Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #195

Entry #195

December 31, 2010

Hello and Happy New Year everyone! It’s me Wimsey coming to you from the slush capital of the world (and not the money laundering kind of slush either, although I suspect we are probably the capital of that too), New York City.

Well of course the big news around here was our post Christmas blizzard—all 20 inches of it—and my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth decided to risk life and limb and take me out at the beginning of it, which pleased me greatly and bought my human several hours of post walk peace while I reposed myself afterwards.

And now of course we have 20 inches of slush which makes crossing streets (especially in the company of a large, slush splashing Hound) rather a challenge. (Elizabeth keeps searching for a slush lake avoiding app which means she is spending too much time with her Android phone again).

But Central Park is still snowy and the snow has been delighting New Year’s tourists all week; everywhere one hears the beauty of the park being proclaimed as well as the comeliness of the magnificent Hound disporting himself in its confines. The only downside being that, in an effort to stay alive, my humans have been employing the heinous gentle leader. As compensation, there is also a lot of extra work involved in my care during snow days which ensures that my humans have to spend even more time focused on me.

First of course I must be zipped into my Ruff Wear snow suit (aka the Speedo) that keeps me dry and warm in wet winter weather. So successful has this garment proven that a second Speedo has been ordered so that one can dry whilst one is in use. (this guarantees a perfectly dry winter). Then I must be chased down (there is something about wearing clothing that impels me to run around and make sure my limbs still work) in order for my equipment to be put on (this requires the liberal repetition of the phrase “Wimsey do you want a cookie?” spoken in a wheedling tone of voice. If this doesn’t work they kidnap my squeaky dog and hold him for ransom).

Then owing to the fact that I am not bootie-able (my policy is that the only good bootie is a dead bootie) my delicate paws must be sprayed with Paw Pro oil to protect them from the ridiculous amounts of salt spread on New York City streets. (Although I am not keen on having my feet sprayed, the Paw Pro is good fun as quite a lot of it ends up on the floor making my humans look like the clowns in the IceCapades). Then when I return from my park perambulations I must be massaged dry with a fluffy towel and my feet washed in warm water to remove any residual salt. And because the choice facing my humans is to exercise me or have me eat their apartments, the whole process must be repeated a scant few hours later. I guess this is why my humans don’t know how to answer the question “Is he a good dog.” (I don’t know, can a dog be said to be good who routinely uses you as a napkin after he has a drink of water?)

Anyway since this is the last day of the year, this post should include at least one list (I won’t publish my resolutions since they are all along the lines of being a better Hound, which translates into being a much worse dog).

2010’s Top Ten Questions Asked About Me

1. Isn’t he big for a bloodhound?

The answer my humans give: Bloodhounds are big dogs, but Wimsey is a bit bigger because he is a show dog.

The real answer: if a small insubordinate, house wrecking dog is good a large, insubordinate house wrecking dog is better! There is more of me to yell at.

2. Is he a good dog?

The answer my humans give: It depends what you consider good (description of exercise needs, drool, smell, stubborn, disobedient, all about my nature, shedding, destructive power, etc. follows).

The real answer: No.

3. Does he do OK in the city?

The answer my humans give: Yes, Wimsey enjoys life in the city.

The real answer: Wimsey enjoys life in the city because he spends most of it hauling his humans around Central Park and the rest of it poking people on the street in the butt and being admired, photographed and petted. That, and creating a ruckus on account of his drool flinging prowess guarantees a pretty “OK” life.

4. Is he a mastiff?

The answer my humans give: No, he’s a bloodhound.

The real answer: Here is our view of your of breed suggestions:

The reasonable: coonhound

The somewhat reasonable: Basset Hound, Fila Brasiliero

The unreasonable: (as in “all big dogs must be”)--mastiff, bull mastiff, Saint Bernard, Great Dane (or Scooby Doo) and (as in all wrinkled dogs must be)-- shar pei, Dogue de Bordeaux (or Turner and Hootch dog)

The bizarre: Irish Setter, Doberman Pinscher-St. Bernard mix, the Boykin, Irish Wolfhound, Cane Corso

The really bizarre (since these breeds don’t actually exist): The Black Hound, the Razor Back Hound and the Real Hound.

5. How much does he eat?

The answer my humans give: about 2 lbs. a day.

The real answer: How much food is there in your refrigerator.

6. Is he difficult to take care of in the City?

The answer my humans give: not if you exercise him properly.

The real answer: he’s difficult to take care of anywhere.

7. Is he intelligent?

The answer my humans give: Well he can be if it involves something he wants.

The real answer: only if you consider being crafty, manipulative and deaf a sign of intelligence.

8. Where did he come from?

The answer my humans give: A breeder in Illinois

The real answer: He’s a gift from God. Or maybe a punishment. It’s unclear.

9. Why is he making that noise?

The answer my humans give: because bloodhounds don’t bark, they bay.

The real answer: because he wants: a) the light to change, b) your water bottle, c) your lunch, d) your kid’s stuffed toy e) your car f) you to pet him g) you to stop petting him h) the dog across the street i) because he’s bored, j) because he feels like it

10. Would you advise me to get a bloodhound?

The answer my humans give: They’re not for everybody.

The real answer: They’re not for anybody sane.

OK, I know I do talk a lot about my non-obedience skills, but as some of you know I generously volunteer Elizabeth’s time at the ASPCA to make her feel better. Apparently she finds it curiously fulfilling (and certainly less humiliating) to help train dogs that actually listen to her. And there are also even compensations to her handling me---pretty much all dogs feel puny in comparison. Even a mighty Rottweiler can feel pretty manageable when compared to a large, determined Hound in tractoring mode. And very often she keeps up with the dogs she has worked with, including one of her favorites, the delightful Leo. Here is Leo with his human Leighanne. Such a handsome fellow, and so petite!

Anyway, this is what happens when you tell Leo “sit.”

And this is what happens when you tell Leo “down.”

And this is what happens when you tell Leo “come”

And this is what happens when you tell Leo “leave it” (you can just see the small yellow biscuit that he is obediently avoiding.

Now this is what happens when you tell me “sit”

And this is what happens when you tell me “down”

And this is what happens when you tell me “come”

And lastly, this is what happens when you tell me to leave the yellow biscuit (well there was a yellow biscuit, you’ll just have to take my word for it).

Personally I think there is a reason that the dog training shows on TV so rarely feature members of the Hound group—particularly the scent Hounds—it might make for entertaining TV if they did, just not in the way the producers intended. And it is very impressive to the viewing public to see all these dominant forceful dogs obey commands and it would perhaps not be as impressive to see some cute, appealing Hound obey commands. Unless you live with one.

Anyway, I will leave it there for this week. Apparently the boiler is broken in my new apartment and there is no heat so Elizabeth has sent Maria directly home from work to check to see if it is warm enough for me to return home after my next walk. Maria’s comfort is of apparent little consequence. As it always isn’t.

Until next time,

Wimsey, hoping the New Year is like the old year-- all about me.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #194

December 24, 2010

Entry #194

Hello Everyone—Happy Christmas Eve—it’s me Wimsey, the Upper West Side of Manhattan’s most festive Hound—coming to you in my traditional Santa hat. As I have related many times, this picture (which gets quite a few Google hits, by the way) took so long for my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth to obtain that they re-use it every year as the they have little desire to revisit the trauma of the experience. Of course, putting a Santa hat on a Hound is the height of irony since we’re the ones who sit on people’s laps and demand presents (irrespective of whether we have been naughty or nice as we can seldom lay claim to the latter) but the incongruity seems to be lost on my humans.

However, this year, feeling in need of creating further Wimsey embarrassing hat experiences, and feeling remiss in their holiday duties to annoy me and entertain themselves, they have purchased not one, but two pairs of antlers for me to model. The purchase of the two pair were the result of a great debate that took place at Petco as to whether the brown antlers, which look

natural given my coat color (if you can call the blinking red lights natural) and therefore would be more humorous are a better choice than the red and green ones

which might have considerably more ├ęclat. Maria felt the green and red ones were a lot of look but Elizabeth felt that they made a statement. So as is ever the case when women can’t decide what to buy, they bought both. Now you can be the judge of which pair is preferable. I vote for making them both chew toys.

Well it has been a lively week around here—we have had excellent Hounding weather—mid 30s-- which means that getting me in from the park has proven even more challenging than usual. And on Sunday, I finally found a chew stick large enough for a Hound of my majestic proportions. The

fact that it happened to be still actually attached to a tree was a tad inconvenient with respect to portability but I suppose that having a tree in one’s apartment is not especially practical. Of course having a giant Hound in one’s apartment is not practical either, but then I am a whole lot cuter than a tree.

Anyway, I did recover from my disappointment enough to serenade visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art—it is always my pleasure to contribute to New York’s cultural landscape and to impress upon visitors the vibrant and dynamic nature of life in the big city—a place where an innocent visit to an art museum could result in permanent auditory damage.

the holidays are always a wonderful season to visit New York (you might even see a bloodhound in antlers in the park) and the seasonal exchange of gifts makes it especially pleasurable. I already received a large bully stick (not shown as it vanished with astonishing speed down my ample gullet) and a delightful stuffed reindeer.

And naturally there are Christmas carols playing everywhere, such as:

Jingle Bells

Dashing through the snow, with one Hound on a long leash

Over the fields we go shrieking all the way

Baying through the air, making people deaf

What fun it is to be towed across the snowy streets today!

Towing Hound, towing Hound, towing all the way

What fun it is to be towed across the snowy streets today!


Silver Bells

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks (occupied by Hounds looking for chicken bones and other urban delicacies)

Dressed in holiday style (with Hounds in brightly colored fancy coats that they try to chew up every time they’re put on)

In the air (redolent of smelly Hound)

There’s a feeling

Of Christmas (and also of flying drool).

Children laughing (at the poor sap being dragged by the Hound)

People passing (rude remarks after getting shoved off the street by the giant Hound)

Meeting smiles after smile (of people grateful that the Hound is with you and not them)

And on every street corner you’ll hear:

Ahroo, Ahroo, Ahroo

It’s Christmas time in the City

Here me sing and make people deaf

Soon it will be Christmas Day (and time for my presents!)

Well you get the idea. And in keeping with another tradition around here, please find a reprise of my Twas the Night Before Christmas (and for the first time, it actually is the night before Christmas!

Wimsey’s Night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a Hound.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there before the Hound could shred them.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of Hounds danced in their heads.

And mamma in her shredded ‘kerchief, and I in my chewed up cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap with the Hound.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what the Hound had gotten into now.

Away to the window I flew—stepping over the Hound-- like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen yellow snow

Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer being chased by a Hound.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick (he had to be to get away from the Hound),

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than Hounds his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Wimsey and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall where the Hound can’t get to us!

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As peed on leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew away from the Hound,

With the sleigh full of rawhides, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof and a lot of loud baying.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a Hound.

He was dressed all in fur (The Hound thought he was a stuffed toy), from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot and drool.

A bundle of rawhides he had flung on his back trying to keep it from the Hound,

And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled as he looked at the Hound! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as yellow as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth to keep the Hound from stealing it,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed at the Hound, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself and the fact that the Hound had stolen his hat!

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread (I live with a Hound, what more is there to dread).

He spoke not a word—he was speechless--, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk as the Hound poked him in the tush.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose as the Hound chased him!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, let’s get away from that giant smelly dog

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle after a Hound has sneezed on it.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to the Hound a good-night!" (and good riddance!)

So a Happy Christmas to you all as well. And let’s all come together to ban these heinous antlers once and for all!

Until next time,

Wimsey, a reindeer not!