July 24, 2009
Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey coming to you from my Hound Empire on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I rule my admiring subjects with a velvet paw. (I reserve the imperial iron paw for thwacking humans who have stopped petting me).
This week has been rather uncomfortably humid, with the exception of Sunday when I spent the day as usual in the Central Park with my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth. It was a magnificent summer day, and I too, as usual was magnificent—towing and baying and flinging drool with abandon. In addition to contemplating a line of intimate support wear for the larger male canine my humans are thinking about developing drool shields.
And this week someone asked Maria if I was a tick hound. Now considering the amount of money spent on my parasite screens I suppose she certainly hoped not. And although I have been mistaken for a large numbers of breeds in the AKC registry I have to admit that I have never been mistaken for an arachnid before (largely owing I suspect to my enormous size and being minus a few legs --can you imagine the towing possibilities of having eight legs!). But I suppose the fellow recognized a parasitic species when he saw one. Of course the guy also could have thought I was a blue tick coonhound but then we have the problem of me not being blue, ticked or a coonhound, so I am sticking with the parasite theory.
Anyway as you can see by the sign, perfection does indeed have its price—it’s just that I don’t happen to be the one paying it. That privilege falls to my humans. I myself know the value of everything and the cost of nothing to re-interpret the famous Oscar Wilde phrase. And one of the things of highest value—particularly in this sticky weather—is the taking of a long nap in cool air conditioned splendor. So here to illustrate is a little nap montage.
And while I nap—sometimes quite vigorously—my humans always wonder what I am dreaming about.
Things I Dream About:
Pooping over the Central Park roadway so the poop falls on passing cars (my humans seem loathe to let me do this however many times I try)
Producing the next generation of Wimseys
Being let loose in Barnes and Noble (we Wimseys have an appetite for educational materials)
Patrolling with the officers of the 20th precinct and poking my muzzle into the sensitive bits of the perps
Being hand fed roast turkey without getting a bath at the same time
Having my humans’ undivided attention (oops, a bit of reality crept in there)
Also this week my friend Bentley (http://droolydogsblog.blogspot.com/) mentioned that his humans attended a book signing of dog trainer Joel Silverman’s book “What Color is Your Dog.” The premise of the book is that dogs can be assigned colors according to their temperament and trained using techniques appropriate to their type. So I had a look at the bloke’s website with the intention of devising some creative countermeasures should my humans ever be so misguided as to try this out on me, but sadly I didn’t fall into any of the types—I am apparently a Hound of a different color. In order to rectify this omission I think the book needs an additional section:
What Color is Your Hound?
Khaki: This is a reserved Hound who is primarily interested in the goods and services that can be provided to him by his friends and family rather than by the public at large. He is quite methodical when he destroys your possessions and will find the most efficient means of doing so. He is not an especially creative thinker and can be relied upon to stick to the classics such as chewing up shoes and eating pillows and to tried and true activities such as raiding the garbage bin. The Khaki Hound is seldom alarmed when his activities come to the notice of his humans— often preferring to nap during their hysterical recriminations. In fact the dignity and sang froid of this Hound are such that the hollering humans are made to feel ashamed of and embarrassed by their emotive outbursts. The Khaki Hound is fond of getting his own way and succeeds through patience, calm and the relentless pursuit of his own interests.
Puce: The Puce Hound appears to be rather a timid creature. In fact everyone feels so bad about his being timid that he is accorded every indulgence. His smallest doings are made much of, he is showered with affection at all times and the fact that he has eaten an entire library’s worth of books is hailed as well worth the price of his happiness. He sits on laps, gets fed from the table and receives the entire contents of the Pet Edge catalog in tribute. Nothing that upsets him is ever done to him—the feeling being that that would be cruel. He is invited onto the bed, taken out as much as possible for confidence building walks, and belly rubbed into oblivion. Other animals are often acquired solely to keep him company and to amuse him. When the Puce Hound asserts itself his humans rejoice—“Hurray the Puce Hound stole my sandwich—that took an admirable amount of courage and initiative!” The Puce Hound always gets what it wants because everybody around him thinks it’s what they want too.
Azure: The Azure Hound is often called the Einstein of Hounds because he is exceptionally clever, wily and manipulative—but only about matters regarding his personal comfort and satisfaction. With respect to all other matters his IQ, like most Hounds, is only slightly above that of a ficus. And with respect to the learning of and adhering to obedience commands his IQ is closer to that of a rock. While more outgoing with strangers than the Khaki Hound, the Azure Hound restricts his efforts to those strangers who have something he wants. He can then be the most charming of Hounds. The Azure Hound is also the kind of Hound who will not be fooled by human stratagems aimed at hiding desirable items, such as that new pair of Italian pumps and his desire for a snack will not be foiled by a closed refrigerator door. He is at heart a problem solver. The Azure Hound will not be misled by casual human behaviors designed to lure him into a false sense of security before the doom of an impending bath, vet visit, nail clipping, ear cleaning or any other disobliging activity occurs. Once he detects even the subtlest of human subterfuges he will make himself spectacularly unavailable. The Azure Hound is fond of getting his own way and succeeds through guile, wit and an uncanny ability to make humans love him.
Fuchsia: The Fuchsia Hound is a bold and confident Hound. He knows he is the master of all he surveys and lives securely in the knowledge that he is entitled to everything humans possess-- his family and everything they own—especially the contents of the refrigerator and laundry bin-- belong to him. Interesting strangers also belong to him. (Uninteresting strangers are beneath his notice and he will ignore them no matter how pathetically they plead for his attention). This is not to say that the Fuchsia Hound is ever aggressive—he simply appropriates what he requires knowing full well that no one ever has the heart to deny him. If someone does try to deny him he simply channels the immortal words of tennis great John McEnroe—“You cannot be serious!” and tries again. And again. And again. And again. And again…And victory is his when the humans finally lose patience and flee screaming from the room. In fact the Fuchsia Hound is so confident in the rectitude of his cause that he is prepared to devote an infinite amount of time and persistence to its successful conclusion—the ultimate Outwit, Outplay and Outlast (especially outlast) survivor. And eventually those around him understand the futility of denying him anything he wants. So what if they have to watch Monday Night Football on the floor because the Fuchsia Hound requires the couch or they have to spend a half hour quietly standing next to a bush because the Fuchsia Hound has found an interesting smell. The Fuchsia Hound will either get his way or drive you mad trying.
Chartreuse: The Chartreuse Hound is the life of the party. And if there isn’t a party he will create one with his own hilarious antics. The Chartreuse Hound is often to be found running through his abode with some prized possession flapping provocatively in his flews and a pack of irate humans in hot pursuit. The Chartreuse Hound is a social fellow and is never happier than when knocking down unsuspecting guests or smearing them with his own special embrocation of drool and detritus. The Chartreuse Hound is a natural clown and if he can’t get your attention by stealing your socks or knocking you over he is likely to be found sitting in the middle of the dining room table eying the chandelier or chewing up the newly delivered mail. The Chartreuse Hound is busy, busy, busy and believes that idle paws could lead directly to the obedience ring. He is the complete outdoorsman and prides himself in striking terror into the hearts of anything with fur or feathers. He also enjoys botanical research and will exhume popular garden specimens for more thorough and complete investigations. Humans living with a Chartreuse Hound are said to consume an above average amount of alcohol and frequently resort to tranquilizers and ear plugs (the Chartreuse Hound is generally vocally exuberant). The Chartreuse Hound is fond of getting his own way which he does by applying the tenets of the Olympic motto: faster, higher, stronger.
But regardless of whatever color your Hound is, training is not recommended as it is generally going to be a colossal waste of time. However, anyone interested in making the attempt, is advised to begin with a modest 50,000 repetitions per day and the treat equivalent of entire cooked cow.
Personally I think it is much easier to train humans. For instance the only command word I know is “sit” (I also know the word “Elizabeth” but uttering this word generally has the unfortunate consequence either getting me riled up if I am indoors or causing hard towing towards her apartment if I am outdoors so “Elizabeth” is really kind of an anti-obedience command). If I hear the word “sit” I immediately swing into analysis mode:
Wimsey’s Decision Tree Analysis
1. Is this piece of food desirable—say a piece of turkey?
a. if the piece of food is desirable will sitting prevent me from achieving some more interesting goal such as treeing a squirrel or inserting my nose into another dog’s fragrant posterior?
c. why am I being asked to sit?
-is sitting a prelude to something unpleasant?
-maybe a gentle leader will be used to restrain me
-is some heretofore unknown and unpleasant activity being contemplated?
So you see the decision as to whether or not to sit requires the careful weighing and balancing of many complex factors, all of which might lead the untutored observer to think that the delay means I am a bit thick, but really it’s quite the opposite. In contrast my humans know many commands.
feed me a cookie
give me a belly rub
turn on the air conditioner, I’m hot
no, we are not going that way, we are going this way
sit—I need a lap in which to place my tush
give me more food
get that thing away from me
show me the contents of the shopping bag
show me the contents of the toilet
I don’t wish to take a bath
buy me some Grom Gelato
But somehow I don’t really think this makes them more intelligent do you?
Well as per usual we will end our visit with a trip to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art where we have been examining the art of the second grade class of the Denali Elementary School in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Our first masterwork is by Karolyn: You and Wimsey at the Park Wimsey is Visiting My Dog. Now here we see a work with an almost textile like quality—with bands of color at the top and bottom. I am instantly recognizable by my exaggerated V-shaped forehead wrinkle, my large size and my prominent position at the center of the composition. A small canine joins me in the center and we are flanked by our humans clearly in subordinate positions. In this case the composition relates to the artist’s belief in the primacy of the canine which she has made so beautifully obvious.
Our next work is by Donny and it is entitled: Wimsey is Playing Ball With the Other Dog. Now this is a superb work of Dali-esque surrealism. The world has been reduced to what appears to be a maze, populated with pointy buildings and trees—fertility symbols perhaps. My figure has assumed an insectival or should I say arachnoid appearance as I seem to have eight legs and I am glancing at a blue caterpillar masquerading as a dog, which might be a symbol of the limits of our earthbound existence before we ascend to the heights of the butterfly. Who knows? Nobody could figure out Salvador Dali either. And there is genius in enigma. Especially in art.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. Hope everyone is keeping as cool as I am, literally and figuratively.