Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #359

Entry #359

October 4, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey, coming to you finally from the soggy Upper West Side of Manhattan where it has been a busy two weeks for myself and my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth.  Both of them are away today getting groomed so I am snatching a few hours (like I snatch everything else that I want) to report on my doings.  On the subject of their grooming, I will remain silent—I was never a fan of this process myself and in their case it is particularly pointless since no one notices them anyway.  Elizabeth did force me to bathe this week but I pride myself on having extracted a very large amount of turkey in return. I especially like when she covers the futon in towels afterwards to absorb excess moisture from my body and I use the towels to make a comfy pillow for my snout instead.

But I digress. A couple of weeks ago as you know, I spent a whole four days with Elizabeth whilst Maria was off visiting her mother. This was quite delightful, at least for me.  I was only able to report on the first day or so with her but I am happy to report that I continued my morning habit of climbing into bed with her at 7am whereupon I either snuffle her face or loom over it and drip drool all over it or lie down on top of her or sit next to her recumbent form and thwack her for some scratching. Not that I necessarily need to take care of any business at that hour, but her windows face the park and all the alluring scents and sounds are too potent a temptation for a park loving Hound such as myself.   

And while she gets dressed, I make myself comfy amidst her pillow and bedclothes leaving them marked with my indelible scent and secretions. I only deviated from this routine on one morning where instead of climbing into bed with her I grabbed my loudest toy (known as “Monster”) and granted him the honor of announcing my availability for my morning walk.

On one morning the nice lady who runs the Pier One Café opened early and I got to consume a muffin or croissant whilst Elizabeth slurped coffee and tried to recover from her encounter with Monster. It was all quite delightful, especially when Maria returned Sunday evening smelling like her mother’s excellent cooking. Several days later two gift boxes of Hungarian cookies arrived specifically for me, which was wonderful except when Maria tried to poach one.  I don’t understand why she wants to eat my cookies when there is a whole bowl of kibble at her disposal instead.

Elizabeth also took me to the vet, where through some medical miracle, I had not appeared for several weeks. The staff tried (unsuccessfully) to rid my right ear of the yeast farm that had taken up residence and I had an extensive amount of lab tests done on all my bodily fluids.  I was given a clean bill of health and my humans were given a large bill of costs. There is talk of getting me another ultrasound to check up to see how my prostate is enjoying life. I always look forward to that test since it seems to mostly consist of a warm gel belly rub and is a huge improvement over someone sticking their finger up my bum. I am not a fan of this latter procedure which ranks right up there with the cutting (or not) of my nails.

Anyway, the good news is that I will once again ensconce myself at Elizabeth’s on Tuesday and will remain there for the entire week while Maria is disporting herself on a business trip to Chicago. And as is the way of these things, especially according to Mr. Murphy and his Law, Elizabeth’s Swiss client will be arriving that Tuesday night for some important meetings on Wednesday which means I will be left alone again. The whole leaving me alone situation has proven so aggravating that Elizabeth is no longer permitted to enter the little dressing room where she puts on her makeup (makeup only being worn on those horrifying occasions that do not involve me) without encountering the Wimsey Stink Eye. I am considering blocking off that room entirely.


It also appears that Elizabeth will be having Important Phone Calls on the other days that I am in residence which means that I will be having Important Squeaky Toy Talks, Important Loud Snoring and Kicking the Radiator Naps and Important Notebook and Face Drool Flinging.  Elizabeth has already told Maria that the week will be hell, but a human’s hell is a Hound’s heaven, as anyone who has spent time with any of us is well aware.

And speaking of this issue, it has come to my attention that there have been a variety of posts and complaints in the various Bloodhound groups griping about our propensity to be destructive. I am sure that people think that such behavior is limited to their Hound, but I want to assure everyone that, au contraire, it is pretty much a breed thing. We are an old and barely changed working breed who wishes to be out following scent with every fiber of our being and every strand of our DNA. We are designed and programmed to be finding juicy boar for affluent medieval tables not hanging around in expensively landscaped yards or lounging on cushy couches (unless the latter activity occurs after a long hunt for the juicy boar). 

Add to this, that apart from being on the trail of desirable comestibles, we get bored easily. We are not in fact well designed for modern human life at all (or at least those lives that include intact possessions).  Now everyone says, “Oh but Wimsey is so well behaved.” But apart from the fact that I always tell people to define their terms  (“well behaved” and “Wimsey” being seldom used in the same sentence by my humans) I am Maria’s third Bloodhound.  In the ten or so years that my predecessors were with her they pretty much managed to destroy everything she owned (with the exception of some books that she cruelly locked up in heavy glass- fronted bookshelves). The destruction included such unconventional materials as her makeup (which she returned home one day to find her Hounds wearing) and the contents of the kitchen shelves owing to her Hounds’ discovery that chairs can be moved into appropriate positions to serve as ladders to the larder. It took ten years, but she learned what to do.

With me, having Elizabeth as a volunteer caregiver was also a great help—Elizabeth being all into evolution and fulfilling the nature of the Hound and such like and especially in determining that letting me track whatever took my fancy at the terrifying end of a 20 foot leash for hours and hours every day in the 858 acres of Central Park was probably a requisite for the continued existence of intact couches. And although I have never actually found juicy boar in Central Park, it wasn’t for want of trying. So if I have been (mostly) at the low end of the destruction curve, there are sound reasons. But one cannot wholly extinguish the Nature of The Hound and Maria has no cookbook collection or feather pillows to prove it. And Elizabeth still remembers the day I TP’d her apartment (NB: I was not a puppy at the time). But the jury is still out as to whether it is more obnoxious to steal food or to demand, as I do, that it be hand fed to me in pieces cut to my liking.

And in a similar vein, as those who read my posts know, I have instituted an ongoing Wimsey Bribe-a-thon program. Any activity in which my humans wish me to engage, irrespective of whether I want to engage in it or actually demanded that I engage in it in the first place, is a Bribable Activity. Bribable Activities require that I either ascend a handy piece of furniture or glue myself to the floor and refuse to budge unless something delectable is waved in front of my nose.  But whereas in the past I have allowed myself to be lured off the handy piece of furniture or off the adhesive floor, lately I have introduced the policy of the Pre-Bribe. Pre-bribing requires that I be actually fed some of the brandished delicacy first in order for me to weigh its worth against the inconvenience of me doing what my humans want. I mean what happens if, upon judicious consideration, I am more in the mood for duck heart than for turkey? I might also add, that as far as my demand for regular outdoor snacks while walking, don’t even think about giving me one half of a snack that is usually broken in two. I may have a pointy-head but I am adept at the arithmetic that tells me which snacks are broken or cut into how many pieces.

This is all a very longwinded way of saying that we Bloodhounds are “special” dogs and that we require equally “special” humans who delight in the shock and awe of our awfulness. But we can be inspirational animals too. For instance, when life hands my humans one if its inevitable setbacks they are wont to ask, “What would Wimsey do?” And one thing Wimsey would not do is give up.  (Just the thought of doing such a thing so antithetical to to my existence is shudder-inducing).  If an object cannot be gained by the inexorable wearing down and outlasting of an obstacle then a different approach must be devised for circumventing it.  It is one of my enduring grievances, by the way, that the kings of England and France sported such sobriquets as “The Fair” and “The Bold” and “Coeur de Lion” but never The Hound or Coeur de Hound. If John I of England had been John the Hound he never would have lost all of England’s French possessions. Hounds do not lose their possessions. We cause other people to lose theirs.

Anyway, before I sign off for this week, I want to congratulate everyone who participated in the Bloodhound Nationals. I was hoping to include a word or two about my stellar behavior in the show ring but I fear that pleasure will have to wait.  The rain has stopped, the sun has come out and I am waiting to see if this produces some yard time with its attendant coat muddying possibilities. I want to look and smell my best for my visit to Elizabeth next week.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a special amongst specials

1 comment:

Bentley said...

Excellent summary of bloodhound bribing techniques. I'd agree that it is important to sample the bribe as well as to expect variety.

My humans learned that in "obedience" class. The owners of other breeds were amazed that that I would agree to perform a behavior for...let's say...a piece of turkey jerky and then, moments later, refuse to do a behavior and blatantly ignore the presence of the same bribe/treat.