February 11, 2011
Hello everyone. It’s me, Wimsey coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where some chilly weather has depleted the stock of my admirers in Central Park this week much to the chagrin of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who enjoy showing me off the to the world (or more accurately me showing off to the world). But I did manage to slime a French guy—one of a group of hearty young men (NB: French men don’t like having their clothes slimed—you just know they don’t look the way they do by shopping at Wal-Mart.) Anyway, Elizabeth was trying to Twit pic me next to snow filled Bethesda Fountain and got so flustered between taking the picture, the cuteness of the guys and trying to practice her French discourse about St. Hubert dogs (my moniker in the Old Country) that she sent out a picture that was completely askew and had me me walking out of the frame (a skill I excel at, by the way). And in her eagerness to impart knowledge of all things St. Hubert, she neglected to provide her new French friends with the most salient piece of information of all- “faites attention à la bave!” (Which Elizabeth hopes means watch out for the drool!) I’m sure that would have been a much more appreciated piece of information than what she actually imparted.
I meet so many tourists from all over the world that there really should be a smart phone translation app exclusively devoted to the dangers of meeting me:
Wimsey’s Smart Phone Translation App
“Here is the name of a good dry cleaner”
“If he starts to shake his head, run”
“It will come out in the wash”
“No, a bird did not do that”
“Would you like a comb?”
“I have a wipe”
“Do you need an aspirin”
“But he’s just had a bath”
“Yes, he always smells like that”
“Would you like some earplugs?”
“He wants the light to change.”
“He wants to say hello to that dog”
“You have a water bottle”
“You have a sandwich”
“He thinks it’s toy”
“He wants it”
“Is there food in that stroller?”
“You’re in his way”
“Watch out for his paws”
“Would you like a glass of gin?”
“He wants to sit in your lap”
“Yes, I know it hurts when he sits on your foot”
“He wants to see what is in your bag”
“Don’t worry he doesn’t usually steal those kinds of things ”
“His digestion has been bothering him lately”
“Did he hurt you?”
“He only does that to people he likes”
and of course, the most important phrase: “I’m sorry!” (and the second most important phrase, “Yes, I know he is very cute, but you don’t want one”)
My humans have elevated the act of apologizing to an art form. There’s just so much that can go wrong when I head out the door it’s a good thing that contrition becomes them. What I can guarantee will not become them is this new summer vest Maria found online (scottvest.com) that has 22 pockets. It’s supposed to be for people who travel and just can’t seem to fit their life’s possessions into one airline carry on and so need some additional assistance with the matter. The vest is supposed to have “no bulge” pockets for a “trim profile” but I am sure that when it’s stuffed with my leashes, snacks, jumbo poop bags and other assorted accouterments my humans will look like they are wearing badly prepared mashed potatoes. But then again, it can’t really be worse than looking like Michelin women wearing giant fanny packs, and in any case no one looks at them anyway (except I imagine, with pity.)
Now as many of you know, Monday and Tuesday is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and as usual, Elizabeth will desert me on those days to help out at the ASPCA booth, which, although displeases me mightily is still better than her taking an actual vacation. I thought it might be instructive, therefore, to take a look at the AKC standard for the Bloodhound (as opposed to the more colorful Wimseyhound) from their website and see how I stack up so to speak. Perhaps the analysis will show why I was not the judge’s choice when I was shown there. (bold italics, mine)
AKC MEET THE BREEDS®: Bloodhound
Described as a "unique looking dog in a baggy suit," (the wrinkles being an excellent place to hide things for later distribution in unexpected places) the Bloodhound is one of the oldest breeds of dogs that hunt by scent. (It is this outstanding ability that allows me to know when Teddy, the neighbor’s terrified little doodle, is in the vicinity and to vocalize down the hall accordingly). Although affectionate (when in the mood, otherwise you’re out of luck), they can possess shy natures, sensitive to kindness or correction by their master (or not). Colors of the Bloodhound include black and tan, liver and tan, and red, sometimes flecked with white. The actual term "Bloodhound" refers not to what the Bloodhound trails but instead refers to its status as the "blooded hound," meaning aristocratic, since such great lengths were taken early on to keep the strain clean (or else our tendency to bleed our humans dry. And for the record clean is never a word that should be associated with bloodhounds).
Right Breed for You? While Bloodhounds are extremely affectionate (as long as we are on the receiving end), they are take-charge dogs (Yes! We take charge of your time, money and your life!), so it is important to be kind, but be the undisputed boss in your household (Good luck with that). Bloodhounds should be groomed weekly to eliminate dead hair and facilitate a routine that will help them look, feel, and smell better (If you want a dog that looks, feels and smells nice consider another breed).
Bloodhound Breed Standard
General Character The Bloodhound possesses, in a most marked degree, every point and characteristic of those dogs which hunt together by scent (Sagaces) (i.e. we use our noses to find stuff to steal, confident in our belief that possession is ten tenths of the law). He is very powerful, and stands over more ground than is usual with hounds of other breeds (and lies down over more bed and couch than is usual with other breeds). The skin is thin to the touch and extremely loose, this being more especially noticeable about the head and neck, where it hangs in deep folds (and collects miscellaneous organic matter from the outside for distribution on your carpet and in your bed).
Height The mean average height of adult dogs is 26 inches, and of adult bitches 24 inches. Dogs usually vary from 25 inches to 27 inches, and bitches from 23 inches to 25 inches; but, in either case, the greater height is to be preferred, provided that character and quality are also combined (I am tall. I am a character and I possess qualities that make humans crazy).
Weight The mean average weight of adult dogs, in fair condition, is 90 pounds, and of adult bitches 80 pounds. Dogs attain the weight of 110 pounds, bitches 100 pounds. The greater weights are to be preferred, provided (as in the case of height) that quality and proportion are also combined. (the greater weight is not preferred by the human at the other end of the leash or on the receiving end of the tush).
Expression The expression is noble and dignified, and characterized by solemnity, wisdom, and power (Appearances can be deceiving, Your results may vary).
Temperament In temperament he is extremely affectionate, neither quarrelsome with companions nor with other dogs. His nature is somewhat shy, and equally sensitive to kindness or correction by his master (or else it’s loud and obnoxious and couldn’t care less what his humans think, say or do. And if I ever run into Wilbur the Gordon Setter down the street, that Scottish bastard is toast)
Head The head is narrow in proportion to its length, and long in proportion to the body, tapering but slightly from the temples to the end of the muzzle, thus (when viewed from above and in front) having the appearance of being flattened at the sides and of being nearly equal in width throughout its entire length. In profile the upper outline of the skull is nearly in the same plane as that of the foreface. The length from end of nose to stop (midway between the eyes) should be not less than that from stop to back of occipital protuberance (peak). The entire length of head from the posterior part of the occipital protuberance to the end of the muzzle should be 12 inches, or more, in dogs, and 11 inches, or more, in bitches. Skull-- The skull is long and narrow, with the occipital peak very pronounced. The brows are not prominent, although, owing to the deep-set eyes, they may have that appearance. (all of this means my head is flat and pointy as befits a being of my superior intelligence).
Foreface--The foreface is long, deep, and of even width throughout, with square outline when seen in profile. (all of which means I am very handsome)
Eyes--The eyes are deeply sunk in the orbits, the lids assuming a lozenge or diamond shape, in consequence of the lower lids being dragged down and everted by the heavy flews. The eyes correspond with the general tone of color of the animal, varying from deep hazel to yellow. The hazel color is, however, to be preferred, although very seldom seen in liver-and-tan hounds. (all of this means that I look like I’ve been out on the tiles and am in urgent need of an Alka Seltzer).
Ears--The ears are thin and soft to the touch, extremely long, set very low, and fall in graceful folds, the lower parts curling inward and backward. (also good for collecting filth of an indeterminate nature for deposit on light colored fabrics. And they make a nifty loud noise when the head is shaken).
Mouth--A scissors bite is preferred, level bite accepted.(both of which are capable of tearing and shredding fine Italian leather).
Wrinkle The head is furnished with an amount of loose skin, which in nearly every position appears superabundant, but more particularly so when the head is carried low; the skin then falls into loose, pendulous ridges and folds, especially over the forehead and sides of the face. Nostrils--The nostrils are large and open. Lips, Flews, and Dewlap--In front the lips fall squarely, making a right angle with the upper line of the foreface; whilst behind they form deep, hanging flews, and, being continued into the pendant folds of loose skin about the neck, constitute the dewlap, which is very pronounced. These characteristics are found, though in a lesser degree, in the bitch. (Nostrils must be large enough to make distracting, loud wind tunnel noises during food preparation time in the kitchen, flews must be generous enough to hide pills that one is supposed to be swallowing and the dewlap must be deep enough to push prong collars and other instruments of hound control into ineffective positions low on the neck).
Neck, Shoulders and Chest The neck is long, the shoulders muscular and well sloped backwards; the ribs are well sprung; and the chest well let down between the forelegs, forming a deep keel. (in other words, a physique ideally suited to human body slamming).
Legs and Feet The forelegs are straight and large in bone, with elbows squarely set; the feet strong and well knuckled up; the thighs and second thighs (gaskins) are very muscular; the hocks well bent and let down and squarely set. (in laymen’s terms: strong enough, big enough and long enough for superior thwacking)
Back and Loin The back and loins are strong, the latter deep and slightly arched. (It should provide a memorable experience when deposited on a human lap)
Stern--The stern is long and tapering, and set on rather high, with a moderate amount of hair underneath. (meaning my tail should be excellent for clearing coffee tables and belting seated humans in the face).
Gait The gait is elastic, swinging and free, the stern being carried high, but not too much curled over the back. (It’s hard to be elastic, swinging and free when towing shrieking humans).
Color The colors are black and tan, liver and tan, and red; the darker colors being sometimes interspersed with lighter or badger-colored hair, and sometimes flecked with white. A small amount of white is permissible on chest, feet, and tip of stern. (You will notice that the breed standard says nothing about chartreuse. Other good Hound colors are mud and grass, filth and slime, leaves and sticks and whatever the color of your favorite blanket).
But seriously, doesn’t the bloodhound standard sound like a dog you might actually want to live with? I guess by that criteria I fail to meet the breed standard. However, the standard shockingly fails to mention our fine, indestructible odor. I have to say very often people seem to find my blog by googling “do bloodhounds stink” and every time I see this, I want to shout “YES!!!!!!!!! WE DO!!!!!!!!!” But of course I have no way of contacting these folks, I just hope they find the relevant facts and act accordingly (did I mention that Elizabeth can no longer store her vacuum cleaner in a closet because it reeks of me and then apparently so does everything else in there) Anyway, the ASPCA is raffling off a Dyson Pet Vacuum Cleaner so if you visit Westminster, stop by and try your luck.