May 24, 2013
Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where it has been a crazy week weather-wise—one day it’s August and then the next day it’s March. But fortunately every day is make my humans crazy day. The hapless humans in question are my primary human Maria and her friend Elizabeth with whom I have many indoor and outdoor adventures when I stay with her during the day (or as I like to think of them, Hound Nanny #1 and Hound Nanny #2). For instance, the other day when I was carrying out one of my frequent merchandise inspections at Unleashed, my favorite pet shop, one of the clerks attempted to feed me a rather large oatmeal cookie. I promptly spat it out until Elizabeth helpfully informed her that I prefer my larger cookies broken in two before I consume them. It’s important for a Hound to be surrounded by those who share his mission in life—his personal satisfaction and comfort.
So the week got off to a fine start on Sunday—there was a cold, steady downpour during our Sunday afternoon expedition in Central Park that I found especially conducive to taking a nice long walk and my humans found especially conducive to hating me. It was all “Why can’t Wimsey be like a normal dog and not want stay out in the rain,” but they should know better than to use the word normal and me in the same sentence. They got thoroughly soaked, as a Wimsey walk is no match for foul weather gear of any kind. But I enjoyed myself.
And as an added bonus, Elizabeth’s Blackberry got wet and became inoperable, which sent her scurrying to the store for the pricey, new Z10 model. She was due to replace her old Blackberry anyway so I was deeply offended that she omitted to thank me for accelerating the process. Elizabeth also carries an Android phone (both my ladies are extremely fond of gadgets. As am I) which is a pity since she seldom gets to look at either one of them during our long afternoon walks together. The main problem is that she keeps one phone clipped to my treat pouch and the other phone actually in my treat pouch so any time she reaches for a phone I call a halt to the proceedings and demand to be immediately snacked. If she persists in trying to access her phones, I feel a sudden urge to pull her someplace requiring immediate intervention. The only exception I make is that I allow her to check her emails when we enter her building to determine if I have a package waiting at the front desk. These frequently contain highly desirable items that I enjoy.
Keeping one’s humans out in inclement weather is one of the great Joys of Houndom. The only inclement weather that I do not like are thunderstorms and when these occur I find I have an urgent need to go home immediately and my human have an urgent need to keep four hands on the leash to stop me. But between the hot weather, the intense rain, the thunderstorms, etc. we have very few pictures of your truly this week. On the hot days I am pretty much either lying in the grass which is not all that visually interesting or attempting to roll in a cool mud puddle which requires some focused preventative measures and on the rainy days the lens becomes rather moister than is consistent with coherent images. And then there is also the fact that Elizabeth is lazy about taking pictures.
Anyway, yesterday I was having a fine nap on the futon and I fell off onto the floor. The sound brought Elizabeth running to make sure I was OK but I wouldn’t know since I was still asleep at the time. It occurred to me that I have considerable expertise in the nap department and that perhaps I should share it for posterity.
This nap section is dedicated to my humans, one of whom generally insists on hogging the bed at night (Maria) and then can’t fall asleep because she is too busy trying to think up new ways to get me to let her administer my eye ointment or to give me my liquid anti-inflammatory medication. My other human (Elizabeth) has to take Ambien when I come for a sleepover and wakes up at the merest hint in the middle of the night of some modest ear flapping or water slurping.
Location, location location! : The first thing to do to achieve a successful nap is to carefully choose a location. Monopolizing the entire length of the couch is a classic but don’t ignore the other pieces of furniture in which humans like to sit, especially those with good sight lines to the TV. Also not to be ignored (and one of my personal favorites) is stretching out the length of the couch on the floor and using its bottom as a back support. While not as obvious as napping on the couch itself, it makes the couch equally unusable for humans as there is no room for their feet. Also one can nap right behind the computer chair so that its occupant has to squeeze tightly against the desk should they want to get up.
Another fine napping idea is to identify a strategic corridor between rooms and to lie down in such a way so that everyone has to step over you. This is a clever variation on stretching out in the middle of the kitchen during meal preparation times so that cooking resembles a game of Twister. But be creative! Anything that your humans might need to access—like their iPad, their phones, the remote control, today’s newspaper, a coat, etc., make wonderful things upon which to lie.
The Sounds: Sounds are an extremely important part of a successful nap. This can be anything from the classic deafening snore to dream induced noises such as bays, snorts, whines or squeaks. Also do not neglect the sound that your (hopefully) long nails make on your napping surface as you run vigorously in your sleep. Slapping and thumping one’s weighty tail is also a delightful way to ensure a lack of peace and quiet even while you are not actively pursuing an obviously disruptive activity. A quieter, yet equally attention getting noise can be added by conducting a little pre-nap digging and rearranging of whatever surface you happen to be lying on. This can be anything from making a mound of fine Frette linens and down duvets to leaving deep talon tracks in the oriental rug (this latter being one of my personal favorites because humans never expect you to dig up the rug any more than they expect you to eat the mail).
The Smell: No primer on napping would be complete without a word about the unfettered effects that naps have on one’s digestive system. For this reason it is always best to have eaten a fine meal before a nap, preferably one that includes some stinky foods such as cheese, sausage, liverwurst or horse poop. And I recommend positioning oneself to maximize your human’s olfactory appreciation of your efforts.
The Reposition: Repositioning from time to time is extremely important for one’s orthopedic health and allows you and your humans to experience the nap in a variety of incarnations. It is always best to begin repositioning with a satisfying scratch, preferably while grunting loudly and displaying one’s manly bits. Next it’s time for a firm head shake which results in loud ear flapping and the repositioning of a substantial quantity of drool from your flews to your human’s walls. Having a refreshing and messy drink of water is essential to the process and as I am a very tidy Hound this also involves wiping my wet and drooly muzzle on a convenient pant leg or piece of upholstered furniture. The reposition is also an opportunity to thwack a human with a paw for some reposition relaxation as well as to find a potentially more successful (or annoying, depending on your point of view) napping venue.
Above all, remember that the nap should be a relaxing experience. For you.
Well today is the start of the Memorial Day Weekend, although cold, windy and wet weather are generally not high on anyone’s list (except mine) for outdoor activities. There is the usual talk around here of cleaning up the back yard for a barbecue and also of giving me a bath, which I view as just an excuse for my humans to drink strong cocktails and consume caloric take out food. It can’t possibly be otherwise since the stink removal only lasts a paltry 48 hours.
But Memorial Day is the start of the summer season and the summer season always puts me in mind of a phalanx of decorative humans lounging around in spotless white attire just waiting to be slimed by a festive Hound. And because I consider myself the Martha Stewart of Hounds I offer up three chapters from my upcoming summer book:
Wimsey’s Principles of Gracious Gardening
1. Dig holes to add visual interest to an otherwise boring expanse of lawn.
In addition to being immensely decorative, holes provide a cool place to nap on sunny days. Holes can also be transformed into refreshing mud baths on rainy days (NB: taking a dip in the pool or lounging on the lawn furniture after a mud bath is strongly recommended).
2. Do not neglect to prune the ornamental shrubs—too many (or any) branches and leaves can give your garden a messy appearance.
3. To fully display the magnificence of your ornamental shrubs consider displaying their root systems as well.
4. Chewed up fences will enhance the rustic feel of your garden.
5. Holes under the chewed up fences will encourage a wide variety of wildlife to share the enjoyment of your garden.
6. Do not forget to water the flowerbeds frequently.
7.Fertilize, fertiliz, fertilize.
Wimsey’s Gracious Things to do With a Lawn Chair
1. Take a nap on it.
2. Remove the cushion and drag it to a more desirable location, such as a pile of muddy leaves and then take a nap on it.
3. Eat the cushion.
4. Eat whatever the cushion was on.
Wimsey’s Foolproof Gracious Guide to Successful Summer Barbecuing:
1. Knock over the grill
2. Steal the food
Well you get the idea. Summer brings out the creative side of the Hound. And the creative side of the Hound brings out the gin swilling side of the human.
I think I will leave it there for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the weekend and regardless of what the weather is like, remember that although your Hound is always there to “entertain” you stuffing him full of hot dogs and hamburgers will make him a little less “entertaining.” At least until he wakes up.
Until next time,
Wimsey, a Gracious Hound