Friday, April 29, 2011

Wimsey's Blog:Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #209

Entry #209

April 29, 2011

Hello everyone, it’s me Wimsey—yes I’m BAAAACK—once again coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and let me tell you I am happy to be doing so. I did not plan so long an absence but the dramatic events of the last two weeks necessitated the extended break, as you shall hear. My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are also overjoyed to have me back--so that is an indication of the magnitude of the drama surrounding these last two weeks.

But first let me say the main beneficiary in these unforeseen events is probably the royal family, as I will not have time to comment on the wedding in this post. This should probably come as a relief to most of you (and certainly to Wills and Kate) as it seems like TV, print and online media have turned last week into an interminable version of the Wedding Channel. And like Hounds, a little wedding goes a long way. But I was not invited to the festivities probably owing to the fact that there would be a lot of people in light colored clothing (and in spite of the fact that a friend of Elizabeth’s used to regularly cruise by the Middleton’s to pick up children’s party apparatus for her little tykes). Six degrees of separation and all that obviously counts for nothing. Their loss.

Anyway, on with the show: so two weeks ago on Friday evening I suddenly felt very ill. So ill that I started shaking, which prompted Maria to call for Elizabeth (my medical proxy) who came running to assess the situation (fortunately she only lives a block away). The decision was quickly made to take me to New York Veterinary Specialists, a 24/7 veterinary hospital that is one of the finest medical/surgical facilities in the New York area. And due to the fact that I was reluctant to move, my humans called a pet ambulance service, Ambuvet ( since I had conveniently timed my illness just as Pet Chauffeur and Pet Taxi had closed down for the night.

Well, it was all very exciting—like an episode of ER. My vitals were taken by the Ambuvet vet tech and pronounced good—certainly good enough for me to refuse to be carried out on the stretcher and to hop into the ambulance under my own steam (which prompted the ambulance guys to ask if my humans still wanted me taken to the hospital). And even though I was sick, the ambulance was way cool, as was being escorted into the hospital by the ambulance team to summarize the case to the doctors, just like they do on TV. I highly recommend these guys. (As an aside, the admitting desk has a long row of all the specialist vet’s business cards and Elizabeth went up and down the row pointing out to Maria the many doctors by whom she had had me evaluated over the years for the plethora of unusual but innocuous problems with which I tend to be blessed).

Anyway, after some preliminary poking and prodding (none of which would be complete without a finger up the bum) it was determined that I probably had (TMI alert) a recurrence of a nasty prostatic abscess I had two years ago. To make a long story short, I was admitted to the hospital where two days of IV antibiotics did nothing to shrink the abscess (Hound abscesses apparently being as uncooperative as Hounds themselves) and I was forced to undergo major abdominal surgery to remove the abscess. Of course, this being New York, it was fancy major abdominal surgery—the ne plus ultra in prostatic abscess removal where they use some internal abdominal tissue to create a better blood supply for the prostate to reduce the chances of recurrence.

Needless to say, my humans did not eat and did not sleep (nor did a variety of our friends) for an entire week and the horror of the bill was quickly superseded by the horror of the prospect of not having me around to ruin their lives anymore. And I confess I was not in the best shape—I don’t do well with anesthesia and I became anemic and very nearly needed a blood transfusion.

The ladies were asked to visit a week ago Wednesday night to see if they could get me to eat something and various appealing comestibles were brought, including Maria’s mother’s Hungarian honey cookies of which I am inordinately fond. Well at some point during the night these cookies exerted their customary appeal and they were the first things I ate. I am attributing my miraculous recovery (miraculous at least in the eyes of my humans if not my doctors who I am sure have seen much worse) to the power of the pastry. I mean who needs round the clock ICU nurses, antibiotic drips and pain meds when one has a pound of Maria mère’s famous Hungarian honey cookies? With each bite I could almost hear the voice of this superb cuisinière cooing “ Eat Wimsey, eat. Would you like some chicken paprika or perhaps a chunk of nice Hungarian salami or maybe my special dessert crepes?” And the doctors are wondering why I turned up my nose at their hamburger!

But I digress. Now as you can imagine I was not at all happy with my situation and this fact was reflected in my somewhat forceful demeanor which resulted in my kennel being decorated with the sign below. I couldn’t be more proud! After a lifetime of being mistaken for an adorable floppy stuffed toy (albeit a large, adorable floppy stuffed toy) here I was finally with some canine street cred. I can now hold my head up high next time I meet Bruno the Rottweiler.

So last Friday, much to everyone’s relief, especially those who had to come within close proximity (I had been overdue for a bath when I was admitted so the stench at discharge defies description) I was released! And several hours later our good friends Paul and Ilonka arrived for their planned Easter visit (Paul runs my brewery, Baying Hound Aleworks,

Well you can imagine all the care and concern with which I was surrounded---I had four grown adults falling over themselves to admire me whilst I slept, to fluff up my new Wimsey green duvet and to proffer tempting bits of food. Elizabeth and Ilonka trotted off to Fairway to purchase some eatables and came back with a sumptuous selection of French and Spanish cheeses. I was offered each of them in turn

and selected a very fine Morbier. Maria offered me an old piece of Brie from the refrigerator and was sternly reprimanded for offering me anything other than the preferred Morbier. And on Saturday night I was brought around the corner to see if perhaps I could bring myself to consume a cup of Grom Gelato—this artisanal gelato being second only to Hungarian honey cookies in its recuperative powers. The answer was a slurp and drool filled affirmative.

And to top off all the indignities to which my humans are heir, they were following me around for the first few days dipping tissues into my urine, (because it was initially a strange color), to make sure there was no blood. I think pretty much that and the excitement amongst everyone when I passed gas for the first time were the weekend’s highlights.

During my recuperation it seems like all the things that generally annoy my humans were now cause for intense celebration. So it was all:

“Look Wimsey’s poking his nose into someone rear end!” and

“Wimsey farted! Isn’t that wonderful!” and

“Wimsey’s walking like a crab again so if I don’t give him a cookie I will trip over him!” and

“Wimsey’s gotten up on a bench and is refusing to leave the park!” and

“Wimsey is dragging me to the gelato store!” and

“Wimsey’s trying to sneak up on that squirrel!” and

“Wimsey’s baying!” and

“Wimsey’s pulling again!”

etc. Well you get the idea. Each day brought the return of some behavior for which I am usually castigated but which suddenly became cause for celebration.

On the subject of pulling, for instance, I was initially so enfeebled that I was walked on a regular collar—something that hasn’t been possible since I’ve been knee high to a fire hydrant. My humans were horrified. There was much relief when I needed to be moved to something stronger (in this case a slip chain, as I am still too sore for my harness) and I once again commenced towing operations. I haven’t been back to Central Park yet (not for want of trying, mind you) as I am still on restricted exercise. Fortunately, however, I live quite close to Riverside Park with which I am making do (grudgingly).

And then this Wednesday I gave my humans another scare—I was crying and carrying around my stuffed dog and refusing to walk. The ladies imagined more dramatic ambulance rides and emergency surgeries, etc. Actually, I was constipated. To combat this, the vet recommended feeding me some fruit--which brings me to the next topic in all of this—so many of the vet’s helpful suggestions were predicated on the belief that I was a normal dog. Bloodhounds are not normal dogs. Some of us do not consume something just because it is edible. The vet clearly did not consider the refined Wimsey palate which demands that each potential food item be extensively evaluated to determine whether it is worth the effort of masticating it. Fruit is a non-starter. This led my humans to consider all the things that normally give me the runs and to settle on beef chunks sautéed in oil (after much debate as to in which type of oil I would prefer to have my meat cooked). The irony is that Elizabeth had cooked me a variety of things and had laboriously and conscientiously removed the fat from all of them only to have to add back the fat in the end. I love being me.

The same problem applied to my exercise restrictions. “Short” walks just to relive myself were recommended. My humans scratched their heads—a short walk for me is an hour and while I was not up to much the first few days the length of my walks has inexorably lengthened as my health has improved. We bloodhounds do not do 15-minute walks unless we are very sick indeed, leading to increasingly intense leash struggles over my reluctance to go home. Fortunately plans are finally afoot this weekend for some hanging out time in Central Park as I have had a few of my surgical staples removed. And my fine wardrobe of cones has made its appearance (a stunning collection , patiently assembled over years of vet visits) which is much admired by everyone but me. I have elevated cone wrestling to an Olympic art.

Well I think that about covers it. I am on the mend. My humans not so much.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Fierce Hospital Hound

PS: My humans want to thank Dr. Mark Levy and his surgical and critical care team at New York Veterinary Specialist. I don’t. Grrr….

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #208

Entry #208

April 8, 2011

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where it’s been running hot and cold, dry and wet and everything in between making for some unpredictable Hound towing conditions. But fortunately all the plants couldn’t care less about the weather and my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have been forced to exert maximum effort to prevent me

from tip toeing in the tulips and pooping in the daffodils—one of my very favorite springtime activities. And even though it is spring I managed to find a pile of snow to climb on—the skating rinks are still open and I had quite a bit of fun disporting myself on this snow bank adjacent to the Harlem Meer rink. I made sure that daffodils were not the only thing that were yellow.

But before I go any further I want to announce that there will be no post next Friday owing to a schedule conflict and the following week the post, if I can get around to doing one, might be early owing to the Friday arrival of our friends from Baying

Hound Aleworks who are visiting me for Easter. Needless to say their visit is causing much excitement around here, what with all the scraping of drool off the walls and general tidying up—my human wouldn’t want her friends to think that a giant, smelly, hair shedding, drool flinging Hound was in residence or anything would she?

But I am anticipating the enjoyment of tooling around town with my newly expanded entourage in tow (literally) and providing them with a practical demonstration of the concept that all

roads lead to Grom Gelato (except those that lead to the Loeb Boathouse café ((tuna fish sandwiches)), the conservatory water snack shop ((cookies)) the ball park café ((beer and bratwurst)), Le Pain Quotidien ((chicken on a baguette)) and a myriad of Upper West Side pet stores. I mean what else could Paschal visitors to New York possibly want to see? Apart from me, that is.

But the spring weather not only brings out Hound loving, water bottle donating tourists but this enterprising fellow,

so I thought I’d avail myself of his services. (It’s probably the only thing I have availed myself of recently that hasn’t cost my humans oodles of dosh). And considering how much money New Yorkers spend talking to therapists and not really getting to a point where they can to stop talking to therapists, I’d say this guy probably can’t do any worse and he’s certainly a better value.

For the record, neither of my humans has a therapist—a shameful admission amongst New Yorkers—because 1) they’re chronically short the $200/ 45 minute “hour” that therapists charge owing to my expensive tastes in veterinarians and gelato and 2) they have me to talk to instead. As a Freudian I of course don’t say much and I prefer to be the one lying on the couch during our sessions, but I believe under my therapeutic aegis the ladies have attained valuable and actionable self-knowledge.

To wit, although like most humans they are in general pretty useless, they can derive existential meaning and enlightenment by complaining less and taking care of me more. When they are angry, annoyed, stressed or depressed really the best thing they can do is leash me up and let me take them for a refreshing tow around the park. And at the very least they won’t be able to fixate on any negative emotions because they will be too busy trying to keep their arms in their sockets and my nose out of people’s posteriors. And

of course watching me pee endlessly on things is very cathartic and by the time they can drag me home they will have forgotten what was bothering them under the weight of stolen water bottles, admiring tourists taking my picture, the necessity of keeping me out of flower beds and people’s shopping bags, the engaging in detailed and technical discussions about my bodily functions, the necessity of drool flinging and dog pouncing prevention and the plethora of other joys that constitute a walk with me. A walk in the park it isn’t. At least not for them.

So you might wonder what it was that I had to say to the lawn chair therapist? (I mean apart from confessing my desire to to mount the female members of my family when I was a puppy and my propensity to be anal retentive in inclement weather when my humans wish for a quick result)? Well for one thing, I will never understand why just as I am getting going into the fourth hour of our walk; my humans want to go home. The fact that Elizabeth has sprained ligaments in her feet (I wonder who did that?) is no excuse. And Maria insists on using the bed at night when it is clearly disruptive to my nap and there is a perfectly comfortable living room rug for her to sleep on. Also, Elizabeth refuses to get rid of her current couch and buy the extra deep kind that my tush fits so much better on. I could go on, but I am hoping to run into the therapist again. Maybe he’ll have his earplugs this time.

Well what else is new around here? My humans are once again watching Dancing With the Stars and on this season they have the second generation rap artist, Lil Romeo, who is the son of the infamous, non-dancing, all walking, Master P. And this got me thinking that rap stars have such cool names that perhaps Hounds should also have some colorful aliases:

Wimsey’s Suggestions For Giving Your Hound a Cool Name

50 Scents

I 8 it

Hairz II food

Busta Couch

Master Pee

Liva 4 me

Drule flinga

Cheez lova

Bigg Tush E

Grandmaster Dash

‘N Sane


C Houndz Steal Ur Pantz

D Hound in D Garbage

Hound 8 D Bed

U Mad I Glad

M’ake Mi

Da Noze

Gaz 4 U

Lil Brain

Earz in Ur Face

Noze in Ur Tush

Poyn T Head

Phat Phlews


Masta of U

Y U Scream

P Here P Dere P Everywhere

Poop Doggy Dogg

CrayZ Breed

Mia Got Ur Dinna

Smell E

I Co$ta Lot

QT Gangsta

Hairz Everywherz

Shooz R Us

Ham Master Bay

Pulla U Ova

Muddi Pawz

Sha R K

Thwack Masta Hownd

D Bayz in D Hood

Vetz New Pool

Wim Z

And there are actually rappers called Bone Crusher, Bossman and Da Brat which all by themselves are excellent Hound sobriquets.

This has also been a busy week for me towing Elizabeth into pet stores where, after I’ve sniffed all the merchandise to within an inch of its life and the staff have fed me treats, she feels too guilty to leave without buying me something The latest guilt purchases have involved Merrick bones which, if you haven’t encountered them, are basically pieces of cow with bits of dried stuff attached about which it is best not to enquire too closely.

So now Elizabeth’s apartment looks like a cross between an abattoir and Temperance Brennan’s laboratory at the Jeffersonian. You can chew and crunch on these things (helpfully embedding bone fragments in the carpet) and take apart some of the pieces. All in all a very satisfying experience (at least for me). But this week I was thrown off stride by the latest purchase—a beef knuckle bone called The Tank (all the bones inexplicably have military names—I have a Lieutenant at home in Maria’s apartment—which my humans find a bit creepy). This Tank bone may actually in fact be a bone and it may smell like a bone but it is definitely not shaped like a bone. I mean even my rawhides and treats are shaped like bones. So I spent the day periodically studying it and sniffing it and pushing it to see if it would run away. And like any Hound trained in the scientific method I formed a few hypotheses about what this bone might be:

1. It is a surplus dinosaur bone that the pet store bought from the American Museum of Natural History.

2. It belonged to an alien that had an unfortunate accident on the Upper West Side,

3. It’s something my humans found in the park and thought it would be disgusting enough to appeal to me.

4. It’s one of those canine IQ tests that my humans periodically administer to me to reassure themselves that they are still smarter than I am.

5. It’s a new way to try to get me to take my heartworm medicine.

6. It’s a trap—as soon as I start chewing it I’ll end up in the bathtub.

Well finally Elizabeth became exasperated—there is nothing like buying someone a present that you think they are going to love and they ignore it and take a nap instead. So she brandished it in front of my nose and kept trying to explain that it’s a bone and as a dog I should naturally want to chew on the thing. Needless to say this aroused my suspicions even more. As a Hound it is imperative to look gift horses very carefully in the mouth. I mean all the good stuff is the stuff my humans try to prevent me from having so what’s up with this bone?

As it turns out my humans think that chewing on these bones helps remove tarter and stains from teeth, so I was correct in surmising that there was an ulterior motive. (My humans are big on canine dental hygiene—in addition to brushing my teeth they have also discussed whether it might be possible to floss them. Shudder). But anyway, I did finally explore the bone and take it apart and hone my technique for chewing on non-bone shaped bones much to Elizabeth’s satisfaction. Until she saw the huge mess I had made with it. Drool+ bone fragments= carpet cement. But as I always tell her, no pain (hers) no gain (mine).

So I will leave it there for now. I’ll hopefully be back with you the week after next. Until then I’ll be dreaming culinary dreams about the Easter Bunny and wish you the same.

WimZ, Masta of Da Bonz