Friday, August 27, 2010

Wimsey's Blog:Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #181

Entry #181
August 27, 2010

Hello Everyone, Wimsey, here coming to you from the (very) temporarily un-tropical Upper West Side of Manhattan where the cessation of the heat and humidity please me no end. Of course it was also cloudy and rainy this week which did not please my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who somehow believe that they are going to melt in the rain (doesn’t that only happen to wicked witches? Hmmm…).

Anyway, the rain does have its compensations—I got to wear my flashy red raincoat from Ruff Wear which makes me even more conspicuous-- if that were possible-- and upon my return I am greeted with a pile of fluffy towels and an extensive massage. One day I was apparently insufficiently moist and Maria thought she’d get away with just a quick once over until I glared at her and a proper post rain massage materialized. Humans can be so lazy.

Anyway, owing to the cooler weather and lack of suitable apartments to view, I had quite a long walk on Sunday. Apartment hunting seems to have ground to a halt as it appears that there are actually no apartments for rent on the Upper West Side that do not cost the GNP of a small nation or that do not discriminate against large, smelly and drooly dogs—the small barky ones seems preferable for reasons that escape me. I mean the only sound I make indoors is that of snoring or a few discrete squeaks to alert my humans to the fact that I require something that has not been forthcoming. Of course my humans do make a lot of noise, mostly related to the intense pain I cause when climbing, shoving, thwacking or otherwise conducting myself in a manner that behooves an entitled and majestic Hound such as myself.

But never mind—in the words of Dickens’ Mr. Micawber, something will turn up and in the meantime my humans have more time to devote to escorting me around to be viewed by the admiring masses. And if the admiration gets any more intense, I will have to be added to one these “things to see in Central Park” kiosks. Yesterday some guy whizzing by on a bicycle called out “Is that Wimsey the dog with the blog?” And on Saturday I was turned into a state fair event as various people wanted to hold my leash in order to pit their strength against mine. Of course for one of these folks, in true Hound fashion, I decided for the one and only time in my life to put on a display of loose leash heeling. Perhaps Maria could earn some extra rent money by introducing an exciting slate of Hound related events and contests:

The Wimsey Central Park Fair Event Roster

Poop finding contest

Guess the number of kibbles I am going to eat

Guess how far I can fling this piece of drool

The “can you eat your ice cream cone faster than I can steal it” contest

130 lb. Hound lap sitting endurance contest

Wimsey’s hootenanny (earplugs not included)

Wimsey tug-o-war (otherwise known as taking me for a walk)

Well you get the idea. And owing to the somewhat more clement weather I have been out and about quite a bit this week and as you can imagine unusual things are always likely to happen to such a novel creature as myself. So this week Elizabeth and I were standing on the corner of 73rd and Broadway—she was facing west waiting for the light to change and I was facing south because that was the way the wind was blowing—when a gentleman approached us from behind, mistook me for a seeing eye dog and asked Elizabeth if she would like to cross! He quickly realized his mistake and apologized and scooted away but not before the horror of the idea of me as a seeing eye dog implanted itself in Elizabeth’s brain. Not the idea of her being blind, mind you but the idea of me as a Seeing Eye dog. In a flash she saw herself being dragged to snack shops and pet stores all over town as well as to the middle of smelly fields which bore no resemblance to any place she would want to go. My humans discussed it and came to the conclusion that they would be hard pressed to think of a dog more ill suited to that particular job. Of course the point is moot as I can’t even pass a simple obedience test let alone Seeing Eye dog training, but still just the thought of it had Elizabeth reaching for the gin bottle.

I guess as a large, imposing and obviously intelligent looking dog (no judging a book by its cover jokes, please) who is always wearing a harness and frequently wearing a coat of some sort is bound to be mistaken for an animal rendering a service of some type to humanity. It is ironic as I pride myself as being not only useless but seriously inconvenient! But of course it is my humans in their unflattering and drool (and worse) stained clothes who are really rendering service to me. I am thinking of ordering them special Wimsey Service Human vests so people know not to disturb them when they are fetching me water or feeding me snacks or helping me track raccoons and squirrels in The Ramble.

And on Saturday evening Maria and I met Elizabeth at the cross-town bus on her way home from the ASPCA and Saturday’s park popularity continued as we attempted to walk down Broadway. At one point we were stopped by a lovely family of admirers who themselves have a lively young Labrador. One thing led to another and Elizabeth, who helps train shelter dogs, was asked if she would be interested in helping with the Labrador as their current trainer is based in the Hamptons. Of course at the time this conversation was taking place I was attempting to drag Elizabeth over to an outdoor cafĂ© to sample people’s food (the son pointed out that the other trainer said dogs were supposed to walk next to you) and baying and generally acting like I always act when I am bored. In general I am such a poor advertisement for Elizabeth’s training skills that she has considered wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m not his trainer. It’s not my fault.” What can I say—many have tried, none have succeeded. But as I am a Hound there is no shame in failure, only astonishment at success.

But the highlight of the week was undoubtedly yesterday when Elizabeth and I met our friend Nancy and her rapidly growing daughter Alicia in the park for the day. T here is something very analogous about living with a demanding (but cute) two year old and living with a demanding (and also cute) Hound:

We get bored easily

We are oppositional

We are committed to getting our own way

We are manipulative

We have conveniently limited verbal skills

We are messy

Everyone thinks we are unfailingly adorable except those who have to take care of us

We are capricious

Nothing is ever really good enough to truly satisfy us

We are inconveniently curious

We are loud

We produce an unending variety of secretions

Well we all had a lively long tow along the bridle path before Alicia wisely decided that ice cream was required. Now you may remember the last time Alicia had ice cream in my presence she fed it to me and I decided to eat the stick as well. This time Nancy did the feeding and held onto the stick with an iron fist. Then she decided to see if I liked Ritz crackers (yes, I found them quite delicious and crunchy) as Alicia’s stroller comes equipped with all manner of snacks for me to sample. And of course I had much petting and adulation from passersby which only enhanced my gustatory pleasure—I believe people enjoy watching me enjoy my food—probably because the style conscious denizens of New York City subsist principally on lettuce and sushi. So it’s all—“Oh look! Wimsey’s eating Ritz crackers—he doesn’t know how many grams of sodium and how many calories are in them! And that ice cream—it looks delicious but I already used up today’s junk food quota on a cheese doodle.” It was all very delightful—and we sat around for a while until I was able to encourage the finishing up of the sodas so I could precycle the bottles.

Anyway, by the time we reached the west 70s it was already close to 4pm so it was determined that I should visit Nancy’s apartment and then Elizabeth and I would head south in Central Park and meet Maria after work. Now I was only in Nancy’s apartment briefly—had a drink, got fed some chicken strips, slimed a quite modest number of surfaces and shed only a few hairs when Nancy commented that Hounds were messy—this from the mother of a 2 year old is high praise indeed.

Well all too soon it was time to depart and as we headed south it occurred to Elizabeth that as we had been out since 1pm I had missed lunch and might be feeling a bit peckish, so off we headed to the Le Pain Quotidien snack shop in Central Park where she purchased a turkey and gruyere baguette for me. Being hand fed over priced food is one of the extremely gratifying pleasures of New York. Well, having gotten my strength back I towed furiously to the beach volley ball courts (yes Central Park has beach volleyball courts—sand and all, although no dogs are permitted, which does not stop me from trying)—where I parked myself and proceeded to watch this most interesting game.

Now at first Elizabeth was dismayed as she had intended to meet Maria at the very entrance to the park but then she realized that in front of her were a group of very fit young men not wearing a whole lot (they’re at the beach, remember) and she became engrossed in the charm of the game. She patted me and told me I was a good dog. Of course we did have to take the usual breaks so I could be photographed with passing tourists, but such was the interest of the game that Maria was able to sneak up behind us without us noticing. My excuse was that she was down wind.

So that was my week—I like the idea of spending 6 hours in the park. Next week I will have Maria around as she is on vacation and I intend to extort as much park time as possible. Elizabeth will be off Monday to help out at an ASPCA horse and dog adoption event for local rescue groups at the Hampton Classic Horse Show and I am hoping she comes home with a pony for me (or at least some of those yummy byproducts of horse metabolism that one finds on the bridle path).

Until next week,

Wimsey, a Parked Hound


D.K. Wall said...

Ah, yes, we can see you as a service dog. Sometimes, when our dad explains that we are rescues, people think he means rescue dogs (as in search and rescue) and that always tickles him because the humans we would find would have mass quantities of snackable foods on them. So we might search and find them if they had food, but rescue. Please.

Bentley said...

Oh Wimsey, my humans often dissolve into laughter when reading your blog (I guess they like to know that they are not alone when it comes to dealing with a hound), but it seems they have declared your statement about "training" a hound as one of the best ever!

"But as I am a Hound there is no shame in failure, only astonishment at success"

A classic, they say!

Reminds them of the statement from one of the many instructors I've had the honor of astounding. This particular instructor happened to own Golden Retreivers...better known as Velcro Dogs - sticking at her side perfectly. She couldn't wrap her mind around the fact that I, an independent hound, would make my own choices. "But", she said, "he KNOWS the commands!". Yes, I do, but I will choose to do them, or not, & when, and maybe do something other than asked!