is it?
Maria: My specialty. Crème de foie avec morceaux de foie sucré.
Potential boyfriend: That sounds delicious. What is it?
Maria: Liver pudding topped with shaved liver and powdered sugar. Wimsey likes it and it’s quite a healthy dessert, chock full of iron.
Potential boyfriend: And did you like the flowers I sent?
Maria: They were lovely and Wimsey appreciated them so much that he insisted on immediately watering them to preserve their freshness.
Well you get the idea. But really the point is moot as my humans have little time for boyfriends (or anything else for that matter) with me in the picture. Between my frequent and extensive walks, my culinary and grooming needs and the cleaning up after me it is quite a full and satisfying life. Especially for me.
So this week began with a great deal of excitement. commencing last Friday with Wimsey Bath Night--- which I found a way to considerably enliven by orchestrating a massive attack of flatulence. Now as the washing of a Hound entails being in a close, if not to say intimate proximity in a confined space, the release of copious quantities of noxious gas had quite an impact. There was much squealing and reprimanding and I observed that the lengthy scrubbing aspect of the process was significantly curtailed. An excellent stratagem— it makes a fine addition to my repertoire of hopping out of the bath tub, shaking at inopportune moments and playing tug of war with the towel. It also resulted in a change of food.
But it was all worth it because on Sunday we sallied forth in the shockingly spring like weather to meet my great love Phoebe who is the country’s #3 bloodhound and the #1 bloodhound of my heart. We met at the tip of Central Park and after some delightful preliminaries I got down to the business of wooing her in earnest. Now I know Phoebe likes me because she didn’t bite me which shows what a wonderful temperament she has as it can’t have been easy to enjoy a walk with a large wet cold nose stuck into one’s tender bits. Nevertheless, my ardor was such that it was at some point deemed necessary to employ the services of the gentle leader in order to restrain me-- but my humans quickly discovered how powerful, even a Hound in a head collar can be when he is suitably motivated.
And of course, no wooing would be complete without the passionate and sustained serenading of the beloved. So as the beautiful and elegant Phoebe strolled calmly through Central Park taking the air in a most lady like fashion she was followed by a furiously towing, foaming and baying suitor. Needless to say the spectacle attracted crowds of onlookers (all of whom wanted to pet Phoebe but curiously not me—I can’t imagine why). And it was all “Why is he doing that?” and Phoebe’s tactful human provided an expurgated version suitable for the ears of the admiring children. (it is bad enough that the sight of me frequently forces parents into detailed discussions of male anatomy but I think my humans would draw the line at me becoming known as Wimsey, The Sex Education Hound). In any case, I am sure that if I had been allowed to fully express my love for Phoebe we would have been sued.
And of course many photos were taken depicting the regal and aloof Phoebe (the Grace Kelly of Hounds) and the desperate and sonorous me. It’s funny how alike the females of a multitude of species are. We males are all given to outward displays of fire and passion and the ladies are all “Yawn, I think I’ll wash my hair now.” But I know she likes me and I will continue to woo her—faint Hound never won Fair Phoebe and all that and I will present her with this locket when I see her next.
When we finally parted Phoebe’s human gave me a stuffed toy that had been rubbed all over Phoebe to remember her by. Unfortunately the toy was so exciting that it had to be carried inside Maria’s jacket for the rest of the walk, making her look like she was pregnant in the wrong place. And both ladies required the immediate ingestion of aspirin to alleviate the headache that resulted from my incessant baying—baying having not only a painful auditory component but also a vibratory one which causes extraordinary discomfort, especially for the human at the other end of a leash. Exposure to prolonged serenades can indeed be quite trying (think of a full hour of inhale—bay—inhale—bay—inhale—bay with minimal breaks in the rhythm).
Anyway, Monday and Tuesday were Westminster days and even though I did not attend this year the beautiful Phoebe won an Award of Merit. Phoebe’s human was kind enough to display my cards on top of Phoebe’s kennel and was told “Oh yes that’s Wimsey. Everyone on the West Side knows him” (principally I am sure because I have deafened, slimed and poked most of its denizens) so I am hoping that my celebrity status makes more of an impression on Phoebe than my singing managed to do. Of course my humans remain insignificant—they are mere background actors holding the leash of a star-- so it’s a wonder that they don’t have a complex being around me.
A few of the many ways in which I am superior to my humans:
I have more legs
I am faster and stronger
I have a better sense of smell
I can eat more food, not all of it in my food bowl
I snore louder
I am more famous
I don’t need to dress like a blimp to stay warm in the winter
I can eat things that were not meant to be eaten
I own all vertical surfaces
I always get what I want
I get more dates
And while at Westminster Elizabeth went over to the Mastiff ring to say hello to Floyd, the brother of Mango, dog blogger extraordinaire (http://mangosgreatadventures.blogspot.com) and as she was explaining to Floyd’s handler about Mango, he sighed in a kind of an annoyed way and announced that she was the third person to tell him about Mango. Mango, by the way is holding MangoMinster for those of us belonging to breeds that never seem to win Westminster’s Best of Show title (the picture of me on my motorcycle from last week’s post placed me second in the Hound Group)!
And also this week we have had some very strange weather—it’s been in the 50s and near 60 which made for quite crowded conditions in the park as people poured out of hibernation from their apartments and into the sunshine and into me. The more people who are around the more old friends I run into—including an old basset buddy Humphrey and his little friend Louie. We look so polite and mannerly here, don’t we—it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fistfuls of turkey being brandished behind the camera could it? And of course there were tons of people who wanted to pet me. Now I am used to people who ask to pet me when I am clearly otherwise occupied in such crucial endeavors as following a line of scent, or chewing a stick or being fed a snack or having a drink (leaving my long suffering humans to explain that this is not an opportune moment at which to visit with me) but Sunday was the all time topper—I was pooping! Yes, someone actually asked to pet me while I in the process of depositing one of my large smelly mounds! Apart from the obvious potential to disrupt the proceedings, who would want to even get close (without some serious clothespin on the nose action) during such an activity? I guess I must be a whole lot more popular than even I thought! (of course the “do not disturb” rule as to toilet activities does not apply in the reverse—I very much like to supervise my humans’ bathroom breaks and they have to have quick hands with the lid to prevent me from carrying out a more in depth inspection; and when I stay with Elizabeth I also like to check in with her when she takes a shower just in case she also likes to eat turkey the way I do when I am being washed in her tub).
Anyway, it is now time for us to make our weekly pilgrimage to that temple of high culture, The Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. This week, in keeping with Valentine’s Day and the visit of my lovely Phoebe we examine a painting by the French rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau, The Love Song (Jean-Antoine Watteau, 1717, National Gallery, London). Watteau had a short life and was active during the later years of the reign of Louis XIV. He specialized in painting charming, idyllic scenes set in a romantic country background. In The Love Song we see the interaction between two flirtatious individuals about to engage in a duet. However, the foreground of the painting seems rather bare and it is unlikely that the gentleman with the guitar will be able to really impress his love with so slight an instrument. But see how the situation is immediately improved with the addition of a more imposing pair of lovers, two magnificent Hounds! We can almost hear the ear splitting ardor of the male Hound as he vigorously serenades his wonderfully luminescent love. See how attentive she is to the sound of his mournful and mellifluous baying and how the presence of this pair substantially increases the romantic appeal of the painting. What indeed could be more romantic than the sentimental sight and sound of a Hound in love? Wimsey’s Love Song.
Well, I think that is all for this week. I am off to nap and have lovely dreams of fair Phoebe (I might even bay in my sleep!)
Until next time,
Wimsey, Everybody's Valentine
Friday, February 13, 2009
Posted by Wimsey at 9:04 PM