October 25, 2013
Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you at last from the newly autumnal precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the cooler weather has made me a happy Hound but as usual, the things that make me happy tend to make my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth unhappy. This time around the cause of the unhappiness was not my propensity to socialize instead of eliminating or to monopolize the furniture or to fling drool at people or to shred things that my humans would prefer remain undshredded, but rather my love of long autumnal walks. Make that extremely long autumnal walks. And I am afraid that instead of writing a blog post last Friday I indulged instead in one of my endless park perambulations for which I am justifiably famous.
But I can assure you that my intentions were wholly unselfish as the cooler weather also signals the advent of cold and flu season and Elizabeth fell prey to a nasty cold that making its way around our little island. This was quite surprising as it is a well-known fact that humans who live with Hounds succumb far less often to these ailments than those (poor unfortunates) who live without Hounds. There is a theory being bruited about that this occurs because humans who live with Hounds can’t afford to take time off from work because they know that that next humongous vet bill is just around the corner. But this is really a myth (the theory, not the vet bills). People who live with Hounds fare better in cold and flu season because we Hounds make excellent nurses.
For example, rather than allowing Elizabeth to languish uselessly on the couch, I insisted that the fresh air and exercise of an afternoon spent in Central Park with me would prove much more beneficial. It could have been worse—I could have made her spend the afternoon visiting banks and pet shops or better yet, the neighborhood construction sites of which I am so fond. Fortunately Elizabeth was in no position to object because when we set out for the park she was wholly unaware that we were going to spend the whole day there. In fact, here is a picture of me after a mere hour in the park reacting to a chirpy “Let’s go home Wimsey.” In my experience there is nothing quite so humiliating to a humans as being sneered at by their Hound. My humans know that when they see this face it is just better to keep walking and hope that I will decide that that I want my lunch or dinner and perambulate home. But in this case, I decided that Elizabeth’s health took (temporary) priority over my stomach and I kept her outdoors for the duration. Of course I did demand periodic feedings of the turkey and cookies that Elizabeth always wears around her waist to sustain me during those long hours away from my food bowl.
Here is another picture of me from last Friday—I am posed majestically in front of the Ladies Room at the Central Park Tennis Courts. The walk had gone on for so long at that point that Elizabeth was forced to avail herself of the facilities in spite of the fact that the stalls (unlike the ones at the Delacorte theater) are too small for me to fit into-- not for want of me trying mind you. I have important supervisory duties on these occasions. Fortunately, the facility was empty at the time so no budding Maria Sharapova was forced to flee at the sight of a giant Hound hogging the bathroom. However, with so many lovely and tempting leaf piles scattered around at this time of the year I do think it is a shame that my humans don’t seem willing to take full advantage of them. Leaf peeing is one of the great joys of the season.
But Hounds are useful in several other ways when you have a cold:
1. Drink plenty of hot tea accompanied by small pastries or Hungarian cookies. Feed these to your Hound to avoid putting on extra pounds as you convalesce.
2. While resting on the couch apply a large, warm Hound to your body to alleviate aches and pains (or at least those caused by the cold).
3. In case of fever, apply the lips and flews of a large Hound who has just refreshed himself with a cool drink of water to your warm forehead.
4. Make sure that your bed has plenty of fluffy pillows and cushy blankets. Your Hound likes to be comfortable when he serenades you to sleep with his soothing Snoring Hound Lullaby.
5. Have plenty of tissues lying around, preferably used and don’t worry about cleaning them up.
And of course a major benefit of having a cold is that you can’t smell anything, especially not the gastronomic results of those pastries and cookies.
But I confess that although I had every intention of writing a blog post during the week, the piles of crunchy leaves, the crisp autumn air and above all my unselfish devotion to Elizabeth’s health that necessitated taking her on very long walks put a considerable dent in my time management plans.
In addition to being cold and flu season it also happens to be Wimsey Health Check Season-- the time of the year when my humans turn their attention to discovering any of my medical needs. X-rays, ultrasounds, blood and urine tests—you name it, if it can be done to me, my humans will want to do it to me. This week Elizabeth turned her hand to trying to get me to pee in a cup all by herself. Normally it is Maria’s job to trail after us and dive under me when it looks like I am contemplating a leg lift. I think it is massively entertaining to lift my leg, watch Maria dive and then change my mind and put it down again. I mean what is the point of peeing if she’s going to steal the pee, In addition, we bloodhounds are not known for our generosity or our willingness to share, even pee. The very fact that my humans want my pee transforms it into a valuable commodity and therefore one that must not be dispensed casually.
So this week Elizabeth picked up the cup and gloves alone and bravely decided to play the Wimsey Pee in a Cup game. Accordingly she waited, crouched in anticipation, for me to commence operations at every fire hydrant, tree and trash bag. And when she saw that I was actually peeing she would try to position the cup under the stream. I say try, because one of the great advantages of being a male dog is that you can direct the stream in any direction that you choose and I chose to direct the stream so that it would not fall in the cup. If Elizabeth moved the cup, I moved the stream. It was all great fun. At least for me.
And this week has also been fun because of the extended amount of time that I have been able to spend in the park. Every afternoon Elizabeth sternly admonishes me that we are only going out for an hour. And every afternoon she is wrong. So how do I do it?
Wimsey’s Tips for Park Procrastination
Engage in lengthy and frequent sniffing in a manner that suggests that a desired eliminatory function is imminent. Then save all poopage for the end of the walk.
Engage in extensive grass rolling operations which, in addition to being cute, turns a mobile bloodhound into 130lbs of immobile dead weight.
Climb up on park benches and refuse to move.
Greet tourists and pose for pictures thus encouraging humans to engage in lengthy and admiring conversations about you.
Demand frequent drinks at the many water fountains throughout the park.
Stop and stare at the treat pouch. Make humans offer an assortment of snacks before judiciously choosing which one you will consume. Do not move until you have fully masticated the snack.
Socialize with passing canines.
Take paths that lead in the opposite direction from the park exits closest to home.
Don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere (except away from the park exits closest to home)—stop and sniff the ground, sniff the air, sniff passersby. If it exists, it can be sniffed.
Visit with the pedicabs.
Be opportunistic—stop and become mesmerized by any unusual activity such as performance artists, musicians or (like today) men unloading a truck of audio visual equipment in front of the Boat House Restaurant. (NB: this latter effort also meant that the men stopped to chat with Elizabeth about me).
If forced to head to a park exit squeak pathetically and make your humans feel guilty. Then vigorously suggest alternative routes.
And if forced to leave the park, all is not lost--there are pet shops and banks with cookies that can be visited on the way home.
Then there is the day that I met my little Frenchie buddy Pluto in Riverside Park and neither of us would go in any direction without the other. Pluto’s human finally had to pick him up and carry him out of the park. Fortunately, my humans don’t have that option.
And this Thursday is Halloween and there are some amazing decorations here on the Upper West Side, none of which I am allowed to mess with. There has been a lot of posting on Facebook and such about Halloween costumes for dogs and questions about the best Halloween costume for bloodhounds. Let’s be clear, the best Halloween costume for bloodhounds is no Halloween costume for bloodhounds. Fortunately, although Elizabeth seems to be in charge of buying me my coat wardrobe and my seasonal Christmas ruff, my primary human, Maria, has always put her foot down on the matter of not permitting Halloween costumes. And Maria’s word is law. Except when I disagree with her—then her word is a suggestion. Or a fantasy. Anyway, it is a moot point since I am sure that they don’t make pirate or shark costumes in my size (Although my humans would probably find the Wizard of Oz’s Scarecrow more appropriate. However, from where I sit ((atop the couch)), intellect is a vastly overrated attribute).
Anyway, I am off to have a well-deserved rest after all that fresh air, exercise and being annoying.
Wimsey, a 24/7 trick or treating Hound