Friday, January 28, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #198

Entry #198

January 28, 2011

Hello everyone, Wimsey here, finally back in the saddle (or the lap) coming to you from the Artic-like climes of New York’s Upper West Side (although I suspect the weather is more temperate in the Arctic these days). Apparently global warming has created a gap in the Arctic atmosphere causing air masses to escape to New York City. If I were an Artic air mass I would want to escape to New York City too—where’s the fun in annoying the caribou when one can throw a serious monkey wrench into the lives of the stiletto heeled, and Gucci loafer-clad masses.

If you read this blog you know that I have been absent owing to the January birthdays of both my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth, each of whom is one year older but no wiser as I am still in residence ruling their lives with an iron paw. And as is traditional around here I receive gifts on their birthdays, the feeling being that just having me in their lives is gift enough for them. So bully sticks and rawhides have been raining from the skies (or the closets) and a wine maker friend of Maria’s sent a squeaky wine bottle (when Elizabeth first saw it lying in the middle of Maria’s living room she thought it was something new I had stolen, she has such a suspicious mind).

So what has been going on around here? Well that would be SNOW. If I ruled the world we would have these conditions year round. There has been an unprecedented amount of snow here in New York City and there has been snow on the ground continuously since the day after Christmas. Sheer heaven as snow retains scent to a remarkable degree, making for extended sessions of snow tracking. And the fact that the snow makes Central Park look like a picture postcard goes largely unrecorded as it is deemed advisable that even with the use of crampons and a gentle leader, two hands be kept on my leash at all times lest someone other than myself end up in a snow bank.

And speaking of the scent that snow collects, I have determined that there is a lady dog in heat somewhere in the neighborhood and she is walked across the street from Elizabeth’s building. This has led to strenuous attempts to inhale her scent, towing backwards and forwards over the same area, which my humans feel does not make for a very interesting or eliminatorily satisfactory walk. The scent also wafts into Elizabeth’s apartment so I have been spending my afternoons standing at her door producing an assortment of piteous vocalizations. At first this led her to believe that I was having a toilet emergency and she dropped everything to hustle me outside. But after an hour of walking back and forth over the same patch of ground there was much head scratching before the light began to dawn.

And speaking of toilet emergencies, my stomach has not been very good for several months and all the usual methods to remedy this (antibiotics, rice, pumpkin, etc.) have failed. So the ladies decided it was time for a change of diet and came up with the brilliant idea of trying a food that has become very popular in New York—Dr. Harvey’s. Now for those of you unfamiliar with the food, it consists of dried organic grains and legumes and other healthy stuff that is reconstituted with hot water to form a gruel into which fresh meat straight from the supermarket is added. Now my humans

realized that this might get a tad expensive given my size and occasional voracious eating style, but they had no idea that I would manage to eat about a $100 worth of food in less than a week. Also I lost ten pounds that I did not need to lose, prompting much jealousy and the thought that maybe they should eat Dr. Harvey”s. Also although the food changed the scent of the copious quantities of gas that I produce it had no effect on the amount. And there was no improvement in the firmness of my poop which was the whole point of the exercise in the first place. So now they put me on California Natural which has taken care of the stomach problem—that is, when they can get me to eat it which is not very often unless it has been nutritionally enhanced with the contents of the refrigerator. So they are back to spending many happy hours researching the ingredients of dog foods which makes for some fascinating reading.

Well we as we approach February my thoughts turn nostalgically to the advent of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, I have a great fondness for Westminster, having been shown there three times. Of all the places I have behaved badly nothing tops Westminster for the duration and breadth of opportunity. From pacing and galloping around the ring, to refusing to keep my feet where Elizabeth carefully placed them (otherwise known as stack dancing for which I was justifiably famous), to impromptu ring concertizing, to successfully evading the drool rag, to trying to make a love connection with the lady contestants, to trying to gait with my nose pressed to the ground to get a whiff of everyone who’s been there before me, to trying to stick my nose in the rumps of adjacent hounds--the fun just never stopped. But as Westminster is a benched show and I had to be on the premises for eight hours the in ring stuff was a small part of the fun. I spent many happy hours goosing unsuspecting spectators, presenting my posterior when people wanted to take my picture, engaging in extended high decibel singing, refusing to relieve myself in the designated areas leading my humans to fear for my health, trying to mess up the hairdos of the fancier dogs and just generally having a great time.

And this year there are a few new breeds (including the fierce Cane Corso for whom I was once mistaken causing my testicles to swell with macho pride. It is also a breed that is a favorite of Elizabeth’s because unlike the non-fierce bloodhound, they apparently listen to her) and two of them are Hounds! The Bluetick Coonhound and the Redbone Coonhound will be exhibited for the first time. All this makes me think that another fine addition to the show would be the Wimseyhound (Sanguinarius houndus horribilis)


The Wimseyhound Breed Standard

General Appearance

The Wimseyhound is a Hound of size and power giving the immediate impression that he can pull or knock over even the strongest of handlers. His coat should be thick and glossy, owing its appearance to the profuse shedding of substandard hairs. When he moves, his head should be plastered to the ground as his nose searches for the scent of discarded food, deceased rodents and accommodating tourists carrying plastic water bottles (preferably Poland Spring).

Size, Proportion and Substance

Height for males should be at least 28 inches at the withers as befits a race of giant Hounds capable of doing immense damage to the spaces in which they reside. The Hound must be high enough to reach items and objects inaccessible to lesser Hounds. Wimseyhounds should weigh as much as possible given the amounts they inhale from their food bowls augmented by the amounts that they liberate from counters, refrigerators and people’s dinner plates.

Head

The head of the Wimseyhound must be flat on its top yet come to a point at the rear conveying the degree the breed’s intellectual abilities. There should be a noticeable stop on its muzzle (the only stop the breed possesses, it being of a vigorous and determined character). The muzzle must possess prominent flews capable of storing an unlimited amount of drool, hiding pills and ferrying odoriferous decaying organic matter from the outdoors into its abode. The capacious flews must also be capable of secreting multiple pieces of kibble for subsequent deposit in beds, clothing and shoes. Overall the head must have a robust and elastic rotational capability allowing the Hound to fling both drool and solid matter over great distances and to great heights. Moreover the head should be of large size and of sufficient weight to easily pin wrists and hands to computer keyboards

The Eyes

The eyes should give the Wimseyhound the appearance of having had a few too many cocktails the night before, lending it a sympathetic air of an animal in need of a substantial post libation fry up. The eyes should be clear owing to the constant attention of humans to remove the gunk and goo. The eyes of the Wimseyhound can be by turns sneaky, manipulative, innocent or pleading as the expression of the eyes must demonstrate sufficient versatility to ensure that the Hound gets what it wants at all times.

The Ears

The ears should be of a luxurious length, reaching at least to the tip of the Hound’s nose, and capable of being an alternative source of outdoor detritus ferrying. They should be heavy enough to inflict substantial pain on nearby humans—the so-called characteristic “ear whip” and to make a loud, snapping sound when shaken that is capable of waking even the soundest sleeping human in the middle of the night. The ears must be densely furred allowing water, drool and other inconvenient liquids to adhere for subsequent transfer to clothing, furniture and walls.

The nose

The nose must be prominent, cold and wet in order to achieve maximum effect in its unexpected encounters with bare human flesh.

The Teeth

The teeth must be of an even appearance and convey the strength necessary to shred even the densest fabric and chew through the largest pieces of furniture.

The Neck

The neck must be strong and muscular and capable of resisting the largest of prong collars. Its lovely dewlap must frame the Hound’s charming face lending it a distinguished Elizabethan air. The dewlap must be kept in top condition by frequent stroking of an extended duration.

The Body

The Wimseyhound must have a deep chest and well sprung ribs giving it the oxygen capacity it needs to tow humans over rough ground for the entire day and to vocalize at volumes that make it suitable for appearances at the Metropolitan Opera House. The straight topline lends the Hound a balanced and pleasing appearance while the size of the body makes it especially effective when body slamming or otherwise persuading humans of the advisability of getting out of its way.

Legs and Feet

The legs should be strong and muscular with hindquarters capable of propelling the Hound with sufficient force to topple humans coming home from work. The forequarters must be flexible enough to thwack at a wide range of angles. The feet must be very large and resemble bear claws both in form and function. The Hound’s feet must be capable of shredding both fabric and paper of high density as well as calling immediate human attention to a Hound in full thwack. Nails should be long and luxurious (cutting is grounds for disqualification) and must inflict the characteristic “tire track” pattern on human flesh. The pads must be sensitive and require extensive anointing with soothing emollients to keep the Hound happy in winter weather.

The Tail

The tail must be long and curved, thick and powerful at its base allowing for maximum clearance of expensive coffee table knickknacks, beverages and electronic devices. The tail must be strong enough to cause substantial pain when used on companion human animals causing them to hop about and shriek.

The Coat

The coat must be short and dense with uncomfortable spikey hairs that can be shed in porcupine fashion and which have exceptional adhering ability, principally when applied to the insides of bras and panties. The coat must be porous enough to hold and retain the characteristic houndy odor that is the hallmark of the breed and tenacious enough to resist all attempts to wash it away. The porous nature of the hair must also act as a vehicle for conveying quantities of smelly mud while its non-drying properties require extensive and extended towel massages when wet. (NB: Hair dryers must never be used on the Wimseyhound).

Gait

Shoulder dislocating

Color

Wimseyhounds can be any acceptable Hound color. However, the preferred color for the Wimseyhound is the one that stands out in greatest relief against one’s clothing and furniture.

Character

See blog posts #1-198. (The short version: stubborn, determined, willful, contrary and annoying. But they are very cute)

Disqualifications

Obedience.

I think there are enough Wimseyhounds out there that we would have quite a competitive class. And that’s not even counting the field trials!

Anyway, I think that’s it for this week. Time to go hunt for that lady Hound and drive my humans (more) insane.

Until next time,

Wimsey(hound)















Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #197

Entry #197

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 cafĂ©! 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

















Friday, January 7, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #196

Entry #196

January 7, 2011

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey coming to you on this snowy Friday on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where as usual I have been holding court among the city’s admiring denizens. What can I say—to see me is to want to photograph me, touch me or feed me your lunch. Such is the destiny of an eye catchingly attractive Hound such as myself. But I am also enjoying the wintry climactic conditions aided and abetted by the fact that December’s blizzard caused mounds of garbage bags to accumulate on the streets—all of which clearly present a urinary challenge to a male Hound too good not be taken full advantage of. And I am also finally having my way with those Christmas trees—apparently being horizontal robs them of their magical powers.

As you can see, I am wearing my new snow suit (aka the Speedo) so when the red one is wet I have a dry one to use. My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth believe that this new one makes make me look like a character from the movie, Tron and it is accordingly now known as the Tron Speedo. I think being a character in Tron sounds pretty good. imgres.jpeg

Tron: Wimsey’s Legacy

Maria: My computer has been acting weird lately.

Computer guy: Well at least you didn’t spill coffee on it triggering an airborne terrorist alert. So how weird could your problem be?

Maria: You’ll see.

Computer guy: OK, let’s turn it on. Does it always make that noise? Must wake the neighbors.

Maria: Yes. It only stops when I type in the word “turkey”

Computer guy: OK. Well let’s do some routine things like going to weather.com. Hmm… I don’t ever think I’ve seen a report quite like this—“chance of raccoons 20%, squirrel activity index: high 6am-9am tapering

off throughout the day, winds out of the northwest at 10 miles per hour bringing the strong scent of that intact female from 93rd street, estimated chance of annoying photography less than 20% due to bright sunlight, temperature 40 degrees creating conditions safe from the forcible wearing of apparel, chance of towel massage due to muddy park conditions 40%, food toting tourist density index: 50%, small child food snatching index: 30%, chance of picnickers: 0%, Hound petting index: high….

Maria: Did you get to the part where it displays a leash icon and demands a walk? If you don’t close the weather report before that shows up the computer starts baying again.

Computer guy: Well how about MapQuest?

Maria: Bad idea. No matter what address I put in it shows me the way to a pet store.

Computer guy: Yahoo finance?

Maria: The price of bully stick futures.

Computer guy: Yelp?

Maria: Reviews of gelato stands.

Computer guy: Amazon?

Maria: Cookbooks for dogs.

Computer guy: Wikipedia?

Maria: The history of the bloodhound.

Computer guy: Orbitz?

Maria: 5 star hotels that accept dogs.

Computer guy: Ask.com

Maria: Well you can ask, but the only answer you get is about Hounds.

Computer guy: How about social networking sites?

Maria: The only one you’re allowed to network with is Wimsey. He is very chatty, but it’s a very limiting social circle.

Computer guy: Well how about your work files?

Maria: When I try to access those I get an error message saying that I am attempting an illegal operation. And my Excel files are now spreadsheets and graphs that seem to be about poop production and the parts of a cow.

Computer guy: I also see he’s been busy writing emails to Cesar Millan and challenging him to a duel.

Maria: Yes, Wimsey ate too many 19th century novels as a puppy.

Computer guy: Well you clearly have no control over your computer. We need to find a way to force Wimsey out of cyberspace and back into the real world.

Maria: On second thought, let’s leave him in there. Having no control over your computer is a big improvement over having no control over your life!

I think that I could have a lot of fun in cyberspace—eating files and disrupting operations and so forth-- as long as I didn’t have to wear that Tron suit all the time.

Anyway, we had a bit of real excitement here this week. Big cities can be dangerous places and this Sunday I was mugged by a retriever who bit my ear—it all happened so quickly that Maria was unable to determine whether the perp was the flat coat who lives in Elizabeth’s building who has beef with me or some other canine criminal of the Labrador persuasion.

The attack happened down the street from Elizabeth’s building, so she was swiftly summoned and arrived in the lobby armed with cotton balls, Neosporin and turkey (essential items of Hound first aid). Fortunately the doorman had obtained a roll of paper towels which was quickly applied along with the turkey to stop the bleeding in a very satisfactorily gustatory manner.

On Monday morning I was hustled over to the vet’s for some stitches and antibiotics which very conveniently have to be taken with food, which very conveniently means that I get scrambled eggs at pill time to make sure I have a meal (generally I am a free feeding kind of Hound—often to be heard loudly crunching kibble at unsociable hours by my sleep deprived humans) And of course this means that my humans are extra indulgent, although exactly how stretches the imagination. It has been somehow deemed

contrary to my recovery that I be hauled out of the park in anything resembling a normal amount of time and I must admit I have been especially insistent this week about the extensive nature of my afternoon park walks. In fact so much so that I barely have time for a spot of lunch and a kip before it’s time for the next one! And Elizabeth had to submit my vet bills to my long-suffering insurance company (Embrace Insurance which I highly recommend) and had to answer their questions about what happened (the “this time” being implied). I’m a legend over there. Anyway, all things considered, I’m thinking that perhaps I can hire this rogue retriever to give me a little nip now and then.

As you can tell, it can generally be said of me that I have trained my humans well and preparatory to the TV show offer that I am expecting any day, I have started to compile some of my best commands. They are of a necessity non-verbal but that by no means makes them any less effective. Here are a few of my favorites:

Wimsey’s Human Training Lexicon

The Cookie Face (stationary): This is a stare, frequently accompanied by a suggestive licking of the muzzle and is meant to convey the desire to be hand fed a cookie. It is a versatile command and can also be adapted to be a Pizza Face, a Gelato Face or a Chinese Takeout Face. When combined with vigorous baying it morphs into that Wimsey classic, the Water Bottle Face. For those Zoolander fans out there it has often been compared to Blue Steel. I think of it as Hound Steel.

The Cookie Face (ambulatory): In this plein air maneuver I use the Cookie Face but move sideways like a giant Hound Crab in order to both achieve forward momentum and maintain the eye contact necessary to achieve the full force of the Cookie Face. Being fed cookies whilst one is out and about is a most gratifying to the largest number of senses and it is one of my best-loved commands. The Cookie Face (ambulatory) has the added benefit of delaying undesirable homeward journeys, especially when combined with a panoply of other tactics such as laborious sniffing, extensive marking, standing still, walking in the opposite direction and greeting passersby.

I Want Water: This is an excellent command (and is also a helpful delaying tactic) and involves towing over to a fountain and refusing to move. In Spring, Summer and Autumn I am watered from the fountain using the portable bowl my humans must carry at all times and in the winter from the canteens that they carry strapped over their bodies (or should I say over their thick down Hounding jackets, since when they are wearing them it is not at all clear that they have bodies).

The “Why is there just kibble in this bowl of kibble” face: This is my lunchtime ritual face over at Elizabeth’s wherein I follow her about after we come in from our afternoon walk and stare fixedly at her—or at the refrigerator if we are in the kitchen-- until suitable fixings are added to my dish.

Walking Equipment Extortion: I employ this ritual no matter how much I want to go out. It is a matter of Hound Principle (otherwise known as the “pay the toll to the troll” rule) that if my humans want my cooperation they must pay for it. In order for it to be especially effective (or aggravating, depending on your point of view), I first pester a human to go out. As they are getting ready, I lie down and make snorey noises. When approached with a piece of equipment I roll over indicating the desire for a belly rub. After this is completed I allow (sometimes) my collar to be put on. Next, the harness is presented. I remain inert. A cookie is then proffered. If it appeals to me I rise and permit myself to be harnessed as I munch. If not, I remain immobile and employ the “What Else You Got” face. This will result in the offer of a play session with my Squeaky Dog. If I sense my human is in a hurry, I eschew the dog in the expectation that a piece of turkey will most certainly be forthcoming. Of course I also make use of the Chase Me command when gentle leaders, haltis or coats appear. If I am feeling especially obnoxious I revert to lying down, rolling over and repeating the whole cycle for each piece of equipment.

Prepare to Be Boarded: This command alerts the human to the fact that their lap or the space next to them on the couch is now required and will shortly be occupied by a giant Hound. The command involves approaching the seated human (preferably as they are trying to do something on a laptop or read the papers or talk on the phone) and swish my tail in a long, low movement. This signal alerts them to the fact that unless they want my tush to call their nearest and dearest or to otherwise crush, crumple and mutilate whatever is on the couch, they would be well advised to clear the decks sharpish. The Prepare to Be Boarded Command is often followed by the “Thwack” command which indicates an urgent need to be scratched (preferably with both hands).


Anyway, I am sure my human training prowess is one of the many reasons that my humans cringe when someone comments on how well behaved I am. Like everything else, it depends on your point of view. (As an aside, it cracks me up when some stranger we’ve just met on the street looks at me and tells me to sit. They clearly know nothing about dog breeds as they expect something to happen other than a blank stare. Telling a bloodhound sit is a lot like telling a guard a Buckingham Palace to smile—a futile and unrewarding exercise more entertaining for onlookers than for the participants).

Well I will leave it there for this week. We are expecting intermittent (but sadly light) snow for some of the week so am intending to engage in a pre-snow towing napathon.

Until next week,

Wimsey, a commanding presence