Friday, May 27, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #213

Entry #213

May 27, 2011

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, back from my personal appearance duties at the open house of Baying Hound Aleworks in Rockville, Maryland (aka My Brewery-- my face is on every label). The event is in honor of National Craft Beer Week, which makes me wonder why there is no National Wimsey Craft Week as I know that I can be as crafty as any beer—a fact to which my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth can well attest.

But before our adventure could begin I had one final vet appointment (at least for the week) to get the last of my stitches out from my abdominal surgery. Now as you can imagine getting me to lie down when I don’t wish to lie down is quite a daunting task so my vet tech Maurice channeled his inner car mechanic and came up with a different solution.

It looks more like I came in for an oil change and a lube job than for a veterinary procedure but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. (Humans dealing with me generally have a lot of inventing to do). And in addition to being cleared medically, my humans also determined that I was fit to travel on account of me being “in a mood” several days running—something they had not seen since I fell ill last month. Now “being “in a mood” usually garners a record number of “I hate you’s” from my humans but this time for some inexplicable reason it made them happy. Clearly my humans have not taken on board the key tenet of animal behavior that actions that are rewarded increase in frequency. So really, the next time I engage in extreme bouts of towing, baying, charging, poking and the generally obnoxious oppositional behavior so beloved of a Hound’s humans, it’s all their fault.

But I digress. Well on Thursday I was the uncooperative recipient of the Mother of All Baths—two full washes and rinses—that my humans deemed necessary to obliterate (at least for 24 hours) my epic case of Hound Stink. So much work for so little result. And while the ladies were swilling restorative cocktails and trying to get dry I managed to put away (in addition to ¼ pound of bath bribing turkey) 1 17 inch bully stick, 8 cups of kibble, 2 scrambled eggs cooked in butter, an additional ¼ pound of turkey, 1 steamed yam and the rest of Elizabeth’s Chicken Dijon. When I finally stopped trying to eat their pizza and lay down my humans noticed that my stomach resembled that of a snake that had consumed a large goat. Not a pretty sight the night before a road trip.

But as so often happens, God looks out for fools and small children (and I hope Hounds) and so in the end America’s highways were spared the intestinal consequences of my overindulgent Bath Night.

In a nutshell, here is what happened: Friday morning Elizabeth hopped on a train to Newark Airport where she had secured a great rate on a rental car (car rentals in New York City generally costing the GNPs of small nations). When she arrived she found that for the one and only time in her life her driver’s license was not where it was supposed to be. The clerk, looking at the pouring rain, opined that perhaps she was not meant to be on the road today. (Of course people from New York City are not meant to be on the road any day, but that is another story). So Elizabeth arranged to pay more money and rent from the East Side office of the rental car company. Hopeful of tracking down her wayward driver’s license, she got back on the train and prepared for a few hours delay in the proceedings. Then the train stopped outside of the Lincoln Tunnel due to “signal trouble” (New Jersey Transit code for “rain.”).

Well after a goodly amount of time, she got back in the city, found her driver’s license in a place where it had never been before and reluctantly concluded that she couldn’t blame it on me. So now the plan was to eat lunch, grab a cab, pick up the car and be on our way. But sadly, rain not only has the magical property of making trains stop, it also causes cabs to vanish. After a fruitless and soggy attempt at cab snaring (joined by half of the Upper West Side), she reluctantly undertook a slow and painful bus ride to the East Side.

But then at long last, finally, she was in a car! A Ford Edge SUV, which the rental car clerk, generously offered as the best car in the lot. It was as she was sitting in a lengthy crosstown traffic jam that Elizabeth noticed that the gas gauge was ominously sinking. By the time she had reached my apartment she had concluded that either the gas tank had a leak or there was something amiss with the gas gauge—neither condition being conducive to commencing a 5-hour trek in the pouring rain with a large Hound.

So back through the crosstown traffic it was to exchange cars. At the end of the day (I mean that literally) we had a Dodge Nitro SUV (4 paws up—handled well and had space for me and my stuff—at least for a weekend) but we unfortunately had it at 5pm! We put it in the valet garage under Elizabeth’s building for 6am pick up the next morning. I had meanwhile finally produced the Mother(s) of All Disgusting Poops throughout the day and although Elizabeth’s wallet was now empty at least so were my intestines.

Well the next day dawned fair and we were finally off-- Elizabeth tried to get a picture of our departure but I came barreling out of my building and into my car so fast that all there was was a black and tan blur with a screaming human behind. And of course the minute my humans were ensconced in the front seat I came forward (my car harness being of insufficient design to prevent this) to join them and to ascertain if Elizabeth still remembered how to operate an automobile. (In point of fact she only discovered the location of the hazard light at the end of the trip and the ladies never did figure out how to lock the trunk).

So these are the pictures from the trip with my elucidatory notes:

Here I am at a rest stop in Maryland, having just finished helping Elizabeth eat her sandwich.

And lest you think the automotive gods at last smiled on us, we ended up being an hour late for the open house because of traffic—apparently there is this road called The Beltway where traffic goes to die. As a consequence when we finally got there, this lovely bloodhound called Sophia, whom we had arranged to meet, was already waiting for us. Her humans had contacted Maria for advice before adopting Sophia as they had never had a bloodhound before. (There’s a sucker born every minute isn’t there—a good thing they asked Maria and not Elizabeth whose advice always consists of one word—“DON’T”).

But as frequently happens, the female of the species is a lot more civilized than the male and Sophia turns out to be happily devoid of a number of common bloodhound foibles. Of course teaching her commands is a whole other story—Elizabeth had a go at teaching her “down” and suggested that a mere 106 repetitions should do the trick. But she is lovely and she liked me, indicating that she is a Houndess of impeccable taste.

The open house was quite well attended, by the way, a fact not really obvious in the photos because trying to take pictures of me in a dense crowd that was simultaneously drinking fragrant beer and munching strong cheese was deemed inadvisable. So my photo ops were carefully chosen to avoid such hazards (although I did tow over to and bay pretty consistently at the cheese table with good result).

Here I am with two beer lovers and as you can see I am aspiring to be a beer lover too.

Next, this is me in the merchandise room—my favorite spot owing to the fact that it contains t-shirts with my picture on them, pint glasses with my picture on them, labels with my picture on them and bottles with my picture on them. (And it was just around the corner from the cheese table). You can in fact purchase the t-shirts and glasses at (click on BHA stuff to find the Baying Hound gift shop).

And no event would be complete without some serious belly rub time.

Finally, here I am with my Chief Brewer Paul, the human talent behind Baying Hound Aleworks. We are both looking forward to the day when Baying Hound (the beer) is available in New York City and I get to annoy people drinking my beer in my hometown.

After everything, it was a tiring day, so here I am taking a nap in Elizabeth’s room. My humans always get adjoining rooms when we travel so I essentially have a four bed suite to stretch out in. I am supposed to spend the night in Maria’s room because somehow Elizabeth has difficulty sleeping when there is a lot of snoring, water slurping and eat flapping going on, so I always make it a point to try and sleep in her room anyway.

So the next day we headed off to brunch with some cyber friends—serious bloodhound people that Maria knew when she had her first two Hounds. Although they don’t have any bloodhounds currently they are very familiar with our antics—here I am supervising the brunch proceedings (being tall is a very useful attribute in a bloodhound)

And there was a swimming pool in the back yard, which I inspected so closely that everyone was waiting for me to fall in. I didn’t—the only bodies of water that interest me are those in which I am not allowed-- such as the fountains and lakes of Central Park. I know everyone was expecting me to be obnoxious but as is customary with those of my contrarian nature, I was impeccably behaved (more or less). I always like to be on my best behavior when we travel so my humans have to listen to incessant cries of “Isn’t Wimsey a good dog!” They get this forced, fixed smile on their faces which is very gratifying.

Here I am with our friend Sue and her daughter's spaniel.

And then it was off for a hike in Rock Creek Park with Paul, his wife Ilonka and their bloodhound mix Bernie (he’s also Great Pyrenees and cocker spaniel!). Bernie may be only part bloodhound but he did manage to steal a large wad of turkey from Elizabeth’s backpack demonstrating that a little bloodhound goes a long way.

Rock Creek Park Rocks! It’s more than double the size of Central Park and a lot more deserted and forest-y. In fact, Maria was worried that I would find a body, just like they always do in the TV show NCIS. Instead I just joyfully towed Elizabeth over hill and dale (some lovely, slippery mud downhills there too!) as I know how much she missed me doing that over the last few days.

And I found this amazing source of excellent sticks.

But then alas it was time for us to leave the park. Here I am in Paul and Ilonka’s back yard preparatory to an early dinner and some more cheese feeding.

And finally, here I am on the way home in front of the excellent Dodge Nitro waiting whilst my humans tank up on Starbucks (we left at 6 am). I love road trips—a car, two captive humans, new admirers, people feeding me—what’s not to love

But before I end this post, I was contacted about a contest that a major dog food company is running. They are offering dog lovers an opportunity to win a $500,000 make over of their local dog park plus some cash. Here is the link: Looks like fun---and if any of you win, I’ll come for a visit! (Be sure to suggest the inclusion of a cheese table).

Anyway, Happy Memorial Day Weekend! It is Fleet Week here in Manhattan and I will be meeting and greeting our servicemen and women (and hopefully adding a new decoration to their uniforms). There was a Marine Band concert in Central Park yesterday, which I attended and augmented, in my usual vocal style. Hope you have as much fun.

Until next time,


From the halls of Montezuma

To the Shores of Tripoli

Humans everywhere must understand

That it is all about me!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #211

Entry #211

May 13, 2011

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey, nature’s large and stinky gift to Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been carrying on in my usual human-bedeviling fashion. I’ve been taking it easy though as I recover from my surgery-- although this week I did manage to drag my humans down to Riverside Park South where the Pier 1 Cafe is open and ready for me to make a colossal nuisance of myself. My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have never eaten there but plans are afoot to take me down there for a meal and let me entertain the patrons by baying for my supper.

And speaking of baying (and being a bloodhound when are we not speaking of baying) I am tentatively scheduled to take a road trip down to Rockville, Maryland to put in a personal appearance at Baying Hound Aleworks ( at their Saturday open house to celebrate National Craft Beer Week. It all depends on how I am feeling but I am generally always in favor of a road trip, especially ones that entail people feeding, petting and making a huge fuss over me.

And this time, as it is only over a weekend, my humans are going to try to stuff my chattels and me into a full sized car rather than the jumbo SUV we had for our trip to Buffalo and the Midwest last summer. This means I will have easier access to the front seat to exercise my supervisory activities and I can help Elizabeth hunt for the controls to open the gas tank so she can spend an hour relearning how to pump gas. And no doubt we will be staying in another pet friendly motel that will compare unfavorably with the Four Seasons and our stay will entail sneaking around trying not to let any of the staff set eyes on me (pet friendly has its limits when you are talking about a canine of my impressive stature and drool flinging prowess). And once again my humans will artistically drape the room and the car with the artistry of Christo whilst lugging a massive bottle of Febreze.

Anyway, if we do go we will be leaving next Friday so there may not be a blog post next week. But as crushing as that may be, I am sure to come back with some amusing tales. Exciting things happen anytime New Yorkers get behind the wheel of an automobile. (their cars should be equipped with special external blinking dunce caps).

It has been a quiet week but I have noticed that Elizabeth is watching all those dog training shows again. Funny how there never seem to be any Hounds on them—I guess that is because the shows are predicated on the trainers being successful (or at least successful in less than the lifetime of the animal in question). And it’s not really that we Hounds do anything terribly bad (aside from eating the contents of your house and such like) it’s just the attitude (or rather the panache as I like to think of it) with which we do it. And to fix that, a trainer would have to turn a Hound into a dog which would kind of defeat the purpose of having a Hound in the first place. For instance, according to various Internet sites these are the top 10 reasons to own a dog:

1. Exercise: dogs force you to exercise.

Hounds also force you to exercise (a lot, if you hope to keep even a modicum of your possessions intact) but we also force you to exercise so you are in good enough shape to exercise us. Failure to do so will result in being toppled and dragged on a regular basis and feeling like you are going to die whilst we happily tow you over hill and dale for hour after fun filled hour. Extra exercise points accrue when you chase your Hound around trying to relieve him of his latest prized possession which usually just happens to be your latest prized possession.

2. Make new friends: people stop to talk to you.

No, they stop to talk to your Hound. They couldn’t care less about you. This can lead to a serious case of low self-esteem. Plus the only people who actually do talk to you are those who want to scream at you about one of your Hound’s less appealing habits, like flinging drool in their faces or investigating the contents of the their grocery bags.

3. By paying attention to your attention-loving dog you forget about your own problems.

Of course paying attention to your Hound also can cause you problems—like his vet bill and all the hair your belly rubbing is spewing on the carpet and the bruises he leaves from sitting on you and thwacking you when he deems the petting to be of insufficient duration.

4. Dogs reduce stress: studies show dogs lower blood pressure

While it is generally true that dogs lower blood pressure, Hounds tend to have the opposite effect as the riling up of humans is one of our favorite sports. Between the stealing, chewing, digging, and furniture hogging and our ability to be amazingly clever about achieving our own goals and amazingly dense about achieving yours, the Hound is the whole gin sales generating package. There is nothing very blood pressure lowering about living with a spectacularly insubordinate animal whose greatest joy is in caring not one whit for anything you say.

5. Protection: Dogs alert you to the presence of strangers

Unless the stranger is a squirrel, a Hound’s humans are pretty much out of luck.

6. Good listeners: Dogs are good listeners and never argue with you

Hounds generally are champions at ignoring human conversation. Talking to one’s Hound in the absence of feeding him, stroking him or otherwise doing something to please him is likely to result in the Hound’s trotting off to find a quieter room in which to nap.

7. Dogs provide companionship—you are never alone with a dog in the house

Sadly, this is all too true with respect to having a Hound much to the chagrin of their humans. Need to avail yourself of the facilities? Your Hound needs to be right by your side to supervise and inspect the contents of the toilet (and if you are seated you are at the perfect height to scratch his head). Want a quiet soak in a hot tub? So does your Hound. Want to watch some TV? Pretty hard with a giant Hound head blocking the screen. Want to read the newspapers or even a book? Not so easy with the Hound chewing on them while you read. And of course no meal would be complete without a drooling Hound head resting acquisitively on the table.

8. Dogs get rid of unwanted critters on the property

Like friends. Suddenly no one is too eager to visit when they will encounter untold amounts of Hound stench, hair and drool. And for the record we are wholly useless on the eradication of more urban pests such as mice and cockroaches with whom we enjoy a live and let live relationship much to the consternation of our humans.

9. Dogs will provide unconditional love

Hounds are also big on unconditional love only we demand to be on the receiving end. We are definitely a transactional oriented group of canines and certainly require that our humans engage in Hound pleasing activities if they expect any affection from us. On the other hand we expect to be loved (if not worshipped) regardless of the havoc we wreak on property, possessions and bank accounts. The bottom line: we are worth it, you are not.

10. Dogs make you a better person—they make you kinder, more patient and more responsible

Hounds also make you a better person—they make you humble (hard to be proud when your Hound humiliates you in public on a regular basis by his conspicuous lack of regard for anything you might want him to do ((or not do)), they discourage materialism (hard to be materialistic when one is presented with daily evidence of the temporary nature of possessions), they encourage you to laugh (it’s either that or you cry) and most important, they engender a true appreciation of a finely made, strong cocktail.

Well in spite of being in recovery mode, things haven’t been completely dull around here. On Sunday we spent our usual long afternoon in Central Park, meeting and greeting and generally hanging out. There are a lot of things to do in the park and one of my very favorite areas is the beach volleyball court, principally because I am not allowed inside. But I am always fascinated by the sand and the fragrant sweaty people chasing after the balls (and the ladies enjoy the sight of some pretty well put together and not entirely clothed athletes of the male persuasion) and I do always try to be more than a spectator. Here I am trying to sneak in. And although I was prevented from playing I did make the acquaintance of two genial guardians of the gate who compensated me for my failure with their kind attention.

(New Yorkers as a rule always like to be appropriately dressed for any occasion. So for instance the people who play croquet wear white and you will notice that the people who play beach volleyball are dressed for a day in Cancun).

Anyway, I think that’s all for this week. So there might not be a post next week if I do indeed put in an appearance at my brewery. I am sure that the people drinking a Baying Hound will certainly enjoy listening to one.

Until next time,

Wimsey, the number 1 (and 2-10) reason why normal people should not have Hounds

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #210

Entry #210

May 6, 2011

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I am continuing my fun filled recovery from the abdominal surgery that sidelined me nearly three weeks ago. Of course the recovery is fun filled for me but not so much from my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who must deal with the consequences of a restive, convalescent Hound.

In the first place I have imposed the requirement that the contents of my food bowl be augmented with some combination of boiled chicken breast, boiled top round, steamed yams, canned tuna, scrambled eggs and chicken livers sautéed in butter. (Also, I like the meal to be moistened with the broth from the cooked beef). In fact my humans haunt the aisles of Fairway, our local gourmet food store, looking for items that might tempt the finicky

Wimsey palate. And I am bravely doing my part by not only eating all these concoctions but also by demanding Grom gelato (my gelato bills being second only to my vet bills in their extravagance) and the incessant feeding of cookies and turkey during my walks. The ladies would be happy to lend me some of their extra avoir du poids but alas no mechanism exists for such a transfer. They think there should be an Institute of Hound Metabolism to discover why I lose weight so quickly and put it back so slowly --even in the face of reduced exercise and increased gelato. But it’s just another of those ways in which I am annoying.

And speaking of annoying, next, we come to the issue of cones—my humans have discovered that cones are no match for a determined Hound such as myself. In spite of wearing both a giant hard one and a giant soft one I can still reach virtually any area of my body. This may be why I have a spot on my incision that has still not healed. This required some visits to my regular vet to remove most of my staples and to insert a few stitches. But on today’s visit disaster struck—the vet cleared me for a bath starting next week! The stink situation has gotten so bad that Maria realized whilst having dinner with friend that she was liberally coated with the Eau de Hound scent that I exude in such strong measure.

But on Sunday I finally made my first foray into Central Park since my illness and did a royal walkabout that included posing for innumerable photographs. We met a very nice couple from Australia who insisted on emptying their water bottle into my portable water bowl and then giving me the bottle for my chewing pleasure. But most exciting-- we also met a man from Seward, Alaska who has a bloodhound called Watson who is very probably the littermate of our friend Gus from Fairbanks. They are the same age, both come from a kennel in Fairbanks, look alike and judging by the description of the dog’s behavior (hint: rolling in/stealing/eating dead salmon) they have similar temperaments—incorrigible. New York City is indeed the world’s village. (and it takes a village to spoil a Hound).

So I am definitely on the mend much to the joy and chagrin of my humans as I am not at all happy about the lack of multi-hour walks about which I have become increasing vocal and physically resistant. Ditto the no running, jumping up and messing with other dogs. But all good (or bad) things come to end depending upon your perspective and my humans are increasingly forced to concede the point about the length of my walks.

But this has been an exciting week in other ways as well and like much of the country I have been riveted by the heroics of the Navy SEALS –even more so when it was disclosed that the mission included the presence of a heavily armored, helicopter rappelling canine. And like the rest of the team the identity of this kevlared canine is so top secret that not even its breed can be been revealed. My humans, however, are pretty sure that he is not a bloodhound as we are heroic only in our pursuit of the contents of the laundry bin and the dinner table. Additionally, it was their impression that I would most likely bay while rappelling and the sound of my nasal investigations would render any stealth impossible. For those unfamiliar with this latter point, the sound of a giant Hound nose in exploratory mode, like say when in contact with a kitchen counter, is akin to the noise made by a Boeing wind tunnel. Central Command would have to worry less about stealthy helicopters and more about nose noise dampening technology. (Bose for the Nose).

While I never actually fancied myself as a rappelling kind of guy I can see myself as the head of a Black and Tan Ops team:

Mission Commander Wimsey: Team Leader have you breeched the compound?

Team Leader: Negative Commander. An unexpected obstacle has arisen.

Mission Commander Wimsey: Not a hostile with a spray bottle again?

Team Leader: Negative Commander. A barrier has been erected since our last recon. We have Tactical analyzing the situation.

Mission Commander Wimsey: What kind of barrier?

Team Leader: It’s baby gate of an unusually sturdy design.. Tactical is assessing whether breech is best achieved by a running jump or manual knock down.

Mission Commander Wimsey: What about the C5?

Team Leader: That’s a no go Commander. Too much collateral damage—the refrigerator is too close.

Mission Commander Wimsey: Do you have eyes on the hostiles?

Team Leader: Affirmative Commander. One setting the table and another at the stove. No weapons visible and they seem unaware of our presence.

Mission Commander Wimsey: Good. This is a vital extraction.

Team Leader: Never fear Commander. Failure is not an option. None of us wants to spend another night in The Crate.

Mission Commander Wimsey: I don’t blame you Team Leader. I’ve spent enough time there myself to appreciate the impediment it presents to successful operations.

Team Leader: We now have a visual on the target Commander. Repeat “Chinook” is visible and within range.

Mission Commander Wimsey: Is the salmon grilled or poached?

Team Leader: Grilled Commander. A much cleaner kill.

Mission Commander Wimsey: Proceed Team Leader. We here at Hound Team 6 are all proud of you and have every confidence in your successful capture. What’s happening?! I hear a lot of noise! Who’s that screaming!?

Team Leader: Team Leader to Mission Commander “Chinook” is EIA! Repeat “Chinook” is EIA. It was delicious. One hostile slightly injured, the other very irate. Apparently they have to eat macaroni for dinner now. Team is all safe and all have left location via hole they dug under the fence in the yard.

Mission Commander Wimsey: Excellent work Team Leader! Another dinner successfully eaten in action—the fate of all good meals that have the temerity to be prepared within olfactory range of a Hound!

Perhaps I should publish a book on the daring exploits of my black and tan ops team—the panty raids are particularly exciting.

What’s also exciting is that I will potentially be going on another road trip (yes I know, with They Who Cannot Pump Gas, otherwise known as my humans). It turns out that the week of May 16th is National Craft Beer Week and I happen to be the spokeshound for an exceptionally delicious Craft Beer, Baying Hound Ale which I have written about extensively. My face is on the label and I like to think that there is a little of me in every bottle although I don’t know if that is the right metaphor for something people might actually want to drink. Anyway, on May 21st the Aleworks is hosting an open house at the brewery in Rockville, Maryland and I am potentially going to put in an appearance. I am sure listening to a baying hound whilst drinking a Baying Hound will be a memorable experience.

Well I think that is all for this week. I have some stitches to pull out and some meat to munch.

Until next time,

Wimsey, on the mend and on the move