November 30, 2012
Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where the splendors of autumn are fast merging into the rigors of winter and the traditional Christmas shopping season has begun. Now my human Maria works in Rockefeller Center and I am very much afraid that the plethora of slow moving, tree viewing and sidewalk hogging tourists is making her rather Grinchy this season (although personally I think the Grinch is unfairly maligned—bloodhounds frequently steal Christmas). Her friend Elizabeth (and my daytime servant) who works from home and merely has to endure a loudly snoring, sandwich snatching and couch hogging Hound (moi?) during her work day tries to have a better attitude but I don’t make that especially easy for her (Hounds in general decline to make things easy for their humans if they can help it). I especially enjoyed climbing into her lap during an important conference call this week but I would have enjoyed it more if there were a webcam involved.
Now Christmas means different things to different people so I thought I’d say a word about what Christmas means to me:
Tourists! Tourists! Tourists! And not the ones who hog sidewalks and view trees either, but the kind that hog the sidewalks and view me! And pet me. And feed me. And photograph me (for which I accept a small (ish) emolument of turkey from Elizabeth’s treat pouch—she calls it positive reinforcement, I call it bribery). And these tourists generally make a huge fuss over me and are appreciative of my fine voice when I raise it in song instead of telling me to be quiet like my regular humans. And tourists have many wonderful foreign smells which I like to uncover by doing some serious nose wanding of their persons. Not to mention that they have bags of recently purchased items whose allure would be incomplete without a little souvenir New York Hound drool adorning them.
Trees! Trees! Trees! And not the usual kind of trees that I have to enter the park to find in any profusion. At Christmastime the streets are lined with wonderful assortments of fir trees upon which I propose to pee at regular intervals (whatever are trees for if not to pee on?) and which intent seems to agitate my humans a great deal. Fortunately this frequently requires a gastronomic distraction. And even when gastronomic distractions are not forthcoming, agitating my humans is a reward in and of itself for a large, oppositional Hound.
The Columbus Circle Christmas Fair! I visit this fair at least once every year and create such a ruckus that my image is indelibly imprinted on the stall owners’ memory to such an extent that they have dubbed me The Christmas Hound (as in “Watch out! The Christmas Hound is about to make off with your hat display!” and “When the Christmas Hound shakes his head, duck!”).
The Satanic Bag That Elizabeth Keeps in Her Closet. Even in a season of peace and joy when people seem less inclined to mind unexpected gobs of drool flung onto their clothing, there has to be something a little trying—for some it’s their children demanding the GNP of small nations in Christmas booty, for others it’s the fact that their Hound once again ate the Christmas tree and everything under it and for still others (like Elizabeth) it’s the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” which she always says should be renamed it’s “A Terrible Life” and has childhood memories of screaming at the TV for George Baily to get on that train.
But I digress. The Satanic Bag (which by the way, is sadly kept on a very high shelf) contains my “seasonal items.” These consist of a velvet seasonal ruff with bells (lest someone fail to notice a giant baying Hound stalking the streets of Manhattan), a Santa hat (wholly inappropriate since Hounds are the Anti-Santa-we sit on people’s laps and take stuff) an Elf’s hat (because Hounds are small and helpful) and not one, but two pairs of antlers so I can be mistaken for an animal that pulls sleds instead of one who pulls humans.
I would add indoor Christmas trees to this list except that neither of my humans gets one for reasons that I believe are fairly obvious. But mostly I love the festivity (and the tolerance) of humans on the street and all the activity into which I can insert myself. Like yesterday when I invaded a pedicab ride at 72nd Street and charmed the riders by baying at the driver until he chugged the contents of his water bottle so I could snatch it and play with it.
This week also got off to an excellent start on my Sunday walk when I was accompanied by Pluto, the little French bulldog that Elizabeth was taking care of while his humans were out of town. Pluto and I create quite a stir when we appear together-- we are the original canine odd couple. I sympathized with the little guy though, it was a cold weekend and Elizabeth made him wear a coat—something I am all too familiar with as I have a wardrobe of them for a variety of climactic conditions (my red Speedo made its appearance this week to cope with an onslaught of freezing rain). Anyway, Pluto is coming back next week too and I anticipate that we will spend our post walk afternoons in stereo snoring and that Elizabeth will spend hers with stereo earplugs. And I intend to demonstrate my prowess at wrestling small dogs over whom I have a commanding weight advantage.
Anyway, we did see this mime who was dressed like the Statue of Liberty. I am not exactly sure what he does if you give him money (perhaps he has a special welcome for “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free”-- aka, bloodhound owners) but I am never permitted to approach mimes too closely. It’s apparently very hard to pretend that you’re a statue when there is a giant, cold Hound nose in your crotch.
And in other news, all the results of my recent medical tests are in and are as usual all normal which makes us very happy. But never in the history of human (veterinary) endeavor has so much (money) been owed by so few (my humans) for so little (result). It is fitting that I paraphrase my idol Winston Churchill, as today is his birthday.
I am a commanding presence
I interfere in everything
I drink quite a bit
I take naps during the day
I am a leader
I am colorful
I am a fine orator
I like to paint
I plan invasions
I am a lover of liberty and freedom
I am impossible to ignore
I never give up
My humans, however, would prefer that I be more like Neville Chamberlin.
And this week we once again heard from a family that (in spite of reading my blog) is going to get a bloodhound puppy. They feel that they are prepared since they had Rottweilers previously. I am certainly not like a Rottweiler—you can actually train those. And rotties have a natural instinct to listen to those that outrank them whereas I have a natural instinct to listen to nobody. We wish them a lot of luck and look forward to many hilarious emails to come. (Especially since when the “Don’t get one” bloodhound advice is ignored my humans have many supportive things to say such as “Yes, they do like to do that” and “No you can’t stop them from doing that” and “There are some excellent wall cleaners” and “No bathing them doesn’t help” and “Four hour walks do help. Sometimes” and “It’s not you, it’s them” and “They don’t learn very fast. Or at all” and “Think of them not as a dog but as a lifestyle. A very expensive lifestyle”). But what can I say. We are very cute.
Anyway, as you can see on Tuesday we had a freezing rainstorm which meant that I had to wear my winter snow/rain suit (also known as the red speedo owing to its stretchy, form fitting nature). It also meant that, as is my custom when it rains, I towed Elizabeth down to The Lake so I could watch the ducks—something about pouring rain just seems to invite standing around duck watching. Elizabeth generally disagrees with this assessment but fortunately is usually not in a position to do much about it. It’s just another one of my idiosyncrasies that my humans either have to learn to find charming or to drink.
Well I think I will leave it there for this week. I have to prepare myself for the many joys of the season (Satanic bag excepted).
Until next time,