December 2, 2011
Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where there are Christmas trees aplenty for me to try to lift a leg on and holiday tourists aplenty for me to charm (or to terrify depending on how you feel about a giant baying Hound towing in your direction). My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have been putting in long hours leafing through catalogues and making their Christmas gift lists, which owing to the fact that my name is the only one on it somewhat mitigates the onerous nature of the operation.
But still, the decision as to whether I would prefer a stuffed gingerbread man or a bear with a Santa hat is never an easy one and is a cause for extensive deliberations. Both my humans’ apartments are littered with unsuccessful gifts (we Wimseys being stuffed toy and bone connoisseurs) and I have no compunction about turning up my considerable nose at a gift that I consider to be substandard. The fact that I never actually tell my humans what the standard is means that they spend even more of their lives trying to please me.
Add to the stuffed toy dilemma the decision about whether to purchase me a festive holiday ruff (and the attendant possibility that the festive holiday ruff will disappear into the regular black and tan ruff, wholly negating the festive effect) and whether an elf’s hat should be obtained should my antlers have been swallowed up by the closet (or by someone else) and deciding exactly how many bully sticks I require for the holidays, etc, etc. and you begin to understand the stresses and strains of the holiday season. But sadly, once again neither of my humans will have a Christmas tree—they both want one, but so do I. The idea that I can have an indoor urinal that is also a plentiful source of excellent sticks not to mention edible things that dangle is quite appealing to me and as a general rule things that are appealing to me have the opposite effect on my humans.
But I digress. This has been quite an exciting week—Elizabeth has been hosting Pluto, the 6-month-old French bulldog while his humans are out of town- which means that I acquired a puppy for the week! And such a small, funny little chap he is. He is Elizabeth’s first experience with a breed that was created solely for the purpose of companionship (rather than a breed created solely for the purpose of doing what it wants and ignoring what you want) and it’s been quite a revelation, although she is very confused by it all:
1. If she is sitting on the couch, Pluto considers it his duty to sit on the couch next to her (not to park himself painfully in her lap and demand to be scratched with both hand while drooling all over her clothes and making them stinky).
2. If she is taking a shower, Pluto, in true self-sacrifice mode, heroically tries to join her (he does not barge in, causing the door to fly open, creating a draft and then leave because he decides that being that close to the shower is potentially a risky proposition, especially when there is no turkey involved).
3. If she is preparing a meal Pluto sits politely in the kitchen in case his assistance is required (he does not relentlessly attempt to take a more active role in the proceedings or to sprawl out and monopolize the kitchen floor causing Elizabeth to trip and dump food in an accessible location).
4. If Pluto wants something he stares and makes polite snorty noises (he does not emit an endless series of high decibel bays causing his humans to run for the aspirin and give him what he wants to shut him up).
5. If Elizabeth is working at the computer Pluto lies contentedly at her feet (he does not push aside the keyboard return in order to replace it with his head or pin her wrists to the keyboard or fling drool on the monitor or go under the desk and unplug all the wires).
6. If Pluto’s attempt to board the bed is rebuffed he lies quietly on the floor by the foot of it (he does not get on the bed anyway, run his drool dripping wrinkles all over her face while snuffling loudly then plop down, shoving her to the edge of the mattress and snore loudly).
7. If Elizabeth needs to remove something from Pluto’s mouth he gives it up willingly (he does not decide to swallow it in a gulp, or take off at a run or take the opportunity to play a rousing game of tug of war in which he has a weight advantage).
8. When Pluto goes outside he immediately runs to the curb and relieves himself (he does not consider that the decision as to where to deposit his waste is a real estate question whose magnitude is only equaled by New Yorkers deciding which small, over priced apartment to buy. And he does not decide that the more inclement or frigid the weather the more time must be spent judiciously inspecting potential sites.).
9. When Pluto hears an “uh uh” or a “No Pluto” he immediately stops what he is doing (he does not decide that these are words of encouragement whose meaning is that he is on to something really good).
10. When Pluto hears “sit” or “down” he does it! (He does not behave as if he is suffering from congenital loss of hearing which can only be miraculously cured by the sound of the refrigerator door opening).
What can I say—Pluto genuinely wants to please humans and I genuinely want humans to please me. But don’t worry, I am working on him. I took him down to the lake where there are always picnic remains to be scavenged or cadged. And he appeared to be an adept pupil. He actually had never been to Central Park before—Riverside Park being closer and his legs being shorter than mine. Nevertheless, he took to it like a park pro, and it turns out that we both share an abiding and discerning interest in sticks.
So I appointed him my stick caddy—my l’homme de stick as it were (he is a French bulldog after all). He fetched sticks and I commandeered them because size does have its privileges and generosity is not in my genes.
Then we staged an epic and prolonged duel for the benefit of a crowd of onlookers: Bloodhound vs. Frenchie, two falls out of three (or perhaps fifty-one out of a hundred). Given the fact that I outweigh Pluto by over a hundred pounds I battled from a prone position—not the least of which was because it was the only way he could actually reach me. He was quite an impressive adversary, especially given that when we first met I terrorized the little fellow with my forceful baying and the power of my olfactory inhalations.
But of course in any combat spectacle of this nature it is the potential for injury that thrills the crowd—and Maria and Elizabeth gave the crowd their money’s worth with long leash entanglements that threatened to send one or both of them to the emergency room. There really is nothing quite as terrifying as being encircled by the leash of a 125 lb., Hound in fierce pursuit of a French Bulldog puppy, at least I assume so given the decibel level of the shrieking going on. Pluto and I of course were fine, Hounds not being terribly keen on activities that lead to discomfort of any kind and Pluto being a promising pupil. Also, given Pluto’s age and how low he is to the ground his body seems to have all the properties of finely honed rubber ball. Needless to say, there are no pictures of the event as my humans selfishly chose to focus their energies on keeping their bones intact rather than recording the match for posterity.
Then I took Pluto to visit my friends at the pedicab stand and some of the drivers who usually hide behind their pedicabs when I show up in full acoustic, tail whipping, butt swinging frenzy actually came out to pet him. And unlike me, he fit on the seat! (Most of the pedicab seats being of too narrow a dimension to accommodate the generous proportions of the Wimsey tush.)
So a good time was had by all this week—especially when Pluto visited me in my little garden and I showed him how to hunt the cat toys (so I could commandeer them) but at least he is of a more appropriate size to play with them, however briefly. I have great hopes for him and the cat flap. The cat not so much.
It is a pleasure to be a role model for a young canine—he already shows a great deal of potential-- particularly in his ability to turn into a concrete lawn ornament when he doesn’t want to go in a particular direction. Sadly for him though, he just get scooped up and tucked under an arm. A problem I don’t appear to have.
Well I will leave it there for this week. I am done with all my antibiotics so there is Grom Gelato in my future. I wonder if Pluto likes gelato? I’m sure his humans would be thrilled to have him acquire my sophisticated palate and the gas that goes with it.
Until next time,
Wimsey, Mentoring Hound