Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #370


Entry # 370
February 14, 2015

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey. wishing you a Happy Valentine’s and President's Day from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the cold weather has done nothing to  slow the ardor of the City’s Hound-loving public. I have been out and about  this week much to the consternation of my (well-bundled up) human Maria and her (Michelin Man look alike) friend Elizabeth.  I too am suitably caparisoned in my Chilly Dog winter coat which garners many compliments among the canine fashion cognoscenti here in one of the world’s great style capitals. 
My humans would love to pair the coat with a pair of salt-resistant booties but this is just too much look in my view.  There is also the small detail that no one is getting anywhere near me with booties, fashionable or not. The current paw-protecting regimen involves sneaking up on me when I am lying down and rubbing this waxy stuff onto my pads whilst trying to distract me with a belly rub or turkey.  Success, as usual, depends on how much I want the goods on offer.

Sadly owing to the fact that my mouth is healed from recent surgery, the coat and the Heinous Gentle Leader are back in play. However, my humans have decided that since I like the soft Merrick canned food so much (and now the Weruva samples that the nice lady in the pet shop provided) I will be getting some canned food mixed in with the boring kibble.  This is a welcome development and was almost worth having  the surgery for.


Now as many of you know, I am a finicky eater and like my food custom-prepared to my exacting specifications. This also applies to the canned food where any large chunks of meat must be broken up into more Wimsey-pleasing pieces. So Elizabeth did this for me the other day but was seriously negligent in the matter of the carrots. She was watching me eat my carefully curated lunch (kibble, fresh boiled chicken breast, Merrick beef stew, roasted fresh yam and some canned pumpkin) when I removed an offensively long baby carrot from the mix and spat in on the floor.  Now in my defense I did try to be cooperative and eat the thing. I picked it up and rolled it around in my mouth several times  before concluding that its dimensions were seriously displeasing.  The mouth feel was all wrong. The advantage of demanding that one of your humans watch you eat is that they are available to assist you in these types of culinary crises.  Elizabeth finally realized that some major intervention was called for and broke the carrot in two and hand fed it to me. Once properly sized, the carrot was easily consumed and I was able to resume my gustatory activities. I don’t know how I am expected to eat carrots of the wrong shape.  When Maria heard about this, she properly admonished Elizabeth about the importance of not neglecting the carrots when sizing my meal.  I am hopeful that this  experience will not be repeated.  I sympathize with the nut-rage lady—I too am passionate about good service. Other people’s.



In other news, Elizabeth was at a conference on Monday and Tuesday and Maria had to come home from work to walk me midday. I hate this. Generally I feel that if I park myself on the couch and refuse to move Elizabeth will appear as usual.
And to add insult to injury Maria tried to apply my new ear ointment. As if. Fortunately this meant that Elizabeth had to come over in the evenings to attend to my various body parts and take me for a long “make-up” walk. I am not a Hound whose wants are to be trifled with as anyone who is on the receiving end of my “wrong human, go away” glare can attest.

After this, things  fortunately went back to normal, which is to say that Elizabeth picked me up the in afternoon and took me to her place where I draped myself on the legs of her office chair so she couldn’t move. I also like to wait until she is deeply involved in her work to decide that I am now ready for my early evening walk.  I then chivvy her to get ready, which fearing an eliminatory emergency, she does with alacrity.
When she gets to the point that she puts on her ski pants over her long johns (did I mention that my humans don’t get a lot of dates?) I high tail it to the futon, ascend, and engage in The Wimsey Mattress Meld.  I require extensive bribing to come down and allow the putting on of my walking equipment. Maria meanwhile is racing home from work to join us when the irate text messages begin flooding her inbox. I don’t know why Elizabeth complains—I do this to her most every day but she always seems surprised at my perfidy. I guess she’s a slow learner.

But fortunately the people who admire me on the street know nothing about  any of this and continue to praise my apparent loving and genial disposition.  I am a classic case of the iron fist inside the velvet glove. Or velvet wrinkles.  And as usual this week my vocal skills have also been much admired-- although a lady asked if I had a sore throat.  She thought that I was trying to bark and a throat ailment caused a bay, which amused my humans. I was offended at the notion that my beautiful voice could be thought to be a side effect of illness.  My baying, as you might imagine, causes quite a stir and the reactions to it vary dramatically.  There are the people who run. There are the people who smile.  And there are the people who come to tell my humans that they hear me all the time and wondered what was making that noise.  People usually want to know why I am baying—probably for reassurance that I am not about to do something violent.  Everybody loves to hear me bay. Especially me. Then there is the doorman on West End Avenue who himself bays whenever he sees me and the superintendent of the building across the street who always asks Elizabeth if she can get me to bay for him.  Really, if my humans could “get me to do something” I guarantee it wouldn’t involve baying.

Sadly my schedule is about to be disrupted again because Monday and Tuesday is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. My humans are excited to be in attendance and we are all excited that I am not.  Those of you who read this blog regularly have heard tell of my in-ring show dog antics—everything from refusing to trot, gaiting with my nose on the ground, refusing to stack, baying and of course persistently trying to socialize with the lady Hounds. But I have devoted less attention to the out of ring experience. Westminster is a benched show which means that dogs are obligated to stay on their benches all day which meant that my humans were obligated to try to keep me entertained all day.  Not a simple task for an easily bored Hound such as myself who is eager to be off following scent. 

So I would stand around in front of my crate, meeting and greeting (sliming and baying) in between walks to the indoor potty area where I was infamous for poking people in the tush (it’s tough to control a 130 pound Hound  amidst an abundance of highly accessible tushes) and then sniffing the pen instead of eliminating in it.  And since there was much that I wanted to do that I was prevented from doing this necessitated an extensive amount of protest baying which necessitates an extensive amount of in-between-bay head shakes which necessitated an extensive amount of flying spit which necessitated an extensive amount of apologizing on the part of my humans (or running).
 
 I mean seriously, why was I there if not to gratify the needs of my nose?  The only positive thing was the scorn and humiliation heaped upon my humans by the people showing normal dogs (i.e. not bloodhounds and not me)—it was all “Control your dog!”  And many years later my humans are still trying to do just that.  Equally unsuccessfully of course, but not for want of trying. This was all especially humiliating for Elizabeth who specializes in working with dominant breed shelter dogs.  But the thing is, those dogs care, I don’t.  Those of you who have Hounds know what I am talking about—we are just not hierarchical canines. It makes no difference to me whether you are an alpha or an omega, I am just going to do what I want to do regardless.

One of my favorite stories involves the time I disrupted an entire photo shoot and a dominance-oriented guy who trained military dogs stepped in to wrangle me.  He clearly thought the issue was Elizabeth’s incompetence.  My motto, “Wrangle not lest ye be wrangled” was much in evidence and at the end of it we had one sweaty   dominance trainer and one Hound who was still doing just as he pleased.  The guy handed Elizabeth my leash and shook his head and said, “I just don’t understand.  He doesn’t respond to intimidation or force and he doesn’t work for food. How do you get him to do what you want?” The answer is that you don’t.  In my experience, things go a lot more smoothly if you let me have my way. NB: I had a very short career as a canine model.

Well good luck to everyone at Westminster—better you than me. My humans will be ringside cheering on the Hounds and admiring the deportment of the regular dogs.  

 In honor of its being Valentine’s Day, another excerpt from The Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art.  The gorgeous lady Hound in question is Phoebe who co-owns breeder, owner handler Karen Dewey with Garth who will be at Westminster.
 Also this week, more picture from my archive—although a few new ones too—owing to my humans’ laziness.

The Pre-Raphaelites were a group of painters who admired the simplicity of the art of the early 15th century that existed before the era of the Renaissance painter Raphael, whom they considered elaborate and theatrical. Romeo and Juliet (Ford Madox Brown, 1870, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington). Well, I mean Romeo and Juliet are so old hat and their romance didn’t turn out very well, so I think we can substantially enhance the appeal of this painting by adding a more robust set of lovers—Hounds being rather unlikely to drink poison or stab themselves with daggers, etc. (permitting our humans a small spot on the couch is about as self-sacrificing as we get). See how the beautiful lady Hound (her name is Phoebe, by the way) gazes out at us with such Houndly sagacity as the ardent Wimsey intently drinks in every expression in her magnificent, droopy eyes. We can see that at any moment he will caress her ponderous flew with his lengthy, moist tongue. Was there ever such devotion! (“Romeo and Juliet and Wimsey and Phoebe”).

 Until next time,

Wimsey, Everyone’s Valentine


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