March 16, 2012
Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where our Irish spring is well underway. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, even me! My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have thought about putting a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button on me and seeing if there are any takers—I bet I’d get more smooches than they would—but they settled for some green sequins around my collar instead.
Well it has been a busy week around here. I was in Draft magazine again owing to my role as label model and all around spokes hound for my brewery, Baying Hound Aleworks (www.baying-hound.com) in Rockville, Maryland. Our good friend Paul gave the magazine an interview and I especially liked his astute observation that bloodhounds don’t have owners, they have staff. Perfectly put. And my staff is extremely attentive and well trained:
Wimsey’s Staff Command Lexicon
Standing near my feeding station and staring: I need more water.
Standing near my feeding station and staring at the water bowl: This water has drool in it. Get me a fresh bowl.
Standing in front of you: I require more kibble. (NB: I free feed so keeping my kibble bowl full at all times is an essential staff function as one never knows when I will feel peckish).
Staring at refrigerator: I want some turkey in my kibble.
Rolling over: I want a belly rub.
Staring at you whilst I am lying down: I wish to be scratched now.
Approaching couch with swishing tail: I am going to get on the couch and sit on you.
Thwacking with paw whilst sitting on the couch next to you: Scratch me.
Thwacking with paw whilst sitting on the couch on my haunches: Scratch my underside.
Sprawling on bed in tipped cow position: Go sleep on the couch.
Staring at you while you are eating: Give me some.
Staring at you while you are cooking: Give me some.
Lying down when my collar and harness appear: I’m resting--give me a cookie if you want to put that on me.
Climbing on a park bench: I require a snack now.
Poking at treat pouch: I require a snack now.
Dancing sideways and walking like a crab: I require a snack now.
Standing by a water fountain: I require water now.
Approaching you after a visit to my water bowl: Give me your leg, I need a napkin.
Squeaking like a rusty hinge: If you don’t give me what I want I’m going to bay. Very loudly. It will hurt your ears. People will think you are mean. They will yell at you. Or they will run away terrified. Either way you will look bad. Do what I want. Now!
But lest you think the relationship is a tad one sided, last night my humans saw a woman working out with her personal trainer—she was hitched up to a harness and dragging a heavy weight. They were all “We know all about that exercise!” and “She doesn’t need a personal trainer, she needs a bloodhound!” And not only do my humans get to tow a heavy weight, the heavy weight also tows them! I make sure my humans get plenty of fresh air and are well exercised without all the time and trouble of a personal trainer. Vet bills well spent I think.
But right now my staff is busy trying to find something for the Hound that has everything, gets everything and everything that he wants he is not allowed to have. Such as the other day, when in sous chef capacity, I generously and repeatedly offered to help Elizabeth clean some raw shrimp. I guarantee that when I clean shrimp you will never find any trace of their dorsal digestive tract. (Or most of the rest of the shrimp either, but that is a technicality). Probably my staff should give up on trying to indulge me for a day when I am indulged every day.
In other news, Pluto went home on Monday, but not before we were out and about in Central Park on Sunday-- the Odd Couple of the dog world entertaining the canineless masses. And we ran into our friend from the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department and discovered that Pluto is just as uncooperative in the picture-taking department as I am. But I did get to indulge my fantasies of being in law enforcement myself:
Wimsey’s Law Enforcement Assignments
Picnic Inspector: duties include:
-Locating picnics and removing samples of food to ensure safety and wholesomeness;
- Inspecting all toys, balls, Frisbees, etc. to make sure they conform to industry standards and have not been reported lost or stolen.
Wildlife Officer: duties include:
-Ensuring maximum protection of squirrels by chasing them away when they get too close to humans and escorting them to their trees where they will be safe from human intervention.
- Protecting ducks and geese from obesity, as contrary to park regulations, humans insist on feeding them their sandwiches;
- Making sure waterfowl do not get within swimming range of shore;
- Confiscating illicit fowl feeding comestibles.
Mobile TSA Officer: duties include:
- Random nose wanding of pedestrians, paying special attention to the underpants area where contraband items can be secreted.
-Random jumping into motorists vehicles to make sure that there are no dangerous materials therein and demanding to be driven around to make sure it is an actual working vehicle and not a dangerous dummy; (cop cars are not excluded as they are especially vulnerable to being used as decoys).
-Surprise inspections of people’s shopping bags, grocery bags and purses making sure to ram one’s head deep into the aforementioned bags lest any dangerous materials be buried under the new clothing, ground beef or all the miscellaneous junk women haul around in their purses.
Power is granted to confiscate and examine materials further.
Fraud Squad: duties include:
Ensuring that no Hound has been misrepresented to his acquirers as a Golden Retriever.
Well you get the idea. Anyway, one consequence of having Pluto around is that all toys were put away in the closet owing to my delight in taking them away from him and being generally obnoxious with them. (I had previously discovered that he was crated in my old, giant crate with some of these toys leading to a daily crate inspection to see if they might still be there). Well on Monday Elizabeth packed up Pluto’s toys in his travel bag leading me to promptly unpack them whilst her back was turned and to prance around with one that was only a little larger than my nose.Frankly the only interesting thing about Pluto’s toys is that they belong to Pluto. Elizabeth was tempted to turn this into a showdown at the OK Corral until she remembered the Wimsey mantra, “If you have it I want it” and its corollary, “If I can have it I don’t want it.” (She learned this all to well when she bought me a jumbo, expensive deer antler that I chewed on for a microsecond). So she removed Pluto and herself from my presence and proceeded instead to vent via email to Maria (Maria likes to get regular updates that keep her apprised of the perfidy of her Hound). Killjoy. I was forced to abandon the toy and pursue more productive lines of being annoying like replacing the keyboard return with my head.
But it is an apocryphal story as it illustrates the flaws inherent in getting presents—there is simply not as much fun in being given something as there is in stealing it for oneself. As my birthday is coming up it will be all “Here Wimsey look at this new stuffed toy I bought you!” and I’ll be like, “Can I exchange it for a pair of panties from the laundry bin?” Perhaps for my birthday my humans should consider leaving the refrigerator door open or a roast chicken unattended on the counter and chasing me around and screaming at me when I help myself. And if I get any more stuffed toys my humans are going to need larger apartments.
Anyway, Pluto went home to his delighted family and now the place is preternaturally quiet without all the background snorts and snores that I have become accustomed to. And I charge into Elizabeth’s apartment every day, run to my pile of toys to make sure they are not locked away, give them a good squeak and then rummage in my old crate to see if perhaps Pluto left anything behind that I can steal.
Pluto’s humans, by the way, bought Elizabeth a very thoughtful gift—a bottle of Hendricks’s artisanal small batch gin. Such a useful present and one which I am dedicated to ensuring that she will require on a regular basis.
But I am happy to report that signs of spring abound in New York City—and around here it is not just the daffodils that herald the season. The pedicab drivers have returned to 77th Street meaning that I will no longer have to content myself with merely baying at those at 72nd Street. The mild weather meant that all the drivers were busy when I discovered their return yesterday but I made up for it by extensively serenading my buddy the dispatcher (we share a common interest in tuna fish).
Then to my delight, I discovered that the Boat Basin café has opened for the season! This is one of my favorite Riverside Park destinations as they always have cookies for me to eat, a cool tile floor for me to lie on, nautical air currents for me to sniff and beer for Elizabeth to drink (I encourage her beer drinking so I can play with the plastic glass afterwards; she says I am a bad influence. I say I can arrange for her to work off the calories). I just wish they’d sell Baying Hound ale because then we’d be down there all the time waiting for people to recognize me.
And of course, spring brings crowds of tourists (and their water bottles) back to Central Park. We encountered several large tour groups this week and I love to plunge into their midst absorbing their adulation and wonder, receiving suitable tactile tributes and sniffing the maximum number of crotches per second possible. For those of you who are involved in therapy dog work, this is known as “crowded petting” and therapy dogs must tolerate this even though most canines don’t generally like it. And every time I wade into a large group of enveloping strangers, Elizabeth, who assisted in therapy dog training class, has an “Oh no! crowded petting!” moment and carefully observes me for any sign of distress. The distress happens when all those hands go away. What can I say; I am an idiosyncratic Hound of uncommon tastes. (If you want to see me distressed, get out a measuring tape and try to measure me!).
And speaking of tastes, we move on to our next Snack of the Week. My humans have become my snack sommeliers, making sure that I appreciate the distinctive rustle of each package, the bouquet of the snack, its mouth feel and of course its presentation. Snacks of the Week make their appearance on Monday afternoon when Elizabeth comes to pick me up and needs to lure me off of Maria’s bed so she can clean out my ears.
This week’s Snack of the Week is Yapple-nanas, apple and banana flavored treats by Bil Jac. Now Maria had some trepidation about this snack, having discovered years ago that a Bil Jac food that her bloodhounds loved had a lot of fat and sugar. But she needn’t have feared—according to the label the first two ingredients of these snacks are chicken and chicken livers. It does contain natural and artificial banana and apple flavors as its last ingredient, hence the name. Now these snacks are completely different than the others I have been testing—they consist of tiny chewy squares half inch around that are delightful to pop into one’s mouth (my humans refer to then as the gumdrops). And in addition to the chewy mouth feel they emit a strong bouquet that is a stunning mixture of meat and fruit. I find them to be quite addictive—it’s hard to eat just one. Because of their small size and obvious appeal the package highlights their suitability for training. Of course this presupposes that one has a dog suitable for training.
Anyway, I’m afraid that all this snack reviewing has turned me into a bona fide snackaholic and my humans believe that I have become a snack fiend badly in need of a 10-step program. I do confess that I have been spending a rather inordinate amount of time cadging snacks during our walks but as a diligent reviewer I have to make sure the snack is consistently good under a variety of atmospheric conditions and tastes equally good whether one is refusing to get off the bed or refusing to get off a park bench.
Well I think I will leave it there for this week. Given that Monday is my birthday and tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day I am thinking a little corned beef might be in order tomorrow.
Until next time,
Wimsey, if you have it, I want it but if you want to give it to me, don’t bother.
(The exception is the 5lbs of Hungarian honey cookies that my grandmother sent me for my birthday!)