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 www.baying-hound.com (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.
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: http://www.wagworld.com/DreamDogPark/ 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 understandThat it is all about me!