November 15, 2013
Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where le bon temps roulé amid all the magnificent fall foliage. If I were a poetically inclined Hound I would write a paean to the joys of autumn with special mention of the deep mounds of fallen leaves. These leaves are the stuff of Hound heaven:
1. They hold scent to an amazing degree, causing me to spend countless hours forcing my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth watch me sniff them. I am sure that the next best thing to sniffing them themselves is watching me do it for the extended amounts of time that I deem mandatory.
2. I love the sound that they make when I pee on them—kind of like a crunchy rain. This is why I never tire of peeing on them and why my humans think that my entire insides are a giant bladder.
3. Pooping on fallen leaves also makes a very satisfying sound and has the added benefit of forcing my humans to exhibit advanced excavation skills to collect it. Finding places to poop that are inimical to poop collection is one of my abiding interests in life and one of the (many) abiding banes of my humans’ existence.
4. Not only do leaves contain a plethora of snacks in the form of discarded pieces of rotting food and assorted animal spoor but they also constitute a cloaking device that makes such delicacies invisible to the eyes of my humans and prevents them from taking counter measures. Of course these snacks are abundantly obvious to those of us who happen to have noses that are actually designed for smelling things.
And in fall temperatures are brisk enough to be invigorating and are conducive to lengthy and stimulating park perambulations but not so brisk as to require the wearing my heinous collection of winter coats. Consequently, this week Elizabeth, who is my companion during the day, has been complaining that I have been defining the term “afternoon walk” to once again mean “walk that takes all afternoon.” This is in contrast to the summer definition of afternoon walk, which means “dash from one air conditioned apartment to the next whilst taking care of only the most minimal amounts of business possible.
Fall also brings the return of Eastern Standard Time which makes life even more inconvenient for my humans since I am on Hound Time. Hound Time means that when it starts to get dark I start to engage in anticipatory activities relating to my early evening walk in spite of the fact that this walk will not be forthcoming for another hour or two. Around here, I make sure that Eastern Standard Time is also known as Enhanced Wimsey Walk Chivvying Time.
In other news, I have not been to the vet at all this week. It’s shocking! My humans are still talking about it and the vet staff is all “Where is Wimsey? It’s not like him to stay away so long.” I know that it was remiss of me not to put in an appearance, but I made up for it in other ways this week, principally by taking Elizabeth on extensive and lengthy park expeditions and then squeaking at her when I felt that she was taking too long to prepare my lunch (an afternoon of park perambulating works up an appetite). Or descending into a deep (and immobile) sleep the wide way across the bed just before Maria wants to go to sleep, forcing her to choose between disturbing me or spending another night on the couch. I’ll leave it to your imagination to decide who slept where. Or announcing that I wish to go out, which forces my humans to cease whatever they are doing and suit up for some cold weather walking, only to change my mind and be fast asleep when they approach me with a leash. I could go on, but the Ways of the Hound when it comes to be annoying, aggravating and obnoxious are endless. It’s a good thing that we are so cute.
But in other exciting news, today is the debut of a streaming TV show from Amazon called Alpha House. It’s about a bloodhound who lives with four humans. (If it were about the humans it would need to be called Beta House). I am absolutely certain however that the canine in question will be a TV bloodhound, i.e., one that is too lazy to eat the couch, never counter surfs or eats the important papers out of his humans’ briefcase and doesn’t fling drool all over the alpha walls, the alpha ceilings or the alpha residents. We will probably be fast-forwarding to the scenes that have the bloodhound since they are always the most important ones.
Anyway, for those of you interested in genomics (and who isn’t, especially around here where DNA ranks right up there with Tudor monarchs and broccoli as hot topics of conversation) a recent study shows that domesticated canines are older than previously thought (18,000 years rather than the 10,000-14,0000 usually cited) and that we descend, not from modern wolves, but from an extinct, missing link wolf. Also that we were “domesticated”(I use this term loosely) by hunter-gatherers and not by settled farmers. And since bloodhounds are a very ancient breed, I am sure that my ancestors were involved in this process:
Hunter-gatherer #1: Hey, look at that bunch of animals following us! I saw them yesterday too. What do you think they want?
Hunter-gatherer #2: I don’t know. I wonder if they are eatable?
Hunter-gatherer #1: They don’t smell very appetizing.
Hunter-gatherer #2: Does anything we eat smell very appetizing? Anyway, they are making that funny noise again and moving off. I wonder where they are going?
Hunter-gatherer #1: Let’s follow them and see!
Hunter-gatherer #2: Look, look! They found a juicy boar!
Hunter-gatherer #1:Why don’t they kill it and eat it? They seem to be staring at us and then staring at the boar.
Hunter-gatherer #2: Maybe they recognize our superiority as hunters and want us to do it.
Hunter-gatherer #1: Yes, you are probably right. After all we are larger, smarter and have opposable thumbs as well as these very powerful weapons.
Hunter-gatherer #2: OK, well that’s done. Let’s get the meal back to camp.
Hunter-gatherer #1: Those funny looking animals are still staring at us. And they seem to be producing a lot of drool.
Hunter-gatherer #2: They are probably hungry. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to cut off a little piece and give it to them. They found the boar after all.
Hunter-gatherer #1: Yes, I agree. Well, they seem to have enjoyed that piece but they are still drooling. Let’s give them a little more—it will make less weight to carry to camp.
Hunter-gatherer #2: Good point. And it’s kind of fun to listen to them make that noise.
Later that evening….
Hunter-gatherer #1: We’re back! And these funny, smelly, loud animals helped us find a juicy boar.
Chief: Where is it?
Hunter-gatherer #2: Here!
Chief: Those funny, smelly, loud animals helped you find a boar leg? Where’s the rest of the boar?
Hunter-gatherer #1: Ummm… they were hungry and we thought we’d share. They are very cute when they stare at you, you know. And they make the most amazing noise…
Chief: You mean like they’ve just done to get those places next to the fire?
Hunter-gatherer #2: Yes, exactly! But it’s not as though we’d let them sleep in the cave with us or anything…
Hunter-gatherer #1: No, not that. But I bet they would keep us very warm if they did.
Hunter-gatherer #2: And of course then they’d be around to let us know if there was anything dangerous lurking nearby while we slept.
Hunter-gatherer #2: And since they’ve already eaten most of one juicy boar I’m sure they’d let us keep most of the second one.
Hunter-gatherer #1: Or at least more of it. That big black and tan one is pretty hard to resist.
Chief: We don’t have a choice. They’re staying.
Hunter-gatherer #2: How come?
Chief: My wife is making the big one a coat.
I’m sure that’s how the domestication of humans started. Today of course the Modern Hound no longer needs to find juicy boar or anything else edible that doesn’t come out of the refrigerator or off someone’s plate and humans have many more goods and services to offer their Hounds.
Well I will leave it there for this week. I hope you are enjoying the autumn as much as I am.
Until next time,
Wimsey, a hunter and gatherer of my humans’ time, money and possessions