January 31, 2014
Hello Everyone it is me, Wimsey, back with you on the Upper West Side of Manhattan after my winter hiatus. It is hard to know who is happier about things getting back to normal—my human Maria who doesn’t have to take care of me 24/7 because her friend Elizabeth is back from a birthday jaunt to Maui or Elizabeth who doesn’t have to take care of me 24/7 because Maria is sufficiently recovered from eye surgery to resume her Hound serving duties. And then there is me who am happy to have both my humans and both their apartments at my disposal once again.
Elizabeth got back last Saturday and in spite of the 12 hour flight came over immediately to reacquaint herself with “her” Hound (I am usually “her Hound” for that brief interval before I do something obnoxious and then I become “Maria’s Hound.”). I was quite happy to see Elizabeth again and even managed to eat a few of the Hawaiian coconut and pineapple cookies that she brought for me before spitting them out as is my custom when I am ready to move on to a different snack. And I sat on her lap and drooled on her and dug my elbows into various sensitive portions of her anatomy to demonstrate my approbation of her return. But then on Monday I was summarily packed off to Elizabeth’s (“packed” being the operative word since it took an entire backpack to transport the minimum amount of my chattels necessary for my care for a couple of days while Maria had and recovered from some outpatient eye surgery (the better to see me and admire me I believe).
Now ordinarily this would be a good thing since I very much enjoy hanging out (read, bothering, annoying, harassing, irritating and frustrating) with Elizabeth. However, this usually occurs while Maria is at work and not when she is sitting in her apartment a few blocks away where I can clearly smell her in the neighborhood. So every time we went out I would try to tow over there to see if she wanted to come along. But then on Wednesday evening she finally appeared at Elizabeth’s apartment (I merely glanced at her and thumped my tail once because I was communing with my bully stick) and we all went for a walk together. And as is my custom on such occasions I tried to tow back to Elizabeth’s because I am supposed to be going home.
Anyway, there has always been a scurrilous rumor that I am not an intelligent dog. This is apparently based on the fact that I am not a rocket scientist or a border colie and don’t do tricks or obey commands (in fact my humans think it is hilarious when some stranger wants to give me a treat and asks me to shake hands or something ridiculous like that) and I often walk into things and wrap my leash around trees. But Elizabeth was finally disabused of this notion of my intellectual deficits during my stay with her; I gave her a Master Class in Intelligent Hound behavior: I have a toe with a small growth on it that I am not supposed to lick. So as I was lying on Elizabeth’s rug licking it she said “Wimsey stop licking your toe,” pushed my head aside and made the fatal error of rubbing my stomach. It only took one instance of her ceasing to rub my belly and me resuming the licking of my toe and a second “Wimsey stop licking your toe” followed by a resumption of the stomach rubbing to convince me that I now possessed a completely new tool to command a belly rub! Thereafter during my stay whenever I wanted a belly rub, instead of rolling over and hoping for the best, I would lick my toe and as soon as I heard “Wimsey stop licking your toe” I would immediate roll over to have my belly rubbed.
Elizabeth frequently justifies teaching me obnoxious behaviors under the guise of “giving the dog a vocabulary to express its needs.” She uses this concept very successfully with shelter dogs to get them to sit politely and look at her when they want a piece of turkey instead of jumping, mouthing or attempting to acquire it for themselves. Fortunately for her, none of those dogs is a Hound who possesses a vast and elaborate set of needs, requests and demands. Thanks to Elizabeth I now have quite an impressive “vocabulary” with which to communicate my desires not the least of which is licking my toe when I want a belly rub.
For instance, I can say:
I want a cookie.
No not that cookie, another one.
Not that cookie either. Perhaps a piece of turkey.
I wish to go out NOW.
I do not wish to go out now. I wish to continue my nap.
Go sleep on the couch, there is no room on the bed.
Sit on the floor, there is no room on the couch.
Get off the couch I want to stretch out.
Come over here and scratch me.
It’s time to take a break from the computer.
I do not wish you to read the newspapers.
If you want me to eat this disgusting bowl of kibble put some actual food in it.
I want to eat ________ (insert whatever you are eating).
If you leave me alone when I do not wish to be left alone there will be consequences.
Let me out of this bathtub NOW.
I do not wish to wear that coat.
I need another bowl of water-this one has drool in it.
I am bored.
Hedgie wants to go for a walk.
Whichever way you want to walk, I do not wish to walk that way.
And those are just the ones that I can remember off the top of my pointy head. I think I am really quite an intelligent beast and I always say that if your Hound doesn’t listen to you it’s because you are saying the wrong thing. Although I don’t understand “Wimsey stop that” I always understand “Wimsey come here and have a piece of pizza.” And now of course, “Wimsey don’t lick your toe.”
We also had another Polar Whatchamacallit which sent the temperature plummeting and sent me over to the dog run to sit and watch the dogs play and to socialize with the entire Upper West Side instead of looking for a place to relieve myself. I think the cool fresh air is very stimulating for my humans because they jump up and down and talk to me a lot with some very unfamiliar words.
It is axiomatic that the devil is in the details and I take this concept very much to heart. I do not cause my humans mental anguish by undertaking flashy but infrequent actions—like eating the couch (OK, maybe for some Hounds this isn’t so infrequent an action) but I constantly erode their sanity in small yet endless and persistent ways—like periodically calling a halt to our walks until I have been fed sufficient supplies of my desired cookie du jour, or towing to the apartment that I am not supposed to be in, or always putting my body in the spot that Elizabeth’s feet need to be when she sits on the couch, or monopolizing Maria’s bed and refusing to move to allow her space, or being anal retentive whenever climactic conditions are unpleasant, or deciding that I am not in the mood to pee during my last walk of the night, or coming in from a walk where I have declined to eliminate and then demanding to go out again immediately, or deciding that the length of my afternoon walk is directly proportional to the amount of work Elizabeth has on her desk, or demanding to be bribed into my collar and harness and given a special snack at the door, or refusing to shake myself when I am in the bathtub (except when I am all soaped up) and then shaking myself as soon as I get out so I coat the bathroom with water, drool and hair, or demanding that yogurt, ice cream and gelato be fed to me on a spoon, or making Elizabeth bite off pieces of her apple and feed them to me when she is really hungry, or making sure that my bottom is pointed towards my humans when I have a gas attack, or when I want to sit on a park bench or hang out in a field just until one of my humans starts checking emails and then I have an urgent need to continue our walk, and in the many other small ways that make them look at me and say “Really Wimsey? Really?” in between pronouncing me a “wretched animal” and threatening to commit Houndicide.
And then they have to walk with me on the street and have people say things like “What a nice dog!” and “He’s so well behaved!” I especially like it when I am staring at my humans and people coo, “Oh look, he loves you, “ when the more accurate interpretation is actually “Give me a cookie. Now.” And then there was the other day when I turned into an immobile Hound Lawn Ornament and refused to move for a full 30 minutes because I wished to watch two park employees repair a sidewalk. I found the process fascinating. Elizabeth not so much.
But of course I am very cute. Although I should point out that it was a mere 48 hours between a fresh-from-Hawaii-Elizabeth’s “I missed my Hound!” to a fresh-from -taking care- of- me Elizabeth’s call to Maria “Come get your Hound!”
Anyway, I think I will leave it there for this week. I am sorry for the older photos—the cold weather makes taking off gloves to take photographs an unappealing prospect for my negligent humans.
Until next time,
Wimsey, a very articulate Hound