Friday, October 30, 2009

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #142

Entry #142
October 30, 2009

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where preparations are in full swing for both Halloween and the New York City Marathon. And for Halloween this year I will be dressed in my traditional costume representing a smelly, loud, obnoxious, yet somehow incredibly charming and lovable, Hound. Unfortunately as you can see from this week’s opening photo I was forced to don a pair of Mickey Mouse ears owing to the fact that my human Maria’s friend Elizabeth spent a little time at Disney World last week. There is an even more outrageous hat in the works but apparently elastic straps have to be constructed in order for me to wear it--it having been determined that the hat was not designed to fit on a large flat and pointy head. Elizabeth is in charge of constructing the straps so if her sewing skills are anything like her cooking skills I am confident that the next humiliating Disney hat won’t happen. Stay tuned.

Anyway, Elizabeth’s trip to Disney World got me thinking about how much fun it would be to visit a Hound centered theme park. It could be called Hound World.

Major Attractions at Wimsey’s Hound World

Hound Mountain: Visitors get to search frantically though a mound of personal possessions in various stages of mastication that have been stolen from their hotel rooms.

Big Bay Railroad: Children and adults alike will thrill to the terrifying sensation of being dragged down numerous flights of stairs by a Hound overly eager to get to where he is going who is emitting excited thunderous bays.

Hound Jamboree: A show that is a veritable festival of Houndiness. Realistic animatronic Hounds bay, kick dirt in viewer’s faces and steal their food and personal items.

Splash Mountain: An exciting roller coaster where participants are surrounded by head shaking Hounds whose salivary apparatus has been stimulated by the alluring smell of frying liver.

Wimsey’s Island (formerly Tom Sawyers Island): Tom left the island after realizing that there was actually someone naughtier and more insubordinate than he. Also he couldn’t stand the smell. Visitors to the island explore houses with chewed up drywall, fall into holes cleverly dug into the ground, sit on cushionless couches that buckle under people’s weight owing to extensive chewing of the legs, forage for food in empty refrigerators, climb over mounds of ripped up garbage bags and slide down hills of chewed underpants. Visitors are advised to check all personal items. (As of this writing the island must be reached by swimming as the ferry has been set adrift owing to a chewed up tow rope).

Space Mountain: In this ride, visitors engage in an exciting fight for space—space on the couch, space on the bed, space behind the wheel of the car, space in the kitchen and that all important space in the bathroom.

Wimsey’s Scary Adventures: This is the ride in which participants must answer that scary question—“What has Wimsey eaten now?!” and predict the shocking size of the ensuing vet bill.

Buzz Wimsey’s Yellow Laser Spin: In this ride visitors armed with Hound shaped lasers attempt to use its lifted leg to hit trees, bushes, flowers, fire hydrants and fences. Extra points are awarded for hitting cars, purses left on the floor and humans who disapprove of large smelly Hounds.

Wimsey’s Carousel: This is a wonderful ride where humans sit on seats shaped like all the breeds of Hound, each with its own distinctive and revolting smell. (Sickness bags optional).

Hound Speedway: In this attraction visitors vie to catch a fleeing Hound in possession of the family’s Sunday roast. After they become exhausted, visitors enjoy the pleasure of watching the Hound eat the roast at his leisure under the dining room table.

The Many Adventures of Wimsey the Poop: On this ride visitors must uncover and collect excrement from all the ingenious places that famously clever Hound Wimsey has found to deposit his poop. A chiropractor is on call for those injuries caused by trying to access all those hard to reach places.

Dumbo the Stupid Human: A ride consisting of chairs shaped like people petting Hounds, feeding hounds, beaming at Hounds, photographing Hounds giving Hounds belly rubs, sharing the couch with Hounds and letting Hounds steal the remote control.

Hounds of the Caribbean: An educational attraction in which visitors travel by boat through a series of Hound infested Caribbean islands where they learn where the pirates got all their ideas from.

It’s A Small World and It All Belongs to Me: An inspiring display of children of all the world’s nationalities crying while their Hounds eat their favorite toys.

The Mad Tea Party: Visitors run in circles while attempting to drink a cup of tea and eat a slice of cake whilst in the presence of a pack of hungry Hounds.

Wimsey’s Haunted Mansion: Instead of the ghosts, visitors to the mansions are annoyed by Hounds pretending to be ghosts wearing the elegant sheets they have stolen from Disney’s best resort hotels.

The Magic Carpets of Wimsey: A carousel where visitors get to choose whether to ride on chewed up carpets, peed on carpets, hair infested carpets or carpets that consist of only the carpet padding that has been left behind.

Non-Jungle Cruise: Visitors ride a boat up the Hudson and East rivers where they view dioramas of animatronic Hounds trashing some of the most expensive real estate on the planet.

Wimsey’s Carousel of Non-Progress: Guests are seated in a moving theater in the round that rotates between tableaux of various stages of Hound training.

Featured tableaux:

Housebreaking: We watch as baby Wimsey’s human walks him for hours pleading for excretory activity and we laugh with delight as he barrels through the door and pees on the carpet;

Obedience: Watch as Young Wimsey decides that the other dogs in his obedience class are much more interesting than his human yelling “sit” and brandishing a hot dog. We snicker as the young Hound is eventually expelled because the teacher cannot be heard over his baying.

Modeling: Watch as Adult Wimsey wreaks havoc at professional photo shoots by interpreting the words “sit, stay” as bay, jump up and grab the treat.

Show Dog Training: Howl along with Wimsey’s humans as he learns to pace over cavalettis, gallop around the show ring, slime judges, serenade his fellow contestants, try to make a love connection with the lady Hounds and engage in his trademark display of spirited stack dancing during the judge’s examination.

I think Hound World would a fantastic educational venue as well. No longer would humans be posting shocked and frantic missives on Hound messages boards on the order of “Why is my Hound doing this and what can I do to make him stop!” Having visited Hound World, they will know that he is doing it because he is a Hound and no, you won’t be able to make him to stop, so suck it up. And some humans are just gluttons for punishment, like the Dutch fellow I met yesterday who confessed that at one time he lived with ten bloodhounds (my humans can hardly cope with one—what wusses!). Of course he also signed up to voluntarily run 26 miles.

Now I love Marathon Week in New York City---I get to meet and greet and be admired by an entirely new group of visitors all with the vim and vigor to administer some energetic scratching. And there was even rather a competition to photograph me yesterday as I strolled past the statue of that canine marathoner, Balto. (I wonder if he has as many photographs taken of him as I do). I am sure all these marathoners would improve their times if I were towing ferociously at the other end of their leash.

Anyway, this has been a good week here (mouse ears aside). On Sunday I met these guys who were delighted by my attempts to get my mouth on their water bottle. And we also ran into this beautiful girl bulldog puppy called Charlie. My humans were entranced by her Churchillian good looks and she was entranced by their Fairway turkey. We also had a spot of wet weather which enabled me to model my new Outward Hound raincoat in which I was much admired. And of course this is my favorite season, wet or dry, owing to the abundance of smelly leaves upon which to conduct my vast amounts of business (my humans being convinced that much of my majestic 125lbs is owing to bladder and alimentary canal). And then I spent another afternoon strolling around the park with Elizabeth’s friend Nancy and her young daughter, Alicia, who fed me hamburger and French fries and no longer looks terrified when I bay. Small children with large meals are one of New York City’s great natural resources.

But really I am just happy to have my entourage back at full strength —luckily none of the pilots on Elizabeth’s plane decided to play with their laptops mid-flight. Frankly that sounds like something I would do if I were a pilot as I tend to get bored rather easily. So I suppose it is a good thing that the only flying I do is down the stairs. My humans of course might disagree.

Well, I hope you all have an enjoyable Halloween and that you don’t get stuffed into any humiliating costumes. Although I must say I never quite got the concept of trick OR treat. We Hounds are never dissuaded from perpetrating tricks by the mere application of treats—Trick AND Treat is more in our line—tricks for humans and treats for us. That is the natural order of things. And if your humans happen to wake up Sunday morning and find their domicile trashed, just swear it was ghosts.

Until next time,

Wimsey, W-I-M…. S-E-Y, H-o-u-n-d (it worked for Mickey, didn’t it?)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry #141

October 23, 2009

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from sun and fun filled New York City where I am, as usual, holding court for the adoring humans of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I don’t know, sometimes I think that all the admiration and adulation will go to my head and I’ll become demanding and obnoxious.

Of course my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth already consider me demanding and obnoxious-- very much in the style of my idol Gordon Ramsey. In fact, the ladies often think I am a tad too much like him for their own good. And I will admit that like Gordon, I am something of a perfectionist, especially with regard to matters concerning my own personal comfort:

Hell Hound’s Kitchen


Human: No Hound. But then again I don’t drool in my water in the first place.


Human: Yes Hound.


Human: Yes Hound. Right on it Hound.


Human: It’s under the couch, Hound.


Human: You shoved it under there, Hound.


Human: Yes Hound. Understood Hound.


Human: I forgot to put it on Hound.


Human: Yes Hound!


Human: I thought you might like some company, Hound.


Human: Yes Hound!


Human: Because we’re going down five flights of stairs and I want to stay alive.


Human: Yes Hound. I know.


Human: Thank you Hound!

But I know my humans forgive me all my small foibles (and large bruises), especially when they opened up this Saturday’s NY Post and saw a picture of my handsome mug and a cute write up about my fierce desire to track down police officers in order to get them to pet me. And all because of a small chat I had with a reporter at last week’s AKC’s Meet the Breeds press conference. And quite satisfyingly, the picture of one of the actually obedient dogs at the press conference was on the next page and was smaller than mine. Let’s face it, naughty dogs are just more entertaining than obedient ones—especially if you don’t happen to be the person responsible for it. We Hounds are the masters of schadenfreude. To know me is to love me. Or else to be appalled. I think it depends on which side of the leash you happen to be.

But I am handsome charming, amusing and witty—in fact a lot like the fellow I was named after, Dorothy L. Sayers suave British sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey. Apparently the New Yorker magazine is having a contest for the dog best dressed like a fictional character and the ladies were discussing the possibility of me wearing a monocle and top hat and tails like Lord Peter. But of course even if such items could be procured in my size, the problem becomes how on earth to get me to wear them. Maybe the ladies should start with something less ambitious—like getting me to sit.

Anyway, Dorothy L. Sayers wrote all these lively mysteries about Lord Peter Wimsey in the 1920s and 30s and as a great admirer of hers, I have my own versions:

Dorothy L. Sayers Oeuvre (Wimsey Oeuvre)

Busman’s Honeymoon (Human’s Honeymoon Spent Sleeping on the Couch Because the Hound Has Left You No Room in the Bed).

Gaudy Night (Gaudy Clothing Covered in Drool)

The Nine Tailors (The Nine Tailors Who Became Rich Repairing Clothing of People Who Live With Hounds)

Murder Must Advertise (A Hound Must Advertise That You Are a Fool)

Have His Carcass (Have the Turkey Carcass Out of the Garbage Bin)

Five Red Herrings (Zero Red Herrings and One Hound With Fish Breath)

Strong Poison (Strong Gin and Tonic: It's What You Feel Like Taking After a Day Spent With Me)

The Documents in the Case (The Shredded Documents in the Case)

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (The Unpleasantness On the Club Chair)

Lord Peter Views the Body (Hound Wimsey Crushes the Body)

Unnatural Death (The Unnatural Life My Humans Lead Because They Have To Take Care of Me)

Clouds of Witness (Clouds of Noxious Gas)

Who’s Body? (Who’s Panties?)

But anyway, on Saturday Elizabeth actually went to the Meet the Breeds event and speculated about what it would have been like if I had been invited and all the gin and tonics she would have had to have consumed in order to recover from it. And the breed booths were quite elaborate-for example, the one displaying Afghans looked like a desert tent (it really should have looked like a dessert tent since the Afghan is a Hound after all). The bloodhound booth was very tasteful—deceptively so. A more accurate booth would have consisted of piles of shredded books and newspapers, chewed up gloves and shoes, eaten furniture, an artistic mound of partially masticated cushions and a mob of screaming humans. In addition, the walls of the booth would have been papered with an extravagant design of vet bills and letters of complaint from irate neighbors. And of course everything, especially the people manning the booth would be coated with drool, arrayed in both blotch and slinger designs.

But it has been a good week overall, although not nearly as exciting as last week. We did have some wet, cold weather which prompted a raincoat shopping expedition—for me of course. My original yellow slicker ripped owing to the fact that it was a bit tight and its replacement arrived too small. More sizism! So off we paced to the pet store to buy a fancy raincoat—here I am shopping and trying it on. We bought the coat you see, only in a more appropriately eye catching red and black because a giant, smelly baying Hound in the middle of Manhattan is not quite eye catching enough. My humans believe that the fact that I have a jazzy new raincoat virtually guarantees that it won’t rain again for eons.

And then this week Elizabeth and I ran into her friend Nancy (a fellow ASPCA volunteer), her little daughter Alicia and her adopted Yorkie, Zorro (poor Zorro is terrified of even normal looking things, so you can imagine how delighted he was to meet a large, loud and nasally interrogative Hound such as myself). This meeting was a happy coincidence as it turned my paltry one and a half hour afternoon walk into a three hour Wimsey park extravaganza. And as if I am not conspicuous enough on my own, when you add a cute child and a little dog the cameras really come out in force. Perhaps my loud baying owing to the fact that the ladies were hogging the soda bottles and Zorro seemed reluctant to be inhaled whole, had something to do with all the attention . Nancy, like Elizabeth, is an experienced dog volunteer, skilled in modifying unwanted canine behavior. Now usually Elizabeth likes to tease Nancy about her difficulty in applying these skills to the management of her child. But somehow with me next to her Elizabeth remained strangely silent on the topic.

Anyway, Elizabeth is sneaking off to Disney World for a couple of days. She says it’s business, but nobody believes her. And she has the temerity to leave me behind. I think I would have a pretty good time chasing Mickey and the scaring children. But there is some talk about bringing me back a pair of mouse ears to wear which I am doing my best to discourage--unless of course the ears are attached to an actual mouse.

Well anyway, I think with those thoughts I must close. We are having unseasonably warm weather here now which my humans were hoping would mitigate my traditional October friskiness, so it is important that I conserve my energies in order to prove them painfully wrong.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a theme park unto myself

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #140

Entry #140
October 16, 2009

Hello Everyone. Wimsey here coming to you from that Hound lover's heaven, New York’s Upper West Side. This week, however, I did expand my geographic range and make myself available to be admired by the denizens of Midtown and the East Side. My adventures in these foreign climes were proof positive that Hound loving knows no municipal boundaries.

But first of course I dragged my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth out for another beautiful four hour Sunday Central Park marathon. I began by furiously towing due north along a path that I seldom get to take owing to the fact that my humans consider it a boring and relatively un-scenic route. Not so to those of us of an olfactory persuasion—great ground smells and little hills upon which to stand and catch the drifting air currents of fine autumnal scents. Nevertheless the route proved anything but boring as we encountered two puppies who were cloned in South Korea from the DNA of their human’s beloved deceased dog.

When people say you find everything and anything in New York City they are not lying! Now I had a good time investigating these puppies whilst my humans once again contemplated the desirable prospect of a Wimsey clone. But although a clone would look like me I have no doubt that it would not possess all my little habits (and certainly not my extreme degree of charm)—like the way I moisturize my nose after each lift of the leg as a preventative measure against further dehydration. Or the way I use my enormous head to pin my human’s mouse hand to the computer desk when they have been sitting there an unacceptable length of time (or pinning a spoon wielding hand when I am desirous of some yoghurt).

But my human’s idealized view of Wimsey clones vanished in visions of a whole show ring full of Wimseys all baying at each other and pacing and galloping their way around the ring in between lively demonstrations of the stack dance. And homes where furniture and laps were extensively draped in Wimseys. And apartments whose walls, ceilings and floors were encrusted with perma-drool. And Wimseys that all want to tow in different directions and none of them the actual way you want to go. Pretty soon my humans were thinking that maybe one Wimsey was enough (and on my livelier days, probably one too many).

But clones weren’t the only exciting thing in the park this Sunday. It is a little known fact that I am an avid bird watcher, particularly with respect to game birds. Of course I would like to do a little more than watch these delicious looking creatures but this has been generally deemed inadvisable. And this Sunday when we were up by the Harlem Meer, not only were there a flock of geese but also a couple of Swans! Here I am watching--the ladies were afraid to let me get any closer lest I be unable to control my unbridled admiration. They were of the opinion that I am an expensive enough beast without incurring the fines that would no doubt be the result of my enthusiastic degree of admiration

Anyway, then to top off the day-- which was even more Wimsey-centric than usual (quite a challenge in and of itself) -- I had a bath on Sunday evening. I rather outdid myself in the climbing on and poking of my humans when it became apparent that watching Hound hair dry is no more interesting than the same activity in regard to paint. Ironically the ladies were trying to watch It’s Me or the Dog. Somehow I don’t think laughing and shrieking “Wimsey stop that” is in Victoria Stillwell’s training repertoire. Wimsey 1, Ladies 0.

Then on Monday afternoon, all sparkly clean (sort of) and minimally Hound scented Elizabeth and I took a walk to meet Maria’s colleagues on the East Side. This necessitated cutting through the Columbus Day Parade which I found alarming until photographers started taking pictures of me instead of the parade. This familiar activity reassured me about the degree to which the people of the East possessed the same excellent taste as the people of the West and made me feel right at home. Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg could be induced to accede to a Wimsey Day parade as part of his re-election campaign. The theme of the parade could be contributions of the Hound to Society which would guarantee brevity. Floats would of course be sponsored by Bose, Tanqueray, Hoffman-La Roche and Home Depot.

Anyway needless to say I was a big hit with Maria’s colleagues—Elizabeth wasn’t able to get many good pictures because I was in a frenzy of wiggling, throwing myself on the ground, leaning and of course, baying. And the colleagues weren’t the only ones who were impressed---people strolling down Park Avenue stopped to gawk, talk and take pictures of me with their camera phones. It’s not every day that you see a large baying Hound where you expect to see lawyers and bankers.

Elizabeth was quite busy wielding the drool rag which I not only found personally annoying but it was also highly ineffective to boot. Everyone knows that the wiping of drool simply stimulates a greater rate of production. However, she was determined not to let me fling drool on all these quite serious looking people in suits who were passing by and admiring me. (Elizabeth herself used to be a quite serious person in a suit also but now is a badly dressed smelly person with a loud Hound. Wonder how that happened?). And then just when things couldn’t get any better, on our way back through the park we met one of my lady friends, Oreo--and I demonstrated the gallant nature of the Hound by promptly stealing her ball. Fortunately for Oreo, the ball became somewhat less alluring when I detected Elizabeth feeding her some of my turkey and my attitude towards sharing underwent a radical revision.

Then on Tuesday I made another of my regular appearances at the vet where everybody knows my name and my human’s credit card number. What I can’t figure out is how a visit ostensibly for gunky eyes turned into a finger up my bum and the expression of my anal glands. Is there some veterinarian’s code of conduct that mandates fingers up the rear? Does no one think they are getting their money’s worth if this area remains un-tampered with?

I exited the establishment with ointment for my eyes and a supposedly delicious banana flavored probiotic cream for my stomach. Well in their anxiety about the potential difficulty of getting ointment into my eyes (which it turns out I permit) the ladies overlooked the much more difficult task of getting the banana flavored cream down my throat. I mean I am not exactly a pit bull but prising open my jaws when I am unwilling to have them prised is not a trivial matter And then there is the problem of what happens if some of the cream does manage to get in. Let’s just say Maria is hoping it’s good for her complexion.

But Wednesday was even more exciting-- I was dropped off at Elizabeth’s in the morning so she could get me ready for my appearance at the American Kennel Club’s Meet the Breeds press conference at the Affinia Hotel near Madison Square Garden. When the pet taxi arrived Elizabeth was dismayed to find that the back seat had been pushed quite far forward so that it was unclear if I would even fit. But in the end I managed, mainly by dint of turning sideways and hanging my head over the driver’s shoulder (fortunately Elizabeth came armed with yet more of those annoying drool rags).

Anyway the press conference took place in a big meeting room and there were cats (in carriers--boo) and several other dogs. Now two of these other dogs—a golden retriever and a border collie—were off leash and part of an agility team demonstrating their obedience skills. They represented the biddable dogs. Then, representing the non-biddable dogs there was yours truly—on my leash dragging Elizabeth around the room so I could get a good whiff of everything and not listening to a thing she said. Elizabeth’s friend Daisy who works for the AKC came over to say hello—she is a fellow Houndist, having a smoking hot girl beagle called Olive who never seems to mind my large cold wet nose up her backside—and Elizabeth apologized for my bad behavior. And Daisy was all—“Bad behavior? What bad behavior?” Gotta love Hound people. (personally I found the behavior of the trained agility dogs extremely bad—attentively listening to their humans, doing tricks on command and with no one even pleading with them or bribing them with food! Why? At least they weren’t Hounds—that would have been truly disgraceful (if of course it were even possible)). And in a commendable show of courage, Daisy even wanted to take me on live TV the next morning, but apparently the TV people demanded a small well behaved dog. Clearly the entertainment value of someone trying to give an interview whilst trying to control a baying charging Hound was completely lost on them.

Anyway, after the press conference I hung out on the street in my official jacket (an XL, the largest they had and quite a squeeze too (does no one out there realize that not all of us are Chihuahuas! This persistent sizism is starting to irk me). There were also these animal characters handing out information about the event. And of course I was baying which attracted crowds of people wondering where the walrus was. The only thing that marred the occasion was some lady who asked Elizabeth why she had me (and just as Elizabeth was about to reply that it was because she was insane ((although to be fair, as Maria is my primary human, the fault is entirely hers)) the lady started screaming at her that I belonged in the country (the country! Who’s going to take pictures of me and fawn on me and feed me sandwiches on my walks in the country?) and that I was a very unhappy and ill treated dog (clearly she does not read this blog). Anyway, Elizabeth did something shocking and unprecedented with her middle finger.
But then, on a nicer note, we headed over to the AKC offices for a little site visit where I entertained the troops and demonstrated my fine voice in exchange for a water bottle (which everyone watched me dismember with rapt attention). Then Elizabeth had the wonderful idea of walking home (about 2 ½ miles) instead of taking the pet taxi and we set off up Fifth Avenue! I marked it the entire way and really enjoyed the stunned looks on passersby in response to my baying on the street corners when the light was against us. All I can say is that if you want to be noticed no need to marry Guy Ritchie, adopt third world children or dance around scantily clad—just take me for a walk in midtown Manhattan. What with all the chatting, picture taking, and admiring we didn’t get back to Elizabeth’s until after 4. What a great day!
Well this has been a long and event filled post so it is time for me bid you adieu and get on with the important business of annoying, impeding and hampering my humans. It’s my version of the charm offensive.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Country Dog Not