Friday, October 28, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #234

Entry #234

October 28, 2011

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, and I’m baaack from my brief Hound hiatus. And as usual I am coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where over the last two weeks I have been a Hound for all seasons as we have had summer, spring fall and now winter (it might snow tomorrow!). The changeable conditions have caused much sartorial consternation to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth as they endeavor each day to find clothing that will keep them cool but not too cool, warm but not too warm and of course dry (at least as far as the rain is concerned; as far as my drool they are out of luck).

But one thing that is not changeable (unhappily for my humans) is me, Doer of All Things Obnoxious, Taker of All Things Valuable and Giver of All Things Vet Bill. So diving right into my medical update, apparently taking both Baytril and Flagyl has turned me into a veritable Hound Petri dish where all manner of microbes not killed by Baytril and Flagyl grow and disport themselves with great abandon. So I visited the vet with ears smelling like Camembert cheese and a bump on my nose (now officially known as Wimsey’s Pimple) to see how many new things my humans would have to do to me and at what monetary inconvenience.

Now let me say that as far as having things done to me, I actually like the concept and will happily ascend the couch in response to various pads, medicaments and brushes appearing on the end table. However, although I love being the center of attention and like all the necessary touching and scratching (and of course turkeying, as most things that are done to me inevitably involve turkey) I don’t necessarily like the actual procedures themselves. It’s a paradox, I know, but I am compliantly non-compliant. Anyway, in addition to my usual ear cleaning (of which I approve so long as the ear I like is used), eye washing and teeth brushing (peanut butter toothpaste!) there are some new things that have been added to tax my humans’ patience. I now require a daily “earing” as well as a warm compress three times a day for my pimple.

Elizabeth is in charge of the earing and she comes over before my afternoon walk to undertake the procedure. The purpose of the earing is to stick a long pointy bottle of Mometamax into my ear and to ostensibly count out 14 drops. When the hilarity vis the possibility of me sitting still (twice!) while 14 drops from a long pointy dispenser is delivered to my ear canal, the practical problem remained of how to get the stuff in. If this was not possible, the vet suggested that perhaps I would allow my humans to flush out my ears with antifungal solution. Well the ladies found this even more hilarious than the 14 drops

But humans can be sneaky so Elizabeth first wipes out my ear (good, I like this as my ears are always itchy), then whilst I am still in the throes of ear rubbing enjoyment, she quickly sticks the pointy thing into my ear and squeezes hard. This triggers a vertical levitation maneuver on my part and an attempt to bite the bottle. Or at least she hopes it’s the bottle. Then she repeats. Afterwards I am fed turkey and we move on to her trying to drip eyewash into my tightly closed eyes (not easy as I have developed a surprisingly powerful set of eye closing muscles).

All this is in addition to my pill schedule (conveniently, one pill is given with food and one without) which means that Maria’s Blackberry is constantly vibrating and making noise to tell her that it’s time to do something to me. I think this pretty much makes it my Blackberry. And because I’ve managed to lose 7 pounds on the antibiotics I now require cooked meals of chicken, yam and scrambled eggs to keep up my strength. So basically my humans have to provide catered meals so that I am able to tow them with my accustomed force.

OK, so that is the medical update. Now on to my exciting garden activities:

As some of you know, particularly those who follow my antics on Twitter and Facebook, my apartment shares a small garden with the neighbor next door and the neighbor next door has a most attractive cat that I have been endeavoring to get to know better for some time. Now Maria actually likes this neighbor so the fact that I hunt the cat’s toys and play with them even though they are the size of my nose is embarrassing enough but last week I stuck my head through the neighbor’s cat flap. Now one can only imagine that it must be a tad disconcerting to be enjoying a peaceful afternoon in one’s living room and have the proceedings disturbed by the insertion of a giant, salivating Hound head.

Needless to say, I was removed with much squealing and when the neighbor came out I began some forceful acoustic operations aimed at getting her to fork over the cat. The cat not immediately being forthcoming I decided to expedite matters by pushing her aside and trying to obtain the cat in a more direct fashion. Sadly, a leash was produced and I was once again impeded, much to my chagrin (and I am sure to the cat’s amusement). Fortunately the neighbor has a sense of humor and everyone’s great fear is that I will receive a slash on the nose requiring yet another vet visit to restore the shining beauty of my olfactory organ.

Wimsey, Wimsey quite contrary

How does your garden grow

With cat toy bells and feline smells

And cats that won’t sit in a row because I am going to chase the heck out of them.

Now I know that many people wonder if a bloodhound really can be happy in the middle of a major metropolis.

The answer is yes if the bloodhound spends inordinate amounts of time in the middle of a major metropolitan park filled with people who admire, feed and pet him. And which contain snack shops, illicit bodies of water into which he is not supposed to go but where preventative methods are ineffective, bored film crews with generously laden catering tables, discarded picnic food, horse pies, squirrels and other assorted appealing rodents, and of course the company of his long suffering humans whose capacity to be annoyed is a constant source of inspiration to his capacity to annoy them.

But if it takes a village to raise a child (or in New York City, a nanny) it takes a major metropolis to raise a bratty, entitled Hound. This was in full evidence on Sunday when I encountered a street jewelry vendor to whom I have taken a liking (probably because she has taken a liking to feeding me), so while Elizabeth was buying something in Staples I was outside baying furiously at her, completely unmoved by the fact that her objective was to sell jewelry not to make a fuss over me. But when her sale was completed, she bustled over, treat bag in hand to remedy the situation. She then gave the remainder of the bag to Maria for my later snacking pleasure. And people wonder why I’m like I am. So all in all, I’d say Manhattan’s not a bad gig.

Well it’s finally starting to feel (and look) like autumn around here, which reminds me that I have not yet reviewed the new TV shows and evaluated their potential for inclusion on the Wimsey TV Network’s fall season.

Wimsey’s Can’t Miss TV Shows

2 Broke Girls: Two girls who were formerly able to support themselves acquire a Hound. Now they can’t.

American Horror Story: A couple moves to Los Angeles to make a fresh start only to find out that there is a creepy creature living in their basement. When it starts stealing their food and destroying their possessions they realize that it’s just a Hound.

Charlie’s Angels: Three women with different hair colors so you can tell them apart aspire to become crime fighters. But when their mysterious boss Charlie starts directing them to confiscate “evidence” from butcher shops and pet stores they become suspicious about the nature of Charlie’s identity.

A Gifted Man: In addition to being able to see his dead ex-wife, a gifted doctor finds he can also talk to his Hound. And although his ex-wife tells him to help poor people his Hound tells him to help the Hound. The Hound is a lot louder.

Grimm: A large, smelly demanding parasitic Hound moves in with a detective and takes over his life. The detective tries to get the Hound to find criminals but the Hound gets bored and finds squirrels instead and then takes a

long nap. When he tries to get rid of the Hound he finds that he can’t because the Hound is a supernatural fairytale creature that does what it wants. They don’t call it Grimm for nothing.

Hart of Dixie: A big city doctor inherits a practice in a small southern town and her big city ways annoy the locals. Then she gets a Hound and he annoys the locals instead.

Last Man Standing: A man is feeling emasculated because his wife works and he has to stay home with his three daughters. He gets a giant Hound to make himself feel more masculine but the Hound creates more housework, likes the girls better, and enjoys body slamming and knocking him over. The Hound is also better endowed.

Man Up: Another emasculation comedy! Three wimpy guys try to get in touch with their masculinity. They acquire a Hound who teaches them about poor hygiene, belching and farting, loud snoring, making a mess of their clothing, bad table manners, scratching, eating to excess, not caring what anyone else thinks, being ruthlessly self-centered and entitled, doing what one wants at all times and getting what one wants at all costs. Under the tutelage of the Hound they become real men.

New Girl: A beautiful girl who is supposed to be an unattractive girl because there are no unattractive actresses in Hollywood moves in with three guys. Initially they tolerate her because her best friend is a model but then they realize that she has a magnificent Hound which makes up for her weirdness pretending to be ugly.

Once Upon A Time: A show in which an immaculately groomed Hound wins national acclaim as an obedience champion, is well behaved, well mannered and quiet, never eats the couch or steals the underwear, doesn’t show an unhealthy interest in smaller animals, adores his humans and wishes above all else to please them and make them proud. Too bad it’s a fairy tale.

Person of Interest: Someone is about to commit or be the victim of a crime! Can we prevent it, no, of course not. That only happens on TV. But we can take a person who is a complete non-entity whom everyone ignores, who is passed over and who is invisible and turn them into A Person of Interest. How you ask? One leash and one loud, large and exuberant bloodhound. Everyone will want to talk to him even when he hasn’t had his morning coffee yet—he will often find himself becoming a Person of Too Much Interest. Of course everyone will want to talk about the Hound, but nothing’s perfect. It’s not TV.

Prime Suspect: The Sunday roast is missing! The remote is in pieces! The couch is missing a section! The bedroom looks like a chicken farm! There is a puddle on the carpet! There is a disgusting smell! There is no laundry in the laundry bin! But there is always a Prime Suspect.

Revenge: A beautiful young woman goes to the Hamptons to exact revenge on the people who destroyed her family. She gives them a Hound.

Ringer: A Hound is in trouble for (pick one of the many things Hounds are always in trouble for) and decides to evade punishment by adopting the identity of the cat. He is unmasked when he is found eating the contents of the litter box instead of using it for its intended purpose.

The Secret Circle: A teenager moves to Washington and discovers that she’s a witch (her mother thinks she got a letter wrong) so she joins a secret coven. But she incenses her coven-mates when she rebels against tradition and gets a large Hound as a familiar. He gets in trouble for chasing all the other familiars.

Terra Nova: A family travels back in time to pre-historic earth. They are prepared for the havoc that a T-Rex can wreak but are surprised at what a race of giant pre-historic Hounds can do. The colony is perpetually at risk of having no food and no clothing. But no one wants to get rid of the Hounds because they are so cute.

Unforgettable: A New York City detective has the uncanny ability to remember everything. Except who murdered her sister and how to say no to her Hound.

Up All Night: A couple realizes that they are in need of a mega prescription for Ambien when they discover that at night their new Hound hogs the bed, shoves them off, snores, thumps his tail, runs on their backs, flaps his ears, rearranges the bedding, has loud drinks of water that he then shares with them, chews on his bone and pokes them to make sure they are alive. Fortunately they are saved from extreme embarrassment because everyone thinks the problem is the new baby.

Another fine crop of TV shows that will end up like the last fine crop of TV shows! The versions on the Wimsey TV Network are at least original. They should make a show about a country breed (like a bloodhound) that goes to live in Manhattan where he remains to true to himself and gets to annoy a lot more people per square foot than he could have ever dreamed of back home. But people find him charming anyway. Because he’s rare. Because he’s cute. And because they’re suckers.

Anyway, I think that is it for this week. I will leave you with this picture of me inspecting some munitions that help New Yorkers keep the barbarian hordes (think Snooki) from New Jersey off our shores.

Until next time,

Wimsey, star of the streets (and benches) of Manhattan

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #233

Entry #233

October 14, 2011

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the still distinctly non-autumnal Upper West Side of Manhattan where it has seemed more like weather for my cooling coat than for my fleece. All of which is making my cool-weather loving human Maria and her equally frostophile friend Elizabeth plenty unhappy. But before I discuss the week, I want to announce that there will be no blog post next week owing to a schedule conflict. I don’t want anyone out there thinking that something dire has happened to me or to my humans-- although dire things like—baths-- do happen to me periodically and cuts, scrapes and abrasions do happen to my humans more than periodically.

So let’s see—on Sunday we had 82-degree weather and our walk, although lengthy, was mercifully uneventful—no bloody elbows or dragging Elizabeth into the Lake or such like. I did engage in my latest hobby, hunting down bits of revolting things to eat which caused my humans beaucoup d’aggravation, especially as they never have any idea of what I’ve actually scarfed. The only thing they are sure of is that it isn’t alive (probably) and that it will all come out in the end, eventually and messily. And we also did meet a family from North Carolina this week who have an 18 month old bloodhound and were thrilled to see me, even though I was busy baying at a piece of bread that I was being prevented from eating at the time.

They wanted to know when their dog would stop chewing up stuff. When my humans finished laughing and could breathe again they explained that that happy event would occur sometime around the First of Never.

Which reminds me, that in spite of the fact that Elizabeth claims to prefer all other breeds to bloodhounds on account of minor details like our attitude and behavior not to mention our perfectly normal bodily functions like the ubiquitous nature of our drool and the pervasive odor of Hound that we spread about with great liberality, she seems to spend a ridiculous amount of time staying up late looking at pictures of other people’s Hounds on Facebook. And someone posted 50 delightful pictures of young bloodhounds competing at a dog show and they were behaving in a way that I (if not Elizabeth) has fond memories of. Now I know that some of you don’ t really know much about dog shows so I thought I would present:

Wimsey’s Guide to Dog Showing

I Before the Ring

Clothing: One of the first things that happens is that one of your humans (in my case, Elizabeth) changes into clothing that flatters you but sadly not them. These clothes are supposed to look neat and professional so consequently the first job of a show bloodhound is to make sure that by the time you and your human enter the ring these clothes are imbued with the maximum amount of drool, mud and any other bodily fluid you can find to smear on them. For your clothing, you will miraculously be divested of all weapons of Hound oppression, including no pull harnesses, gentle leaders, haltis, etc. and instead will sport the thinnest of leather slip leads (aka The String) by which your human will attempt (unsuccessfully) to control your movements. The sense of sudden liberation is so intoxicating that it is suggested that a second human be present to help sit on you should you feel unable to contain your high spirits.

Pre-Ring Assembly: You and your fellow Hounds will be waiting ringside for the previous class to end. I find this is an excellent time to resist last minute grooming attempts by playing spirited games of tug of war with the towels and drool rags and to loudly introduce myself to my fellow Hounds, the judge and everyone else trying to watch the class currently in the ring. You know that you are having a successful pre-ring assembly if your humans have to sit on you.

II The Ring

The entrance: When instructed by show officials all Hounds enter the ring one behind the other and trot to their designated places. Although this is the judge’s first chance to get a look at you it is also your first chance to stick your nose into the butt of the Hound ahead of you.

The stack: Once the Hounds are arranged in a line their handlers place their feet in the optimum position to show off their body lines to the judge. The placing of the feet is known as the stack. The unplacing of the feet is known as stack dancing and is a good way to make a big impression on the judge as well as to make your human look like an idiot.

The wait: Now you must wait around whilst each Hound is brought up individually for the judge to inspect. It is the most boring part of the show but you can make it exciting by singing, flinging drool on people seated ringside, trying to climb out of the ring and pouncing on the dogs next to you.

The examination: Finally! You are brought up and presented to the judge. Traditionally this involves being stacked in front of the judge while they stare at you critically, run their hands along your body, lift your flews to look at your teeth and squeeze your testicles for good luck. But judges often have many interesting smells on them so I prefer the non-traditional approach of critically running my nose along the judge’s body, drooling on the judge when they lift my flews and poking my muzzle into their naughty bits for good luck. But it is also imperative to establish friendly relations with judges by first giving them an ear splitting “howdy” and then showing off one’s exemplary stack dancing skills.

The down and back: After all that standing around you are now supposed to gait from the judge to other end of the ring and back. Technically the trot is the only acceptable gait but I like to give the down and back a little individual flair by using both legs on the same side of my body. This is known as pacing and it is my personal tribute to Frankenstein whom I am said to resemble strongly when I do it.

Free stack: When stopping, in front of the judge after the down and back most humans think it is a nice touch for you to stop in the flattering stacked position all on your own without their assistance. But as this is very predictable and boring I developed a repertoire of alternative free stack positions known as: the stalk, the jump, the belly rub and of course my classic trademark, the bay.

Once around: Finally you will get to go around the ring—sometimes on your own, sometimes with everyone else. The judge is supposed to be taking one last look at you but if you’re me you really have a pretty good idea of what they already think of you so the once around is an excellent time to put your nose on the ground and vacuum up all those little bits of food the humans have been using to reward their dogs. If there is nothing interesting on the ground moving your head from side to side to catch air currents can also be a rewarding use of your time. This would destroy your body line if you were trotting, but I usually like to take this part at the gallop. It’s good exercise for my human, who owing to the fact that she just has a piece of string around my neck, has to chase after me to avoid being pulled over. It’s pretty popular with the crowd too.

The Decision: Once again everyone will be stacked (or not) in a line and the judge will point to the winners. It is ring etiquette for the losers to congratulate the winners. So I do. Repeatedly and at high volume.

The most amazing thing about bloodhounds in a show ring is that sometimes I was not even the worst one. Usually but not always. Maria remembers seeing one Hound decide to roach in the middle of its down and back. I am sure Elizabeth has many fond memories of our time in the ring when she looks at all these Facebook pictures. She always seems to enjoy an extra large celebratory glass of gin afterwards.

And speaking of memories, let us not forget that today is the anniversary of The Battle of Hastings in 1066. The most important consequence of the Battle of Hastings was not the conquest of the Saxons or the beginning of a thousand years of enmity between the British and the French, but William the Conqueror’s introduction of the bloodhound to England. My humans think he has a lot to answer for. Even for a medieval knight.

And on the subject of memories of a more recent kind, those of you who read this diary may remember that I was asked to be part of a wedding photo in Central Park. The happy couple sent me a picture! Of course, it would have been better if I could have been part of the actual ceremony but I suppose I will have to wait for one of my humans to tie the knot.

Wimsey’s White (ish) Wedding

Spectator 1: The wedding is about to begin! Here come the flower girls!

Spectator 2: One of them is spreading rose petals, but what is the other one doing?

Spectator 1: She’s spraying Febreze.

Spectator 2: Why?

Spectator 1: Wimsey is giving the bride away.

Spectator: But bloodhounds don’t give things away, they take things away.

Spectator 2: Normally, yes, but Wimsey’s view is that he isn’t losing a human he’s gaining another personal assistant. Also he says looking forward to adding athletic supporters to his bra collection.

Spectator 1: The music is great but I didn’t know the Wedding March had a baying part. Look here comes Wimsey!

Spectator 2: Yes and that white leash doesn’t look very sturdy. Probably part of his show lead collection.

Spectator 1: Well I know some brides have to be dragged to the altar, but I’ve never seen it done literally.

Spectator 2: What an interesting dress Maria is wearing. Is it Vera Wang?

Spectator 1: No it’s LL Bean. It’s made of Gortex. They guaranteed it against drool.

Spectator 2: Too bad about everyone else’s clothes though. Wimsey’s flews seemed filled with emotion.

Spectator 1: OK is that the poor sap she’s marrying—the one Wimsey just poked in the crotch?

Spectator 2: Yes that’s him. Poor devil.

Clergyman: Who giveth this woman?

Spectator 1: I guess the thunderous baying and the fact that Wimsey pulled Maria over means he does.

Clergyman: Dearly Beloved Hound and all the rest of you, we are gathered together to join Maria and This Guy Whose Name No One Will Ever Remember Because He’s With Wimsey in matrimony, which is an honorable estate and should not be entered into lightly especially when a very large, intrusive, annoying, smelly, demanding, expensive, drool-flinging, entitled, stubborn, and acquisitive Hound is involved. If anybody knows any impediment to this union (apart from the presence of a large, intrusive, annoying, smelly, demanding, expensive, drool-flinging, entitled, stubborn and acquisitive Hound) speak now or hold your peace until the “I told you so” at the divorce. OK then. Do you, Maria take this guy and his vet bill paying bank account to try to have and to try to hang onto in spite of the fact that you will always love Wimsey better from this day forward?

Maria: Yes. Wimsey be quiet I can answer for myself.

Spectator 2: What happened to the sickness and in health and for richer or poorer part.

Spectator 1: Wimsey ate that page.

Clergyman: Do you, Misguided Idiot, take this normally Hound smelling, badly dressed and disheveled woman who will make you spend hours in the park being dragged around by her Hound whose poop you will have collect from the middle of bramble bushes and who is going to sit on you when you want to watch TV and shove you off the bed when you try to sleep to thy wedded wife?

Maria: He said yes. It’s hard to hear above the baying.

Clergyman: What a shame. But my brother-in-law is a good divorce lawyer. Anyway, by the power vest in me, etc., I pronounce you man, wife and Hound. You may now give the Hound a belly rub. Maybe that will shut him up.

Well you get the idea. Maybe I should send my humans on one of those makeover shows. Anyway, it has been a quiet week around here. I got a bath on Sunday and I seemed to have flooded the bathroom and flung hair on the ceiling to an even greater degree than normal as evidenced by the fact the ladies drank cocktails to a greater degree than normal. And I am now on both Flagyl and Baytril for six weeks to try and finally knock out this pesky infection I have. I don’t feel all that great on the meds but on the positive side my turkey swallowing-pill spitting skills have improved considerably. So I will be resting up this week—or at least so my humans hope. A resting Wimsey may not be a happy Wimsey but it certainly makes my humans’ life easier. And in the meantime they have all those show pictures to reminisce about.

Until next time,

Wimsey, the Conqueror