Friday, August 1, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry #78
August 1, 2008

Hello everyone. Wimsey the Hot and Stinky Hound here, reporting to you from the lush paradise of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Summer weather abounds here and funnily enough, even though hot weather happens every year at about the same time, my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth always seem surprised and annoyed by it. But I think there are a few advantages of the summer that they should stop and appreciate:

1. Due to the lack of snow, they don’t have to wear crampon laden mountaineering boots to stay upright when walking me.

2. My delicious natural stench blends into the city’s summer mĂ©lange which consists primarily of rotting garbage tinged with delicate notes of automobile exhaust and wafting excrement.

3. Bending over to pick up my poop is a lot easier when you are not dressed like the Michelin Man.

4. The post poop dirt I kick in their faces is not icy cold.

But humans always seem peeved by these seasonal variations, unlike we Hounds who embrace them—in summer, for instance, I have a wide selection of full figured plants and bushes into which I can inconveniently poop—some even have thorns making poop retrieval extra perilous; in fall I can wreak havoc with carefully raked piles of leaves; in winter I like to create artistic yellow snow art (perhaps I should feature these in the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art as a contemporary medium) and in spring I get to drag my humans through the slippery mud (did you know that mud can be almost as slippery as snow?) and dig up an entirely new generation of flowers.

Apart from the fact that it gets hot in the summer, the other big news around here is that a mouse has been spotted chez moi. Now Maria dislikes rodents with the same stand on a chair and shriek kind of intensity that Elizabeth dislikes bugs-- which prompted a long and vigorous debate about whether it was worse to have a mouse or a water bug (perhaps the Oxford Union should take up this question) which, although a more logical discussion than the one about the superhero superiority of Superman versus Batman as at least both mice and water bugs actually exist, I think really speaks to the depths to which life in New York City reduces otherwise rational people. I expect it’s the effect of living in tiny apartments that cost the gross national product of small nations that is to blame. And of course sharing that already limited space with a mouse or a water bug, to say nothing of a giant fragrant Hound, makes it all that much worse. But the ladies are looking at me with a new respect these days (“Perhaps Wimsey can catch the mouse!” and “But that would make him actually useful. He’s never been useful before so why would he start now?”). But of course I am not a terrier let alone a cat, so the best I can do is use my nose to tell Maria where the mouse is-- but I expect owing to the size of New York City apartments she is already in possession of that information. Anyway, it is another one of the great ironies of urban life that the city is infested by both rodents and terriers. Apparently the latter are purely for ornamental purposes only. Like me.

But other than the sudden increase in my apartment’s animal population, it has been a pretty good week. My Sunday afternoon in Central Park wasn’t rained out for once and I ran into my friend Bruno the Rottweiler on Tuesday. Now Bruno is a magnificent fellow who trots about carrying his own leash or his human’s groceries and such, owing to the fact that he is extremely intelligent and very well trained (but I don’t believe in holding these handicaps against him). My humans always look at me with a jaundiced eye after witnessing Bruno’s impressive feats of obedience (“If we let Wimsey carry his own leash he would carry it all the way to Connecticut” and “Groceries carried by Wimsey would end up in Wimsey.”) but Bruno and I nevertheless manage to create pandemonium anyway. The fun begins when I detect Bruno and emit one of my exuberant bays of greeting. Then Bruno, whose intelligence has fortunately not hampered his enthusiasm for a game, responds by charging full tilt down the street to meet me. Now a large Rotteweiler charging anywhere is definitely a sight to give one pause, but when the object of the charge is a fellow creature, well, what can I say? Faces go white. People shriek. No actual fainting has occurred but I am ever hopeful. And just as the world braces for the horror that is about to ensue, we play bow and it’s on. The clash of the Titans. WWE Hound Smack Down. Canine Olympic Wrestling. (no surprise to anyone, Bruno always wins—he possesses Teutonic brains and brawn. Like a smarter version of Arnold Schwarzenegger). Now my humans always ask why I can’t be more like Bruno but I am sure that Bruno asks why he can’t be more like me!

But still there is great excitement around here as the actual Olympic Games are about to begin-- assuming the athletes will be able to breathe. Apparently the games are being held in one of the world’s most polluted cities, a fact that has only recently come to light on account of someone noticing the gray haze that always hangs over Beijing and the plethora of choking natives wearing masks. Not to worry though, they shut down a few factories last week to take care of the problem (this is like removing the cheese puffs from a banquet table and thinking that you’ve solved the problem of me stealing the food). It’s this kind of thing that leaves Hounds with the impression that humans are just not all that bright. Nevertheless I am looking forward to many happy hours on the couch watching the excitement of the Games whilst snacking on the remote and fitting as much of myself as possible onto Maria’s lap. It occurs to me that few people realize the important role that Hounds have played in the Olympic movement. The ancient Olympics began in Greece in the 780s BC and the events were much different from those of today:

Events of the Ancient Olympics

Running: Runners competed to see who could get away from their stinky, pesky Hounds the fastest.

Jumping: Jumpers competed to see who could get the farthest away from their Hounds in a single bound.

Marathon: A race of 26 miles for those who really wanted to get even further away from their Hounds.

Chariot race: For those who wanted to use horses to escape the clutches of their Hounds.

Boxing: Contestants fought over who had the worst Hound.

Wrestling: Contestants slathered in slimy Hound drool wrestled for the glory of their Hound-- who then had the honor of stealing their prize.

Discus (Frisbee): If you can’t get away from your Hound, then get your Hound away from you.

Javelin (Stick): See Discus

But the modern Olympics are much different:

Events of the Modern Olympics

The 20 yard dig: An event to determine which Hound can rip up twenty feet of expensive landscaping in the least amount of time.

Long distance tow: Hounds tow humans in a variety of weight classes over long distances. Extra points are awarded for toppling a human or dislocating a shoulder.
Long distance drool fling: An event to determine which Hound can fling drool the furthest. Extra points are awarded for flinging on spectators or for the inclusion of colloidal mud.

Sprint: An event to determine which hound can escape the fastest whilst carrying an entire roast chicken in its mouth.

The Shred and Jerk: An event to determine which Hound can reduce the contents of the family laundry basket to a useless pile of rags in the least amount of time.

The Snatch: An event wherein a Hound must obtain a sandwich whilst a human is still in the process of eating it.

The High Jump: An event in which a Hound steals expensive Italian leather gloves off the top shelf.

The Long Jump: An event in which a Hound knocks a human over with a single leap from across the room.

Diving: Hounds launch themselves off of elevated pieces of furniture into the stomachs of supine napping humans.

Floor Exercise: Hound vs. Vacuum Cleaner

The Vault: You hide valuables. Your Hound finds and destroys valuables.

(Un)Fencing: A big dig event to see which Hound can defeat a fence the fastest.

Modern Hound Pentathlon: The hound must accurately fling drool thus sufficiently distracting a human in order to steal the food off of his plates, then raid the laundry bin and shred a brassiere whilst evading capture, then uproot a valuable ornamental shrub and escape to the finish line by digging out of a fenced yard.

Of course Bruno may beat me at wrestling but I think I am the better Olympian and would certainly win gold (yellow being one of my favorite colors).

Well it is time to leave the realm of sport and enter the realm of art. Our visit this week to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art takes us away from the hot and sticky urban landscape and sends us into the cool and shady world of an 18th century Dutch forest. The Forest Stream, (Jacob van Ruisdael 1760, Metropolitan Museum, New York). Van Ruisdael was one of the great masters of Dutch landscape painting and here we can see how brilliantly he evokes the leafy coolness to be found in a forest stream. But the stream seems so empty with just that one ram. Such a place of sylvan beauty would surely attract many additional and highly attractive animals. See how much more complete the painting looks with the insertion of a hot Hound who is cooling his extra large feet. And notice how the presence of this wonderful creature enhances the pastoral beauty of the scene. We can almost feel the cool water the splendid Hound will ultimately fling on us when he shakes! Wimsey in a Forest Stream.

Well all of this has my humans hunting as usual for some peaceful and cool (in the climactic and not the cultural sense) locale upstate where we can all bask in some leafy splendor and Elizabeth can engage in some more strenuous intellectual debate with her GPS. But until then I will have to settle for digging holes in the cool earth of the Central Park Ramble or basking in the splendor of the decidedly unleafy air conditioner. Of course I could make Maria happy and hunt for that mouse. But I don’t think so.

Until next time,
Wimsey, Hound Olympian


Unknown said...

Sounds like you had a busy week. Hope you get to go to the dog park again on Sunday. Dog park days are our favorites!

Unknown said...

It is very confusing here. The "highs" and the "lows" are pretty much the same all year round. A "BIG TEMPERATURE FLUX" is about 10 degrees. When it's 70, all the valet parkers wear earmuffs. So is it summer, fall, winter or spring? Who's to say ...

Biggie-Z said...

Wimsey, you should come up to Brrr Mont sometime. You would be proud of me. Today I took my Momma to the mountain for a hike, but then it started raining. Then it was misting - so we thought we could hike. And then it started really RAINING. So we had to come home and NO HIKE FOR ME. But I managed to lead my Momma on a merry chase nonetheless. She had to pretend to take me on a mini hike before she got my leash on me.

Sigh. I don't know why humans have a problem with walking in the rain. It's cooling and you are never thirsty.

Bacon said...

Hey Wimsey, I allways admire the way you walk your humans through this perilous town of Manhatten.

Greetings from Duke, the German smalltown bloodhound.

Thoughts said...

Hi Whimsey-

You certainly have a lot going on now! Its been hotter than Hades here in good old Cleveland and we retrievers are much too lazy to take walks in this heat. How ever do you do it?

Princess, Tank and Isaac: The Newfs of Hazard said...

We'd like to see video of you and Bruno.