Friday, March 22, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #299

Entry #299
March 22, 2013

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey coming to you from the frigid Arctic North-- or what passes for it on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where that groundhog has a lot to answer for.  But I guess that asking a rodent to predict the weather is like asking a Hound to help fix dinner—if you trust him then you have to be prepared for the consequences.  And around here the consequences are the continuation of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth’s elegant Michelin Man winter attire and endless, tedious discussions about how many layers to put on.
We are clearly going to have a chilly Easter but that suits me fine since it reduces the probability of the occurrence of an Undesirable Bath Event.   What it does not reduce is my desire to spend time outside, freezing humans or no, so today’s post will be short owing to the fact that I was, shall we say, a tad reluctant to leave the park this afternoon.  There were ducks and geese on the lake that were simply too mesmerizing for such an avid student of poultry like myself.

Anyway, it’s been another week of outstanding veterinary splendor around here.  I began paying an unhealthy amount of attention to my front left foot last Friday causing my humans to hustle me off to the vet on Saturday (the vet was kind enough to squeeze me in, a misnomer if ever there was one, as I, a creature of majestic proportions, am generally the one who squeezes people in—or off, if they are on the bed or the couch.  But I digress). 

I have some type of ugly irritation between my pads that once again caused the vet to propose some hilarious remedies such as spraying my foot with antibiotic solution and soaking it in Nolvasan (this is in addition to some wonderfully expensive antibiotics that I will only ingest if they are presented with fistfuls of turkey or other tasty comestibles).  My humans at first decided that maybe compressing the area with a pad soaked in Nolvasan would represent a more palatable  (or doable) approach than the actual soaking of my entire foot.  The compress was tried immediately.  It did not go well.

So pretty much this week my humans have been sneaking up on me with the spray bottle and quickly spraying my paw before I have a chance to head for the hills--or in my case the couch.  And Elizabeth, who is in charge of all soaking/compressing operations, (Maria being more of a jamming pills down my throat specialist) tried numerous schemes for getting my paw soaked.  All of them resulted in substantial flooding to her apartment.  So now she ties my leash to the front door when we finish our afternoon walk and presents me with turkey while she coos softly and scratches me while stealthily putting my foot into a stiff, empty plastic bag.  Then she pours the soaking solution into the bag and holds it in place with one hand while she feeds me turkey with the other.  But today she was hoist with her own petard when I decided that I did not wish to remove my foot from the bag since that would result in a cessation of the flow of turkey. When dealing with a Hound, be careful what you wish for.

Well no one can ever accuse a Hound of failing to adequately exploit a situation so I also generously offer to abstain from licking off the medicine that my humans work so hard to get on my paw if they rub my belly whilst I nap.  Should I not be in the mood for a nap a contribution of a large bully stick is mandatory.  

And Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day which proved unexpectedly quiet, owing to the fact that the parade was on Saturday this year and the weather was more Christmas than St. Pat’s.  However, Tuesday was my birthday which meant a week of eating poached salmon from the fancy fish store, Maria sleeping on the couch when I required the use of the bed and Elizabeth getting dragged to pet stores with an exciting regularity.  

On one such expedition a new, giant hedgehog (aka Hedgie) was procured for me causing me to carry on for the duration of my walk in an attempt to access him.  I only paused long enough to inhale a giant biscuit that an admiring clerk at the Kiehl’s store came out to feed me (although they are advertising a shocking product—it removes wrinkles!) and to drop by one of the Wafels and Dinges trucks at Lincoln Center (these are a chain of Belgian waffle trucks that dot the Manhattan landscape-- the waffles are made fresh and then topped with an assortment of “dinges”). 

Here I am ordering a waffle topped with a “dinge” of whipped cream.  I pretty much kept up the baying during the entire waffle making exercise causing the nice waffle man to feel guilty about it taking so long to cook.  Then Elizabeth hand fed me the delectable waffle in the bite-sized morsels that I prefer, all of them dipped in the whipped cream.  As I have noted in many previous posts, I am a Hound who is fanatically devoted to being fanatically served by my humans. And I am indeed fortunate that my humans like to live vicariously through my gastronomic excesses owing to a curious human preoccupation with the size of their posteriors and the fit of their jeans.  Happily I am in no way thus constrained.

Anyway, Easter is almost upon us so I think it is a suitable time for another episode of:

Dick and Jane and the Easter Hound

See Dick.
See Jane. 
See Dick and Jane hunt for Easter eggs. 
See the Easter Hound.
See the Easter Hound also hunt for Easter eggs.
The Easter eggs are hard to find.
The Easter eggs are hidden.
Dick cannot see the Easter Eggs
Jane cannot see the Easter eggs
The Easter Hound cannot see the Easter eggs.
He can smell them.
See Dick put an Easter egg in his basket.
See Jane put an Easter egg in her basket.
See The Easter Hound put an Easter egg in his mouth.
See the Easter Hound put Dick’s Easter egg in his mouth.
See the Easter Hound put Jane’s Easter egg in his mouth.
See the Easter Hound put all the Easter eggs in his mouth.
“Oh no!” says Dick.
“Oh no!” says Jane.
“But we still have jellybeans and peeps in our baskets” says Dick.
“Jellybeans and peeps taste much better than Easter eggs,” says Jane.
The Easter Hound also thinks that jellybeans and peeps taste much better than Easter eggs.
See Dick.
See Jane.
Dick and Jane do not have Easter baskets.
See the Easter Hound.
The Easter Hound has eaten the Easter baskets.
See Dick cry.
See Jane cry.
The Easter Hound has thrown up all over Dick and Jane.
The Easter Hound has given Dick and Jane back their Easter baskets.
Everyone is happy.
Except Dick and Jane.

The End

And as is the case every year I hope for a visit from the Easter Bunny.  Preferably in a pot.  And in other news my brewery, Baying Hound Aleworks is competing in a Washington Post March Madness Beer Competition.  The brewery has entered Long Snout Stout and you can vote for it by going to clicking on Long Snout Stout and then clicking on the vote tab.  Although personally I don’t believe that I have a long snout at all.  My snout is perfect. Like the rest of me.

Well I think I will leave it there for this week.  I will try not to leave all the birthday indulgence go to my head. Or not.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Super Soaker

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #298

Entry  #298
March 15, 2013

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the green and still wintry precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where we are to have not one but two days of St. Patrick’s Day this year.  The parade will be held Saturday since the holiday itself falls on a Sunday and this means that there will two days when folks on the street will be in a “festive” (read pixilated) state of mind.  But this also means that everyone will be in a very friendly state of mind which is fortunate since drool stains and black and tan fur make a striking fashion statement when combined with green clothes.
As usual I will be out and about with my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth wearing my sequined green cravat which will last about 1 minute around my neck before I decide to pull it off and try to eat it. And yes, I know my heritage is French, not Irish, but everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City (at least the bartenders hope so), even me.  However I still wish my humans would exchange my cravat for a “Kiss Me I’m Irish button.” It would complement all those “Drool on Me I’m Human” buttons that only I seem to be able to see.
And as many of you will have noticed it is the Ides of March, the day when Julius Cesar’s BFF Brutus stabbed him in the back.  I can relate.  How many times have I heard “Here Wimsey, have a nice piece of turkey” and then wham! Betrayal and a bath. But the take home lesson of the Ides of March is that when someone knowledgeable (like a soothsayer or my humans) warns you about something you should take heed.  And whereas a bloodhound is unlikely to stab you in the back (shoving you in the back being more of our thing, particularly when you are taking up too much ((or any)) space in the bed) you should certainly take heed when those accompanied by one advises you of the consequences of acquiring one. And “But he’s so cute” is no excuse.  So was Brutus.

Anyway, it’s been rather chilly around here but this did not deter our friends Jennifer and Kelly from Tampa and two of their friends from visiting with me on Sunday.  Of course getting me to look anywhere but at the basket holding a plastic bottle was an exercise in futility as was trying to prevent me from walking in front of the bicycle in order to get a better view of it. My operative principle is that if I stare at something long enough it will end up in my mouth. But since Jennifer also lives with a bloodhound nothing I do is really (too) surprising, unlike the elevator guys in Elizabeth’s building who try to get me to bay at them on command baying when people want you to bay is antithetical to the Bloodhound Way.  It’s much more satisfying to sneak up behind people and scare the crap out of them when they least expect it.

Occasions When it is Appropriate to Bay

During the national anthem at dog shows
In the ring at dog shows

When the judge is examining you at dog shows

Pretty much any time at dog shows (except when your humans want to show off your fine voice)

Early in the morning when you meet your friend Pluto and need to let the neighborhood know about it

When you are exiting you apartment and wish to alert the neighbors to your impending walk

When you see a child holding something desirable, like an ice cream cone

When you see an adult holding something desirable like an ice cream cone

When you see a dog that is less than a tenth of your size

When the traffic light at the street that you are trying to cross is anything but green

When you get bored because your humans have halted your walk for 30 seconds to say hello to someone or to pick up your poop

When you see someone you know

When you see someone you don’t know but wish to get to know

When these people that you wish to get to know are trying to do something other than trying to get to know you

When your humans try to take you into a hushed church for the Blessing of the Animals 

When no one wants you to bay
And in addition to the Ides of March and St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness continues with the 19th being my birthday.  This means that a new supply of bully sticks has arrived from (which I will make a mess chewing on the furniture where I am not supposed to chew them) and that a new snack assortment has arrived from  The selecting of my snacks is of such supreme importance that my humans read through 42 pages of snack items to choose the ones that they believe will best appeal to the finely honed Wimsey palate.  But keeping track of my taste in snacks is a moving target.  I dragged Elizabeth to Unleashed (in the pouring rain) this week and as soon as she informed the clerk that I liked their biscotti I spat it out in favor of a ginger snap.  Making my humans look like idiots and contradicting them is one of the great joys of my life and an essential duty for all Hounds.
My humans grade my snacks and place them into one of four categories:

1.  Will not eat: This doesn’t mean that I haven’t eaten these in the past.  Many a formerly favorite cookie has come flying out of my mouth causing consternation and bewilderment to my humans.

2. Will eat if in the mood: These are consumed with a notable lack of enthusiasm and periodically rejected to see if something better appears.
3.  Likes: These I definitely will eat.  The downside of me definitely liking a snack is the amount of time that I will spend on a walk demanding that snack.  (I generally like to be fed snacks at random intervals during a walk and make this known by stopping and staring at the treat pouch, poking the treat pouch with my snout or dancing sideways in front of the treat pouch and tripping my humans.  (If both my humans are walking me I prefer that the human not holding my leash be in charge of feeding me snacks).

4. Loves: These are snacks that are so desirable that the carrying of them is inimical to walking, eliminating or doing anything else except eating them.  Category 4 snacks thus become Door Snacks. Door Snacks are special snacks that I demand before I walk out the door.  They are in contrast to Leashing Up Snacks which are category 3 snacks.
My humans can hardly wait for me to evaluate their latest treating efforts—they may need to construct a spreadsheet to keep track of them all.

And speaking of efforts, as many of you know, I spend a considerable amount of time (and my humans a considerable amount of money) at the vet’s so it occurred to me to compile my vet’s silliest suggestions so far:

Silly Vet Suggestions

1.  Put 5 drops in his ear 3 times a day.

2. Clean him before he pees and collect a mid stream urine sample

3.  Put him in a sweatshirt

4.  Put a sock on his leg

5. Ask him to lie on his left side so I can examine him

6.  Cut his nails

7.  Soak his paw for 10 minutes twice a day in warm Novasan solution

8.  Lift his tail and smear this ointment underneath

9. Keep his walks under 10 minutes

10. Sprinkle this powder on his food—he’ll like the taste

11.  Feed him this chewable tablet—he’ll like the taste

12.  Wash his paws with warm water when he comes in from a walk

13.  Leave this medicated shampoo on for 10 minutes before rinsing

14.  Put a warm compress on (pick a body part) 3 times a day

15.  Let’s get him up on the scale

Nevertheless, the vet staff insists that I am a model patient.  That’s probably because they don’t have to do all this stuff to me.

Anyway, I think I will leave it there for this week.  I am to have some Dean’s pizza tomorrow as part of the ongoing celebration of my birthday and the stinky splendor that is me (there is an Ugly Rumor going around that I am getting a bath for Easter—just in time for the April mud rolling season!)

Until next time, 

Wimsey, The wearin’ o’ the green meets the flingin’ o’ the drool

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #297

Entry #297
March 8, 2013

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, New York’s wunderhund, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where we have finally had some snow! It’s just a few inches but quite enough for me to roll around in, track foot and paw prints through and cause my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth to lose their footing when holding (or clutching) my leash. And in honor of its likely being the last snow of the season I was permitted to enjoy it without wearing my usual snow suit (although “permitted” is probably the wrong word when one’s humans are just too fed up with the high degree of difficulty entailed in getting one to wear the thing).

And of course there is always the tantalizing prospect of pulling one of my humans over—generally this would be Elizabeth since I am bigger than she is and she is foolishly disinclined to walk me using the Heinous Gentle Leader (although Maria for her part tends to pay insufficient heed to the importance of grippy footwear in inclement weather. So they are really both vulnerable, just for different reasons). 

Anyway, I was happy to be out in the snow today and had a long afternoon walk in the fresh powder of Riverside Park with Elizabeth. The beauty of snow is that every time (which is really all the time) Elizabeth wants to go one way and I want to go another way I flop down and begin an extensive rolling session. And while Elizabeth is still busy marveling at how cute I look, I pop up and go the way that I want to go.
Well this week I’ve been somewhat under the weather.   TMI Alert: there was a hemorrhagic gastroenteritis going around the neighborhood that I managed to pick up last Friday, the bloody results of which scared the heck out of my humans. But as I seemed to be recovering slowly, even after the symptoms abated, we trotted off to vet and, as per usual when ill, I had the Full Monty.  The great thing about Full Montys is that they entail getting a urine sample from me and whereas one would think this would be easy, one would be very wrong.
As soon as I see the cup I have an urgent need not to pee.  I sniff everything in the most promising manner possible and sometimes even start to lift a teaser leg before giving my humans a “just kidding” look. Elizabeth escorts me to all kinds of desirable eliminatory real estate whilst Maria waits with gloved hand and cup, ready to dive under me at the first sign of micturition.  And when I do finally oblige I have perfected the art of kicking the gloved hand so that my precious bodily fluids end up everywhere but in the cup.  Then Maria claims that Elizabeth positioned me incorrectly and Elizabeth claims that Maria put her hand in the wrong place and meanwhile I move on to sniff another few dozen places in which I am not going to pee.  It’s all such good fun.
So I had complete urine, stool and blood analysis (plus thyroid levels and some vaccine titers thrown in for good measure) and anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory injections plus a supply of flagyl and probiotics. When the practice manager looked at the bill she told my humans that it’s a good thing that they love me.  Also that they have a Visa card with a large credit limit.  Whereupon Maria looked at Elizabeth and declared, “You know it’s one of Wimsey’s principles that the more expensive the tests the more normal the results are going to be.”

Sure enough, several days later the vet phoned, clearly elated at what he called an absolutely beautiful report replete with no infections, no abnormal blood levels anywhere of anything and excellent kidney function to boot (kidney function in this case being defined biologically and not behaviorally). So my humans were of course very happy and the reasons for my slow recovery will forever be another of the many expensive Wimsey medical mysteries to which my humans are so accustomed.

But during the week, slow recovery or not, I did still manage to have a bit of fun.  Elizabeth decided to pay a visit to the bank during one of our afternoon walks and I decided to pay a visit to a large bowl of dog biscuits therein.  I was fed one by a helpful bank employee (Elizabeth warned him that I am finicky and might not eat it, so naturally I consumed it with great gusto) and then helped myself to more on the way out.  So now I try to drag Elizabeth over to the bank in addition to the pet stores and snack shops.  At least at the bank she can do something useful like withdraw money to pay for all the stuff that I require.

Then because the bank visit whetted my appetite for snacks I towed Elizabeth over to my favorite pet shop, Unleashed, where I was not disappointed.  Fistfuls of my favorite biscotti were presented for my gastronomic pleasure by a helpful member of the staff.  (Elizabeth had previously purchased a pound of these but then discovered that although I like them very much, they are large and break into an unpredictable assortment of sizes and I refuse to eat any that I deem insufficiently large). Anyway, when the pet shop snacking and my kibble bag sniffing rounds were completed I tried to help myself to the twin of my large, dual squeak hedgehog, Hedgie.  Elizabeth should have purchased it for me since I went back to her place (where Hedgie reigns supreme over a very large toy pile) and shredded him all over her apartment.  Now I have a legitimate reason for visiting Unleashed other than sniffing their stuff and inducing the staff to feed me.

Anyway, as a Conspicuously Large and Loud Hound who is out and about in the middle of a major metropolis (or THE major metropolis as the residents of New York think of it) I come in for my fair share of comments from the peanut gallery (otherwise known the humans who live there). As one would expect, most of these comments are admiring and laudatory in nature (“amazing” and “”cute” figure prominently). But frequently there are other comments and interactions, so it is time for an episode of:

Wimsey’s Ludicrous Encounters of a Human Kind

Woman:  What an amazing dog! He’s beautiful!  Oh, is it raining out?
Elizabeth:  Yes, it’s raining out.
Woman: Is he friendly? May I pet him?
Elizabeth:  Yes, but he’s wet and he drools.
Woman (to her husband): “Eww! He’s all wet! Do you have a tissue?!”
Man: What a beautiful mastiff!
Maria: He’s a bloodhound not a mastiff?
Man: Are you sure? My brother-in-law has a mastiff and he looks just like him.

Man: Is that a bloodhound?
Maria: Yes.
Man: Have you had him long?
Maria: Yes, since he was a puppy; he’s my third one.
Man: Did you know that bloodhounds have a powerful sense of smell?

Man: Wow! I didn’t know these dogs got so big!
Maria: You’re probably thinking of basset hounds; they’re much smaller.
Man: Well what kind is he?
Maria: He’s a bloodhound.
Man: Wow he’s the biggest bloodhound I’ve ever seen.

Woman: What kind of dog is that?
Elizabeth: He’s a bloodhound.
Woman: What’s he mixed with?
Elizabeth: Nothing. He’s a purebred bloodhound.
Woman: I don’t thinks so. He doesn’t look like a bloodhound.

Man (pointing at me to his companion): Bluthund!
Elizabeth (who thinks she can speak German): Ja! Er ist ein bluthund!
Man (to Elizabeth): Sorry, I don’t speak German.

In addition, my humans love people who tell them:

I am big
I must eat a lot
I am a vast assortment of other breeds and mixes none of which includes bloodhounds
I am strong
I pull
I need a large apartment
I am not a city dog
They are cruel for making me live in a city

I love people who tell them:

I am cute
I am awesome
I am amazing
I am fantastic

And my very favorite:

I am well behaved

Well I think I will leave it there for this week.  Between my upcoming birthday on the 19th and having been ill the indulgence level has been pretty satisfying—perpetual on demand scratching and forcing Maria to either sleep on the couch or in any spot on the bed that I choose to leave unoccupied.  Which reminds me of one of my favorite stories—one of the elevator guys in Elizabeth’s building looked at me one day and asked if she had a nice big bed for me. She told him that yes she did--“It’s called the bed.”  

Until next time,

Wimsey, A Vet and Visa Hound