August 6, 2010
Hello Everyone. It’s me, Wimsey, coming to you (alas) from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the weather has been frankly disgusting. It’s been all hot and humid which has put a major crimp in my midday activities that sometimes now consist of me just hightailing it from my human Maria’s air conditioned abode to that of her friend Elizabeth with whom I hang out during the day while Maria is at work keeping me in kibble. Elizabeth claims to work too, but as this consists of her mostly sitting at her computer or yakking on the phone about boring subjects that are not about me or threatening to jump off tall buildings if I squeak my toy in the phone one more time-- I think she is bluffing.
Well I am more or less settling back in after our eight day road trip to Buffalo to visit Maria’s mother and to Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit my breeder and my sister but I have developed an acute urge to try and climb into people’s cars and vans in the hopes of triggering another road trip. (When I say “climb in” I really mean that I engage the Wimsey Tractor Beam at maximum warp which apparently causes much alarm and embarrassment—the causing of which is always a source of great satisfaction to me). Nothing gives this Hound greater pleasure than a road trip—the new smells, the gentle swaying of the car and the mellifluous sounds of my humans fighting with the GPS.
Now last week we dealt with the Buffalo legs of the trip which can be summarized as follows: doting grandmother, much fine, hand fed Hungarian cuisine, adulation by the relatives and neighbors. But after three days of this, our Ford Explorer was packed up once again with all my stuff and we headed for the wilds of Michigan! Now the trip itself was quite exciting—except for Ohio—which my humans determined was a very long and boring state to drive through, because we found this fabulous rest stop in Michigan.
For those of you who are not familiar with canine road trips, from time to time along the highway there are these rest stops where one can find bathrooms and picnic tables and theoretically a place for canine exercise and elimination. However at most of these dogs appear to be anathema with our activities relegated to small, unpleasant strips of land adjacent to the highway and far away from the picnic tables. But then we found this place in Michigan that was all lush greenery with a doggy walking trail through the woods and no signs about not picnicking with your canine snackmeister.
But soon enough we checked into the Baymont Inn (great name, don’t you think?) in North Walker—a place we all highly recommend. As is our usual custom, Maria unloaded the car, set up my crate and draped the room in sheets while Elizabeth and I went for a walk. Then she and I tried to stroll through the lobby as casually and inconspicuously, as possible--as if the sight of a petite woman with a giant, slavering Hound on their way to the elevator was a daily occurrence (properties that accept dogs are sometimes disconcerted by those of us of size). Anyway, as soon as we got to my room the phone rang and my humans were sure it was the front desk telling us that I was too big to stay. But no! It was the front desk wanting to know if everything was all right (and not as in “has that big dog eaten you yet” all right). I give four paws up to the Baymont!
And what would a hotel stay with me be without one of my trademark “Great Escape” escapades. In Buffalo it ended up with Elizabeth using my dewlap for a leash and this time it ended up with a tackle by Maria that would have made the New York Jets proud. In my experience there is no more powerful inducement to a display of human athletic prowess than the sight of a large unleashed and uncollared Hound about to make an unauthorized foray into a hotel corridor.
But I digress. The following morning we were met by my breeder Jan (http://www.ewinebloodhounds.com/) and her friend Trudy (www.indiancreekbloodhounds.com) who has my sister Dixie. After pleasantries and sniffs were exchanged, we all piled in to Trudy’s capacious multi-Hound holding vehicle and headed off to the shores of Lake Michigan. (See video) Now Dixie has changed quite a bit since we were littermates and as she had recently finished a heat I found her intensely alluring. This expressed itself in much serenading and sniffing all of which she greeted with that unaccountable equanimity so characteristic of lady Hounds. Of course when I got too close to her water bucket in the car she tried to bite my nose but even this worked to my advantage as it meant that I rode sprawled across my humans’ laps getting a four handed massage.
Anyway, we took lots of photos—one of my favorites is this picture which features my flying testicles. And although I enjoyed the beach very much I refused to swim in the rough surf and really was much more interested in Dixie than in anything else. I had to be dragged off of her at regular intervals and threatened to make one of the videos X-rated. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mde7SrzDc7o
Well after that refreshing interlude we piled back into Trudy’s Houndmobile for the ride to Sand Lake, Michigan, home of my breeder. We stopped in town (can a street be a town? I’m from Manhattan. Who knew?) for some lunch which I naturally shared in. Dixie had to be exiled to the car on account of my inability to stop baying in her presence which was putting a crimp in the humans’ attempts at conversation. After lunch the sun came out and as it got quite warm I was taken to the actual Sand Lake for a cooling dip. And then it was off to my ancestral home to meet my mother and father.
As everyone knows, at family reunions things can happen and deep dark family secrets can be revealed. And my family reunion was no exception. Now I had spent my entire life believing that that the creating of a creature as magnificent as myself was a carefully considered affair. I imagined bloodlines being examined and conformation carefully checked and various combinations and possibilities being bruited about and rejected as being of an insufficient quality to produce a one such as me. Well I was shocked when the true story of my origins emerged!
Here’s what happened: Apparently my mother, Rum being in season was out in the fenced yard disporting herself with another lady bloodhound in the same condition when the mighty Hound champion Stetson, overcome with admiration, pushed past Jan’s husband and entered the enclave to make his feelings known to the lovely creatures. Here is a picture of Stetson in his prime.
Well Jan’s husband did not think Stetson’s presence among the ladies would pose any sort of a problem or lead to any kind of result since he believed that Stetson was not bright enough to know what to do. Now before you all snicker at the apparent ignorance of this, I must tell you, my humans have had exactly the same sort of conversation about me! Yes, until they were able to actually witness firsthand my dynamic wooing style the ladies both felt that I lacked the requisite brain power to know what to do in the presence of the fair sex. Now I may not know how to follow obedience commands or do tricks, and I may be a nightmare in the show ring and consider measuring tapes to be instruments of Satan, but I do actually know how to properly entertain a lady. And two months later with my blessed arrival my father proved that he did too! So I was an
(Stetson and Jan)
accident! An “oops!” Not really meant to be at all. The shame and humiliation of it. All my dreams of being a carefully crafted masterpiece were dashed.
So all this talk about paternity and so forth led to another startling revelation---I carry a new genetic mutation (or more accurately a genetic polymorphism since strictly speaking mutations are deleterious)! Apparently this came to light when my litter was DNA tested for AKC registration to prove that Stetson was my father and Rum was my mother. Well in region L16 of the canine genome my parents have genotype EG and EE (meaning that all offspring should be EE, EG, GE or GG) and I am an EH! In all other respects I conform to the genetics of my line so sometime during conception a small change was introduced into my genome causing me to be slightly different from the rest of my litter—a fact that my humans did not need genetic analysis to determine. So now the ladies have written to the AKC and are trying to find out if anyone knows in what gene I carry this variant. And of course they are now convinced that all my idiosyncratic (or just idiotic) behaviors are due to this mutation.
And speaking of all this breeding stuff, it has been decided that a world bereft of Wimseys is not worth living in, so my humans are looking for a place to collect and store my seed. I myself have decided not to inquire too closely into this process as I have a feeling I will not like it. But it is comforting to know that my annoying genes will live on to bedevil new generations of clueless humans.
Well we took lots of family photos—at the end of the post there are pictures of my elderly father and mother in various combinations with me and my sister. It is thought that although I most resemble my mother physically I have inherited my father’s lively and enterprising personality. In fact when people ask what I am like sometimes instead of really telling them, my humans just say I have a lot of “personality” without exactly giving them the low down on the specifics of what this “personality” consists.
Anyway, after Grand Rapids we returned back to Buffalo for a day so I could sample some additional new food items and enjoy the benefits of grandmotherly indulgence until it was finally time to return home. So all too soon I was back to the daily grind of sniffing and marking my extensive territory and draining my humans of their time and money. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Until next time,
Wimsey, a happy accident
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Posted by Wimsey at 10:47 AM