September 21, 2012
Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, Manhattan’s worst behaved bloodhound, coming to you from the Upper West Side where to know me is to want to kill me. At least this week. It all probably has something to do with the cooler weather but my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth think it has something to do with me being an evil spawn.
Generally Maria blames Elizabeth for my bad behavior because although Elizabeth is a volunteer trainer of behaviorally challenged shelter dogs she turns her powers to the dark side where I am concerned. She finds it entertaining to reward me for all kinds of things her other canines aren’t permitted to do because the result is never dominance or aggression but rather comical (at least to her) brattiness. The again she doesn’t have to live with me.
So you can imagine how thrilled Maria is when she brings out my walking equipment and I roll over to have my belly rubbed and Elizabeth helpfully suggests that you if you say “Wimsey do you want a cookie?” in a wheedling tone of voice, I’ll get up. Maria also enjoys me frequently stabbing her in the abdomen with my snout during our walks because I fancy a cookie or me refusing to eat my kibble unless something pleasing to my palate is put on top of it or me sitting on one of her body parts and demanding to be scratched because I have woken up from my nap. Or any of the other fun “rituals” that Elizabeth has established (Where I am concerned, Elizabeth is kind of like the anti matter version of Cesar Millan and Victoria Stilwell rolled into one). Needless to say this causes Maria to narrow her eyes suspiciously each time a new bratty behavior emerges and ask (or accuse) Elizabeth “Did you teach him that?!”
But as good a trainer as Elizabeth is she can’t really teach me much when it comes to bratty behavior; I feel she can only suggest new avenues for the expression of my natural talent. But there is such a thing as being hoist by your own petard and I greatly fear Elizabeth experienced this during her attempt to bath me by herself on Monday. For instance, when both my humans bathe me they want me to face away from the hose so naturally I always try to face towards it; when Elizabeth bathes me alone she does actually want me to face towards the hose so on Monday I insisted (rather vigorously I am afraid) in facing away from it. It was not a propitious start to the bath and went rather downhill from there. Especially when I decided that being tethered to the embedded ceramic soap dish in the wall was in fact a test of my strength that I was determined to pass. The resulting fear of incipient tile damage caused Elizabeth to feel the need to pin me against the tub wall with her body. This in turn resulted in her getting soaking wet and in her legs getting coated in an unsavory mixture of de-yeasting shampoo and my hair (did I mention it is shedding season?). She looked like an irate abominable snowman.
The toweling off process did not go much better, especially when I dove under the sink and threatened to upend it. This did however cause my immediate liberation from the bathroom and the forking over of a bully stick in hopes of limiting the wet spot on the rug to one location. Positive reinforcement is very important.
But the week started off exciting even before the bath—Elizabeth discovered a large centipede on her wall on Saturday when I was not around and had to call Maria to come over and kill it. It turns out that Elizabeth is deathly afraid of bugs. And although Maria thought this was hilarious we won’t speak of what happens when she sees a mouse. Elizabeth was going to call for one of the building’s elevator operators to kill the centipede but the last time she called for bug assistance the guy fell over himself laughing and laughed every time he saw her after that. This might have had something to do with the fact that she had just finished fostering and training a 90lb Rottweiler mix with “issues” which apparently was no cause for alarm unlike the terror inducing presence of a two inch water bug. So one human is afraid of mice but not bugs and the other is afraid of bugs but not mice and they are both afraid of me when I shake my head in a crowded room full of well-dressed people.
But luckily I am not a dog with ”issues.” Rather, I am a dog with “personality.” I love canine euphemisms! There is the dog that is “loyal” (he will kill you if you get near his human), “active” (if you don’t plan on a running a marathon with him he’ll eat the couch), “easily bored” (fail to amuse him at your peril), “intelligent” (he will always outsmart you to figure out how to get what he wants which is seldom what you want), “independent” (he doesn’t care about you, he cares about him), “talkative” (sound proof your house and buy ear plugs), “territorial” (what’s his is his; what’s yours is his; in fact, it’s all his), “cheerful” (he doesn’t mind in the least being reprimanded for peeing on the carpet. Again), “ a fine companion” (you’ll never have go to the bathroom alone) and “confident” (he knows best).
Anyhow, my bath on Monday was in aid of the fact that (apart from general reekiness) on Wednesday I had an appointment with the specialist surgical vet at Blue Pearl Vet Hospital on 55th Street (formerly NY Vet Specialists where I had surgery 18 months ago). Now I frequently go down there to see this guy when an issue crops up that either my regular vet wants a second opinion on (trust me, you do not want to be the vet who misses anything where my health is concerned) or when I develop some inexplicable symptom that has everyone scratching their heads. This time it was to check that there was nothing amiss causing my recent tush issues and to take a look at the lick granuloma on my paw that did not seem to be healing (I don’t actually wish the lick granuloma to heal because having compresses put on it 4 times a day means being fed turkey and getting extended scratching sessions 4 times a day).
But I love going down to Blue Pearl because virtually as soon as the appointment is made my issue disappears and my humans (once again) look like idiots. The vet is so used to me being brought in for nothing that I suspect he wonders if Munchausen Syndrome by proxy can apply to people with dogs as well as with kids. So the vet pokes and prods and as usual finds nothing wrong and gives my human the kind of indulgent look reserved for small, misguided children. I like this guy.
So what with all the vet excitement, I’m afraid I was in a bit of a “mood” (another euphemism—it means that I am being rampantly and excessively disobedient, oppositional and willful, even for me). Our route took us north along the Hudson River through Hudson River Park, to Riverside Park South to Riverside Park itself and then back to Elizabeth’s. And if you’ve ever fantasized about what a walk with a bloodhound in a “mood” is like, here’s what happened:
What do you mean we’re going north! That way heads home. I want to go south!
Look! There are geese on that lawn! I want to get to know those geese better.
What do you mean that sign says “no dogs on lawn”?
If the geese are on the lawn I am going on that lawn.
What do you mean the fountain is broken; you’re lying. I’m not moving until you give me water.
I’m hungry. I haven’t had lunch yet. Give me a cookie.
I don’t want to go that way, I want to go this way.
I don’t care that that path is for bicycles. They can go around me.
Oh, look. Another sign that says I’m not permitted on this lawn. I’m gonna lie down on the grass.
Gimme a cookie.
So you want to photograph me in front of the new artwork in the park? How much turkey have you got?
Did you know bloodhounds can eat their weight in turkey?
Look! Another selection of ornamental plants for me to eat.
This fountain works. Give me water.
I want fresh water—there’s drool in this water now.
My face is wet. Gimme your pant leg.
I’ve had a drink now I need a cookie.
What do you mean that guy didn’t like having my nose in his tush! Where am I supposed to put my nose?
The sign says I am supposed to keep off the ornamental grasses—it doesn’t say I am not supposed to eat them or pee on them.
You can’t seriously still be heading north.
I want to go west. What’s this river doing here! Remove it.
Look! It’s the Pier One café. I want a burger.
If you aren’t buying me a burger give me a cookie.
All those cookies are making me thirsty. Give me a drink.
This is the way home! NOOOOO. If I walk real slow it will never happen.
OK, you’ve forced me home. What’s all this kibble doing in my bowl? What’s for lunch?
Yam and chicken? Sounds good. Wait. What happened to the rest of this chicken’s body? I bet it’s here in this refrigerator somewhere.
OK, time for my nap. Move. You’re in my spot.
Well you get the idea. And I’m afraid today’s walk, which was supposed to be short, wasn’t, on account of me needing to conduct an extensive investigation of Upper West Side and Central Park real estate in order to properly evacuate my bladder and bowels. And in addition it featured me having my way so to speak with the all tourist bottoms parading about in front of the American Museum of Natural History.
I also kept trying to pee where I wasn’t supposed to. I know this seems tough to do in New York City, but you have to be creative; there are people’s bicycles (preferably while they are in visual range), the top of stairs to people’s brownstones, items at the curb people are loading into their cars and of course my perennial favorite, Post Office mail bags. Then as we approached Grom Gelato, I’m afraid I became overcome with emotion and caused Elizabeth to have to hang onto a pole to stay upright. But who could refuse Grom Gelato to so ardent a Hound? It was delicious and the counter person now knows to bring out the gelato with a large stack of napkins (the abundant activity of my salivary glands being a salient feature of my gelato eating activities).
So all things considered it was a pretty good week. For me. Not for my humans. Or for the centipede. Or for the put upon (or put into) tourists. But as we know, none of them matter. Because I am a dog with a lot of “personality” and Maria and Elizabeth are humans with a lot of gin.
Well I think I will leave it there for this week.
Until next time,