February 15, 2013
Hello everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where the Ides of February have ushered in a schizophrenic mix of winter and spring resulting in an intoxicating concatenation of ice and mud. And whilst my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth appreciate that ice and mud are better than being stabbed in the back by Brutus, it still makes for some perilous and messy conditions in which to walk a large mud and ice loving Hound such as myself.
Well it has been a busy week around here and it all started with blizzard alerts and exciting Weather Channel prophesies of snow-laden mayhem but it ended rather sedately in New York with about six inches of snow. Harrumph. Barely a dusting in my opinion. But I was able to get out in some fresh powder on Friday night which was very pleasing in spite of being forced to wear the heinous gentle leader lest my enthusiasm result in some grievous bodily harm to my humans.
And then on Saturday we had a request from incoming Westminster Bloodhound Team Credo (Credo won the breed here last year at Westminster) for a Sunday park rendezvous to which I happily assented. I always feel naked without an entourage. Credo was sadly absent as I am pretty sure that rolling around in the dirt and snow and getting slimed by me was not considered part of a useful pre-show spa regimen (not to mention the stench that my urgent need of a bath would impart to this pristine Hound).
Anyway it was nip and tuck that Credo even got here at all from California as the airlines had stopped flying animals because of delays caused by the storm. Fortunately his service vest enabled his humans to negotiate a spot for him in the cabin where he spent the trip peacefully napping and turning the airline’s slogan from More Leg Room in Coach to No Leg Room in Coach.
My humans of course blanched at the thought of what I would do on an airliner--- a large assortment of humans incapable of fleeing from my probing, cold nose, a variety of bags and luggage items requiring a thorough olfactory investigation, food that could be cadged, filched or otherwise acquired, the drool and the flinging thereof that would be engendered by the cadged, filched or otherwise acquired food. Add to this the fact that when I get bored I bay. It’s a five-hour flight and I seldom do anything for five hours straight except release noxious gas that my humans are pretty sure the plane’s ventilation system was not designed to handle. And we will say nothing of my propensity to sit up front and closely supervise the driving of any vehicle in which I am a passenger and my humans are unsure of the degree to which a large, smelly co-pilot would be welcome in the cockpit.
Anyway, we met Michael and Kim and their friend Marti (she runs the Ruff House Pet Resort in Riverside California and is a real comedian—she kept asking me to sit) at the entrance to Central Park. There is never a need for my humans to describe themselves to people they’ve never met before as it’s pretty obvious who we all are-- another of the many advantages that is conferred by my conspicuous presence. Since my visitors hailed from California and were unused to walking in the snow I naturally took them to the snowiest and iciest part of the park—the Ramble.
Elizabeth (who always has my leash when we are together) was too proud to summon the assistance of the heinous gentle leader and as a consequence there were several exciting episodes of squealing and several occasions on which Maria, who was watching from behind, was certain that she was going down.
And as usual my red snow suit was much admired although some of Michael and Kim’s friends were horrified; some dark pictures of me were posted on Facebook and their friends thought that Credo had been stuffed into a coat. My humans explained that dogs in New York, no matter how rugged or naturally weather proofed (Maria even claims to have seen a Siberian Husky in a coat) wear some combination of coats, sweaters and boots (sometimes all three!) in the winter and that failure to adequately clothe your animal results in people yelling and making nasty comments on the street. My humans caved but then discovered that it is much easier to clean a coat than it is to clean me and so I now have a pretty extensive wardrobe of winter wear.
Anyway, we all had a fine time—the great thing about meeting other bloodhounded humans is that there is no need to apologize for the drool, the stink, the baying or the behavior. The idea that your bloodhound is uniquely badly behaved never survives a conversation with another bloodhound’s human. Without going into detail, as of now Kim wins the prize for Worst Bloodhound Behavior in the Show Ring (it wasn’t Credo, but his brother Clancy) and this includes topping my rearing up and taking off with a famous professional handler, sliming a judge, baying during the national anthem, baying in the ring, refusing to keep my feet in the position in which they were placed, galloping around the ring at speed, gaiting with my nose pressed to the ground, standing backwards so I could face the comely lady bloodhound behind me and so much more. But I guarantee that one day Kim will be talking to someone else and will be forced to relinquish the prize. We bloodhounds are always improving.
Then on Monday my humans met up with Pluto my Frenchie buddy’s humans, at Westminster’s French Bulldog ring. Here is a lovely specimen and all the humans were happy to see that even show Frenchies have that casually dilatory approach to getting from Point A to Point B that turns a short walk into a lengthy one and involves a quantity of pleading for celerity.
And this is our friend Garth being examined by the judge—notice how attentively he is looking at his human Karen and how his feet are exactly where she placed them. He was Select and my humans think he is a beautiful dog. I think he is far too obedient and gives the rest of us a bad name.
And this is Credo being interviewed on camera. He was Best of Opposite this year and quite a handsome fellow, especially when he is standing on his human.
But I wasn’t shut out of Westminster entirely. Maria felt guilty about leaving me to go watch the show so she came home with a stuffed grizzly bear and a bag of salmon treats. And that night Elizabeth came over for Dean’s pizza (my favorite!) and we all sat on the couch, ate pizza and watched Westminster on TV. I was happy to hear that announcer David Frei’s dog also views children’s strollers as mobile snack shops but somehow I think that their invasion by a 35lb Brittany lacks the impact of invasion by a 130lb Hound. My humans are always forced to explain to terrified mothers that bloodhounds are used to find lost children not to eat them. The contents of their strollers, however, is another matter entirely.
And then on Wednesday I got to spend the night with Elizabeth which is always a tremendous amount of fun. At least for me. The evening got off to a fine start with my nose in the toilet bowl and then on her chicken, in that order and went uphill from there. I enjoy waiting until she is in a deep sleep, then climbing into bed with her, rearranging myself every time she falls back asleep and then concluding that she takes up too much room and leaving. After that I am sound asleep in seconds. She not so much.
And here I am with New York’s Bravest (I stop and frisk them at every opportunity). I love firemen and fire trucks and tried to climb into this one (no photos of my attempted ascent for obvious reasons).
My ladies also like firemen-- but I suspect for entirely different reasons-- and my humans always seem quite pleased when I introduce them to these strapping fellows. Perhaps if I painted myself with a few black spots I would have more success scoring a ride along—after all I have been mistaken for a plethora of other breeds (including a Boykin which is a small brown spaniel (!) and most commonly for a mastiff, which apart from being large and drooly I don’t resemble in the least) so why not a Dalmatian?
On Wednesday I stopped to sniff a fragrant human and she asked if I could tell everything that was in her blood. Elizabeth explained that I was more interested in everything that was in her pockets and that that was not why I was called a bloodhound. But I must admit the thought has intriguing possibilities:
Doctor: This is my assistant Wimsey. Take off your clothes and let him sniff them.
Patient: OK, but does the exam include my dry cleaning bill. He seems to be drooling quite a bit.
Doctor: Dry cleaning isn’t covered by insurance. You need to improve your diet—he only drools like that when he smells fast food. Also you need more fiber.
Patient: How can he tell?
Patient: This is amazing! This physical is even better than going to a psychic! How does he know?
Doctor: Your clothes aren’t sweaty enough—he likes to lick the salt. And he’s showing minimal interest in chewing your shoes which means that they don’t have enough scent on them. Now let him sniff you.
Patient: Yikes! His nose is cold.
Doctor: That was your neurological exam. Your reflexes are excellent.
Patient: Stop him! He’s chewing up my wallet!
Patient: Yes, he’s got a mouthful of twenties.
Doctor: Good but your blood pressure is too high. Your face is very red.
Patient: What’s that terrible, loud noise?
Doctor: That was your hearing test. He bays like that when he’s bored. Do you have any credit cards? He likes to chew on those. You exhibit the normal hands over the ears response by the way so your hearing is fine. Now for your prostate exam.
Doctor: Don’t be silly I do that. Wimsey isn’t qualified—he’s only a physician’s assistant.
Patient: So am I healthy?
Doctor: Yes, but I have one more question: Would you consider getting a dog like Wimsey?
Patient: Well he is very cute…so yes.
Doctor: Here is your psych referral.
Well you get the idea. Anyway, we have some snow in the forecast again and I am hopeful that I will succeed this time in pulling one of my humans over—I mean isn’t that the whole point of the stuff? And I hope I continue to get visitors-- people with regular dogs brag about how good their dogs are, people with Hounds brag about how bad they are. No matter where they come from or what language they speak, Hound people invariably have a sense of humor? They have to.
Until next time,
And have a Happy President's Day!