November 4, 2011
Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been holding court amongst the world’s visiting marathoners as well as disporting myself in our all too brief snow fall. It turns out that many of the people in town for the marathon find me charismatic and charming and have an urgent need to pet me and to photograph me for the folks back home. My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth always know when I am being talked about, even if the language being spoken is not English (the word “magnificent” tends to sound similar regardless of the tongue) and soon they will be able to say “he’s so cute” in many of the world’s languages.
But all the fun really began last Sunday, a scant twenty-four hours after the antibiotic cipro was substituted for the Baytril that wasn’t agreeing with me. My humans had grown complacent and had suffered significant memory loss (don’t humans block out traumatic experiences?) as to what it was like to be at the other end of my leash when my energy is not diminished by disagreeable pharmaceuticals. There was much squealing and cries for another pair of hands and additional body weight in the matter of preventing me from exercising my natural abilities to tow, drag, tractor, charge and topple in the course of my park perambulations. And of course this presents a substantial conflict for my humans, who, although delighted with the improved state of my health once again fear for the state of their own as they hang on for dear life.
And Saturday’s seasonally unexpected snow and ice storm made for some seriously unstable footing on Sunday, especially when I found patches in which to snowdog. For the uninitiated snowdogging involves me running around at top speed on my twenty foot leash in an excited and decidedly unbidable state of mind (although I am never really in a biddable state of mind, at least when I am not snowdogging I can actually hear the commands that I am going to disobey rather than just hearing my own voice yelling “Run, Wimsey run!”) And whereas it is very entertaining to watch me snowdog it is decidedly less so to be at the other end of my leash where all of Newton’s pesky laws concerning momentum, acceleration and kinetic energy come into dangerous play amid the slippery slopes.
So all of this a lengthy way of saying that I had a lot of fun this week. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a free lunch (except for me) and the storm did considerable damage to the trees of Central Park, many of which you will see in this week’s photos. Ironically, the damage is much more severe than that inflicted by September’s hurricane. And although I mourn the aesthetic effect on the park, the presence of so many previously unattainable tree limbs upon which to munch was unexpectedly intoxicating.
Also on view in this week’s pictures are all the marathon preparations—this is one of my favorite weeks as there is something about the global, festive nature of the event that seems to bring out the Hound lover in everyone. Well, not my humans of course, they know better, but in people who don’t actually have to live with me.
But this makes me think that there should be Hound marathons—I mean official ones as opposed to the ones we undertake on our own initiative:
Baying Marathon: Prize awarded to the Hound whose persistent vocal stylings cause humans to spend the most money on sound baffles, acoustic tiles, noise canceling headphones, placating gifts to irate neighbors and bottles of gin. Winning Hound awarded a contract on new label: Music to Go Insane By and humans awarded a weekend away from their Hound where they agonize about what else he is getting up to. (Honorable mentions to Hounds that incite the largest number of neighboring canines to join in). Corporate Sponsor: Bose.
Couch Eating Marathon: Prize awarded to Hound who can consume the most couch in the fewest number of hours when left alone by unsuspecting humans who crave a few hours of recreational time that do not involve their Hound. Hound awarded humans who dare never leave him alone again. Humans awarded a major vet bill and a book on tatami mats. Corporate Sponsor: Ethan Allen.
Towing Marathon: Prize awarded to the Hound causing the most shoulder dislocations and the most pull downs (points deducted from Hounds who stop when their human goes down) over exciting 26 mile course rife with lady Hounds in season, small, fast moving mammals, and people trying to have picnics. Hounds awarded a dip in the ornamental fountain of their choice. Humans awarded the fine that comes with a dip in the ornamental fountain of their Hound’s choice as well as a complementary trip to the luxury emergency room of their choosing. Corporate Sponsor: Blue Cross.
Filching Food Marathon (indoor division): Prize awarded to the Hound who displays the most persistence and versatility in identifying and obtaining food items and sources, including but not limited to, the refrigerator, the garbage bin, kitchen cupboards, people’s dinner plates (extra points for those of guests), kitchen counters, the dishwasher, the kitchen floor, the TV tray, bagged lunches, used utensils and the litter box. (No points awarded for raiding bags of kibble or dog treats). Hound awarded an all you can eat trip to Grom Gelato. Humans awarded a year’s supply of poop bags and diarrhea medicine. Corporate Sponsor: Kaopectate.
Filching Food Marathon (outdoor division): Prize awarded to the Hound who is the most resourceful scavenger of outdoor food items including but not limited to: people’s picnics, the remains of people’s picnics, people trying to eat sandwiches on park benches, people’s meals at outdoor cafes, pedestrians dangling food items from their hands, horse poop, small animal spoor, children with snacks, children’s strollers containing snacks, deceased birds and rodents, live birds and rodents (extra points) and expensive ornamental plants and grasses. Hound awarded contents of park garbage bins. Humans awarded fines for their Hounds littering contents of park garbage bins. Corporate Sponsor: NY City Dept. of Finance.
Bad Behavior Marathon: This is a lifetime achievement award given to Hounds whose lives exemplify the flexibility, resourcefulness and persistence of Hounds in being annoying, destructive, disobedient, obstructive and really messy. And just as virtue is its own reward to humans (allegedly) so bad behavior is its own reward to Hounds (non-allegedly) so no additional prize is awarded other than those the Hound has already managed to obtain by himself. Humans are awarded a Hound and all the stories that go with him that somehow are so humorous in hindsight-- especially so to those who do not have to experience them firsthand. Corporate Sponsor: Tanqueray.
Well you get the idea. We Hounds are natural marathoners because once we get started doing something we seldom stop without some extreme form of intervention or restraint. And beware as most of our bad behaviors and habits last longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage and are not as easily disposed of. But fortunately we are very cute. And speaking of reality TV personalities, humans who acquire Hounds and then complain that we are stubborn, messy, sheddy, acquisitive, destructive, self interested, loud smelly and impossible to train (to which I would say, “And?”) remind my humans a lot of people who go on reality TV shows like Survivor and then complain that there’s no food or on The Biggest Loser and then complain that they have to do a lot of strenuous exercise and that it’s hard.
I mean just like these TV shows Hound character is not a big mystery or anything as people who stop to admire me find out ad nauseum from my humans (that is if they somehow fail to observe my baying, drool flinging and goosing on their own.). But humans do have an unfortunate tendency to judge a book by its cover and my cover is extremely appealing I will admit. But I am living proof that handsome is is not as handsome does. Platitudes do not apply to Hounds.
But speaking of being very cute, it turns out this week that I have a Mini Me from a most unexpected source. Elizabeth has been helping to take care of a French bulldog puppy in the neighborhood and sadly she was looking forward to dealing with a normal dog for a change. That was until Pluto refused to walk in a direction not of his choosing and exhibited a very reminiscent glare in response to her coaxing. And then when he did find a direction in which he wanted to go (the Park) he commenced running at the end of his leash operations that were all too familiar. Of course he doesn’t weigh 125 lbs. so when it all gets to be too much, Elizabeth scoops him up (I bet she wishes she could do that to me when I am being recalcitrant. Size has its advantages) and tucks him under her arm whereupon, he produces a creative variety of protesting noises.
And once in her apartment the puppy attacked the recyclable pile with a vigor that I can only admire and just like me, he precycled the plastic water bottles. He also supervised the preparation of Elizabeth’s dinner (which included trying to climb into the refrigerator) stood in front of Elizabeth and stared at her with an aggrieved expression when her dinner was not forthcoming, pointed his tush in her direction and emitted noxious gases and repeatedly banged my favorite lacrosse ball under the couch and then yelled at her to get it out. What’s not to love—he’s Mini Me! Some people are destined to be rich and famous, some people are destined to travel the world, some people are destined to produce large, happy families and Elizabeth is destined to deal with dogs like me. It’s comforting to think that I have such a capable deputy. But I think she would be bored with a regular dog. Or so I keep telling her to make her feel better.
I don’t have any picture of us together yet as attempts to walk us à deux have been less than successful; I have a tendency to terrorize the little tyke with my forceful baying and powerful sniffing. But I will persevere. We Hounds always do.
Well I think I will leave it there for now. I hope you are all enjoying the kind of frisky making autumn weather that we are currently having here in the Big Apple and I am certainly hoping for more of that snow stuff. Also for the neighbor’s cat.
Until next time,
Wimsey, a Marathon Hound
PS: Notice that one of the Marathon signs says "Run for Life" My humans also run for life, just not in the same way.