January 14, 2011
Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey, coming to you from Manhattan’s newly snowy Upper West Side, where I have been cutting quite a figure in my dashing winter wardrobe. However, this season’s latest must- have canine winter accessory are boots in which canines of all descriptions can be seen strutting (or hobbling) the streets of the Big Apple. This frustrates my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth enormously as this is one fashion trend I most assiduously eschew. Instead my humans must carry around Paw Pro to spray my feet to protect them against the corrosive salt so beloved of New York City building superintendents. But I do enjoy the attention—there is no substitute for personal service.
And speaking of the City and the snow, our Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has come in for some fierce criticism regarding his handling of the storms. I am here to rush to his defense—keeping the streets and roads clogged with as much snow as possible for the longest period of time and letting garbage bags pile up indefinitely in vertical profusion is, in my opinion, a little slice of Hound Heaven. Really, I could not have done a better job myself.
Anyway, before we get started with this week’s events, I want to say that the coming week is Birthday Week around here—Maria’s is on January 18th and Elizabeth’s is on January 21st so there will be no blog post next week. I will be helping the ladies
celebrate and choose presents for me. It is a time-honored tradition that all birthdays are celebrated by buying me gifts as what could be a more enjoyable and festive activity than shopping for presents for me. It was, however, disconcerting to learn that Elizabeth has been investigating the possibility of a cashmere sweater for me as indoor lounge wear for chilly days—what’s next, a pipe and carpet slippers? I was relieved to learn that somehow the pet product purveying community doesn’t think that giant Hounds require cashmere sweaters; there is apparently a paucity of these articles in size XXL.
And speaking of gifts, I think anyone who wants to give someone something really special should log onto the website of my beer, www.baying-hound.com and order the pint glasses with my face on them. Then when they quaff a brew they can imagine my cold, wet, dripping nose twitching and snuffling its way into their beverage to be immediately followed by a quick flick of my frog-like tongue. It adds immeasurably to the beer drinking experience—or so my humans tell me. And of course if you live in the Washington DC area you can actually sample the stuff directly—remember, if you start to hear me bay you’ve had too many (although I am trying to convince the brewery to include an MP3 chip in the glasses so that every sip can provide an auditory delight ((earplugs not included)).
Well we had more snow this week—only 8 inches or so this time --and I have been logging an insane amount of park time horsing around and trying to kill my humans. Regrettably my efforts have been thwarted by the requirement that I wear a gentle leader and the addition of crampons to Elizabeth’s boots. It’s hard to know which I hate more. A quiet walk in a snow filled park sans shrieking just seems wrong somehow. Plus the crampons are just so unsporting. And they make me think of a ladies time of the month.
But speaking of sport, this week a delightful one has been called to my attention on two separate occasions. It involves mounted riders hunting humans using a pack of bloodhounds. The sport is called Clean Boot Hunting (although why anything to do with a bloodhound has the word clean in it is a mystery). Here is a link to an entertaining video segment from England and also to an article in the Washington Post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFbhAkW4Hmw and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/12/AR2011011204703.html
I think this sport could be adapted for Manhattan:
Dirty Sneaker Hunting
John Madden: Hello everyone. I am here with my colleague Al Michaels to bring you the first ever Dirty Sneaker Hunting event in Manhattan. Tell us about the sport Al.
Al Michaels: Thanks John. Well it’s fox hunting but without the fox, the horses or the foxhounds.
John Madden: Well that sounds promising since the last time a fox (at least the animal kind) was seen in Manhattan George Washington was president and I’m not sure the taxis would yield to horses.
Al: Well they don’t yield to people so I wouldn’t hold out much hope for the horses. But here’s the premise: a high value human—in this case Elizabeth, who is well known for her eccentric propensity to carry around bags of turkey and biscuits and to exude a strong smell of all things canine (and I do mean ALL things) is given a twenty minute head start over Maria, a human of lesser value owing to her reluctance to cook full hot meals for the food bowl. Now Maria must find Elizabeth with the assistance of Wimsey, a Manhattan dwelling bloodhound well known for his love of turkey, biscuits and ripe odors.
John: What’s that racket Al.
Al: That’s Wimsey. He’s peeved because his source of turkey and biscuits just left.
John: Can he do that for the whole 20 minutes, Al?
Al: He can do that for 20 hours John, but Maria is attempting to distract him with a belly rub.
John: Wow! I didn’t know a Hound could bay in that position.
Al: Wimsey can bay in any position; He’s very gifted that way.
John: Well it’s time to start the hunt!
Al: And they’re off! It looks like Wimsey’s heading to Central Park.
John: A good choice. I’m sure there’s lots of hiding places there.
Al: Well it seems Wimsey wasn’t tracking Elizabeth at all—he’s just treed a raccoon.
John: But having dealt to his satisfaction with the raccoon, he seems to be off again towing Maria at a high rate of speed. He looks like he’s picked up a scent!
Al: Yes, he’s charging over to the Loeb Boathouse café! Perhaps Elizabeth is hiding inside.
John: Oops! False alarm. The only thing hiding in there is Wimsey’s favorite tuna fish sandwich.
Al: Yes, and he got that down surprisingly quickly considering that it was hand fed to him. We understand that Wimsey considers eating things off the ground beneath him and believes that hand feeding is more in keeping with his views on personal service.
John: Where is he off to now? I hope it’s not over to that knish place across the boat pond—we don’t want all this food slowing him down.
Al: The only thing that slows Wimsey down is a good-looking bitch. (I’ve always wanted to say that word on TV and keep my job). But he’s definitely on the trail of something.
John: Look! He hasn’t found Elizabeth but he’s found a policeman! Maybe you can’t say that word after all.
Al: No, Wimsey is famous for finding policeman all over the city. It’s a mutual admiration society—he sings and they feed him and pet him and give him their water bottles.
John: I never knew cops were so easily entertained—perhaps I should have a bloodhound when I take my Ferrari out for a spin—it might be worth the savings on traffic tickets.
Al: It’s not worth it. I know. I’ve been covering Wimsey for a while.
John: Well now he’s leaving Central Park. Could he be heading to the Museum of Natural History? Aren’t there a lot of bones in that building? He’s certainly big enough for a dinosaur bone.
Al: No I think he’s passed by the Museum. He’s heading to Petland. Apparently they’re having a sale on bully sticks.
John: Well let’s see, Wimsey’s treed a raccoon, had a tuna sandwich, a knish and a baguette chicken sandwich from Le Pain Quotidien, found a policeman and has now purchased some sale priced bully sticks. And Elizabeth is nowhere to be found. Do you think he knows where she is?
Al: I think he knows exactly where she is. He’s just not in any hurry to find her as he has more urgent things to attend to first. Anyway, he seems to be towing in a new direction.
John: It’s Grom Gelato! I love the stuff!
Al: I can tell. Well Wimsey certainly has excellent taste—none of this domestic ice cream for him. Only tony, hand crafted gourmet Italian gelato will do. And Grom has shops in Paris, Tokyo and Malibu so Wimsey can always have his Grom when he travels.
John: Yes, but the point of the hunt was not to find raccoons, snacks, admiring policemen or artisanal gelato. It was to find Elizabeth.
Al: Elizabeth? She’s in that bar across the street. She ‘s always in there imbibing a strong cocktail after time spent with Wimsey. That’s how he always knows where she is.
I think I could have a lot of fun dirty sneaker hunting. I certainly enjoy hunting the neighbor’s timid little doodle Teddy in Elizabeth’s building and I routinely hunt my humans when they are trying to do things that don’t involve me.
Anyway, as many of you know, I got a new bed recently and am happy to report that I am very satisfied with it except that Maria seems to want to use it at night. It’s most annoying as there is a perfectly good couch in the living room. I really enjoy sleeping across the top of the new bed the wide way on the pillows but Maria insists on disturbing me. But if we (she) cannot reach some accommodation I apply the principles of Houndism-- I descend, stalk into the living room and make a commotion
rearranging my sheet nest for 20 or 30 minutes. How, you may ask, can rearranging a sheet nest make a sleep denying commotion? I am a Hound. It does. And when I am done with that. I lie down and immediately commence ear-splitting snoring even though I am not really asleep yet. In the end, she’s better off sleeping around me.
It’s a 21st century application of Henry III of England’s royal motto “He who does not give what he has does not receive what he wants” (i.e. the parts of the bed I choose in exchange for a night’s sleep). Very wise those medieval English kings except when they were murdering, usurping and warring. But no one’s perfect (except a Hound).
Until next time,
Wimsey, a Hound for All Seasons