January 27, 2012
Hello everyone, it’s me Wimsey-- back after my short hiatus and coming to you as usual from Manhattan’s Upper West Side, commonly known to its residents as the Center of the Universe where one can get anything at any hour of the day or night-- except of course a well behaved Hound, which is never on offer.
Winter also appears to be not on offer as we are once again having mild and rainy weather making for some exciting walks on slippery mud and some even more exciting (at least for me) Hound clean up operations afterwards (I go from being black and tan to being black and black). I pride myself on the fact that it takes almost as long to clean me up as to actually walk me and then I always manage to leave a pile of dirt somewhere about the abode anyway. This is in addition to the floors which assume a crunchy character after one of my lengthy and moist perambulations.
Well since last we spoke my human Maria celebrated a birthday and, and, as is customary around here, I was awarded a stuffed corduroy monkey to celebrate. But the occasion was marred by the week’s absence of her friend Elizabeth who normally walks and takes care of me during the day and who insisted on celebrating her birthday in Oslo and London (today’s weather should bring back pleasant English memories—a good thing all her clothes have hoods—having one hand on an umbrella and one on my leash not being compatible with continued viability).
I was naturally banned from the packing process when all manner of non-smelly and drool stained clothes that Elizabeth had forgotten that she ever had emerged from the depths of her closet. Most of her wardrobe has inexorably migrated from non-Hound to Hound because, although she may have forgotten the clothes in the depths of her closet, I have not. In any case I had a professional walker for the week for which my humans were charged a lot of money—I can’t imagine why.
But as is frequently the case in these matters, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or at least more forgetful. So in addition to watching the canines of Oslo (dogs are apparently enjoying an upsurge in popularity there) disport themselves in the fine winter weather, Elizabeth took a break from shopping for sweaters in which to walk me (and from the drinking of $25 cocktails) to visit a pet store to peruse merchandise that might be acceptable for my entertainment.
Owing to the fact that I have been getting shirty about having my legs stuffed into my winter coats my humans are looking for coats that both have no legs and also protect my delicate undercarriage from the cold (although cold has been in as short a supply this season as my sartorial cooperation). A fine Finnish company called Hurtta makes such an article but sadly attempts to find one sized to my generous proportions proved futile. So Elizabeth was forced to buy me a stuffed green hedgehog instead. It could have been a lot worse—while she was there a young German Shorthair Pointer was being fitted for leggings. He wasn’t happy.
But between shopping expeditions and cocktail sticker shock Elizabeth did get to view a preserved Viking ship. I myself have always felt an affinity for these folks—I admire their rather determined manner and their propensity to acquire goods and real estate not originally belonging to them. Also they stole women. I would have fit right in.
So then after Oslo it was off to the UK, where Elizabeth’s first stop was to a town outside of London to visit this fellow, whom Elizabeth has known since he was a puppy. He has since developed some shocking habits liking coming when called (even abandoning a delectable pile of horse poop!) and waiting to be fed from the table instead of stealing or putting his nose in the food in order to compromise its palatability—Elizabeth felt so bad for him that he had half her dinner anyway.
Then there was the issue of his not shoving her off the bed when he climbed into it and of his using his soft muzzle to gently suggest that he’d like a scratch rather than using a paw to forcefully thwack her like a normal dog. Also Ollie didn’t smell and he shed very little for so hairy a beast. Elizabeth was shocked. The only bright spot came when his human complained that he pulled when he was on his leash. But then Elizabeth took the leash and fell about laughing. If I “pulled” like that I’d earn a cookie. Pulling, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder (or in the dislocated shoulder of the dragee).
And then Elizabeth repaired to London where as is usual I managed to do some major vacation hijacking. Like when Elizabeth was in the middle of a serious business meeting and got interrupted by an urgent email from Mr. Chewy inquiring if I’d like to review some treats. But really what could be more important than securing me a supply of treats from Mr. Chewy?
And then instead of asking the hotel concierge for recommendations about restaurants or cultural events she had him prepare a list of London pet stores where she could do some more shopping for me.
Now all these stores are very small compared to the ones in New York—apparently most people buy their gear online—but Harrods does have a rather large pet department, albeit a very small- dog centric one, where she found only one toy of a size suitable for my use.
But she did manage to pick up a stuffed green monkey from a shop off of Kings Road in Chelsea and although there was nothing in the Portobello Road pet store she did pass paparazzi waiting for Taylor Swift to finish lunch. (I sympathize, although the paparazzi who follow me usually wait for me to finish chewing up a water bottle).
Well finally it was off to the National Gallery to do some work on additional paintings for my art history app that my humans are preparing for the iPad. So all in all I had quite a successful day in London without ever having to leave the couch.
But should I ever decide to jump the pond I would cut a dashing figure (literally)—the only problem being this sign. Canines are permitted on the London Underground but there would be the issue of transporting me up and down the escalators. Perhaps my humans could hire a Sherpa (a very strong Sherpa) or rig up a regal palanquin to comply with this regulation.
But there is no place like home, especially when there is a Hound involved and with one click of her black and tan slippers (and a lot of help and gin and tonics from Virgin Atlantic) Elizabeth was back in New York again. Her customs declaration, like the large Harrods bag she carried that should have been filled with luxury apparel, was filled instead with nothing but dog toys. My humans leave me at their peril.
Anyway when Elizabeth at long last eagerly bounded into my apartment to walk me yesterday I rose majestically, gave her a few obligatory swishes of my massive tail and demanded a cookie. Welcome home.
Well I think that’s about it for this week; I have so far only been able to get my mouth on the green monkey owing to the fact that it is the quietest of the toys and the most suitable for jet lagged nerves. And of course 1 small jet-lagged human+ 1 large non-jet lagged Hound+1 park full of mud and slippery leaves= 3 hours of fun.
Until next time,
Wimsey, the Viking Mudhound