Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #250

Entry #250

February 24, 2012

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where our spring-like weather continues just as I continue to park myself in the park and refuse to leave it’s springy precincts, much to the consternation of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth. I must say, I don’t know whether it’s the change in the weather or whether I am making up for Elizabeth’s absence while she attended

Westminster, but I am having a banner week of being bad. Everything from relentless oppositional towing (sadly requiring the all too frequent services of the heinous gentle leader) to relentlessly demanding snacks throughout my walk, to relentlessly replacing the computer’s keyboard return with my head, to relentlessly supervising food preparations to relentlessly demanding to be scratched when I wake up from my nap, etc., etc.

And never let anyone tell you that we cannot learn from the young. As some of you know, my French bulldog puppy Pluto (his humans think that he is their French bulldog puppy, but he and I know differently) has been making semi-regular appearances during my afternoon sojourns with Elizabeth and the little tyke is quite fond of fruit and quite insistent that Elizabeth share hers with him. Well, anything that is shared with Pluto must be shared with me

(Wimsey’s House Rules) and although I began by spitting the stuff out in spite of demanding that it be fed to me, I soon found myself acquiring rather a taste for it (as long as it is peeled—a new Wimsey House Rule). So now Elizabeth has Pluto to thank for the fact that I hover like a hungry fruit bat whenever a piece of fruit appears. It’s all part of the fun Chez Hound—and it’s double the fun since both Maria’s apartment and Elizabeth’s qualify as Chez Hound.

And speaking of Pluto, I did have a visit from him this week and Elizabeth has the apartment shambles to prove it. When a 127lb Hound is in hot pursuit of a 20lb bulldog puppy or vice versa there is bound to be a quite a lot of collateral damage. Especially given my propensity for throwing myself vigorously on the ground—the only position in which we can wrestle given our size differential-- with little regard for the assorted possessions around me.

But all is not necessarily bad from the human perspective; I like to wait until Pluto is around to consume my lunch—it’s very satisfying to be happily crunching kibble while the little fellow watches me and dances around and snorts in indignation because I have something that he doesn’t have. But he is proving to be very useful as his scavenging of errant, flying kibble bits cleans up the mess that I make all over the kitchen floor. This saves Elizabeth a lot of work and considering Pluto’s size I am sure he is able to actually assemble an entire meal from the stuff I deposit all over the floors.

Anyway, this Sunday is the Oscars and as it is well known that I am an avid cinephile it is once again time for me to make my helpful suggestions to The Academy for Hound versions of this year’s Best Picture nominees:

Wimsey’s Hound Oscars

The Artist: Silent canine film star, Wimsey Valentino, is devastated by the advent of the talkies. Audiences that delighted in watching his signature bay—nose in the air and lips pursed—are horrified at the actual sound produced and find it induces migraine headaches. His place in the Hollywood firmament is taken by a nice quiet Golden Retriever called Peppy. Plus the director finds that Peppy actually takes direction unlike Wimsey who was prone to extensive ad libbing. Wimsey is in despair as he hates being out of the limelight and thrives on public adoration and paparazzi attention.

He even seriously contemplates selling off his priceless bone and stuffed toy collection but then realizes that would mean that someone else would get to chew on them. Then his human is visited by an art dealer who admires the art hanging on the walls. When informed that these are merely drool stains created by Wimsey the dealer asks if Wimsey can be induced to fling drool on a canvas. Fortunately Wimsey can be induced to fling drool on anything and so inadvertently becomes the father of abstract expressionism and a major influence on Jackson Pollock.

Working in such media as dirt, mud, live vegetation, rotting vegetation, gelato and other substances that the artist elects to keep a professional secret, Wimsey becomes the toast of the New York art scene. Inspired by a gift from Picasso, Wimsey also establishes the nation’s premier horn and antler collection.

The Descendants: A large, obnoxious show dog called Stetson is accidentally let into the yard with a promising young bitch called Rum. The breeder thought that no dog could possibly have more “personality” than Stetson. Then Wimsey was born. His humans subsequently threw themselves on the mercy of a promising bottle called gin.

The Tree of Life: A Hound’s paean to his favorite tree in the innocent and idyllic times of his puppyhood where he revels in the tree’s ability to provide a vertical surface upon which he could pee, leaves into which he could poop, roots under which he could dig, branches upon which he could chew and squirrels that he could gleefully chase. He returns to the tree to reminisce and his human receives a $500 fine.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: The story of a human living with a Bloodhound (earplugs and nose plugs available for rent).

The Help: A young writer interviews a group of humans who live with Hounds and then breaks the story of the appalling level of unpaid domestic servitude. The humans insist on anonymity because they don’t want their friends, family and work colleagues to know that their real function in life is to be the servant of a Hound.

Hugo: A Hound named Hugo finds a mysterious automaton in the Gare de Nord train station in Paris. So he eats it.

Midnight in Paris: An aspiring writer named Gil and his unpleasant fiancée are visiting Paris when Gil discovers either a time portal that appears at midnight or the side effects of that cigarette he thought was a Gauloise and is transported back to the 1920s. There he meets many famous people such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and their aspirational Hound, The Amazing, Wonderful and Great Gatsby upon whom Fitzgerald confides his novel is based, Cole Porter and his Hound, Anything Goes Into My Mouth, and Ernest Hemingway and his Hound a Farewell to Personal Possessions.

Also, he discovers the original version of Picasso’s Harlequin and Gertrude Stein’s Hound eats his novel. She rationalizes it by telling him that the Hound did him a favor since the novel wasn’t very good anyway. The Hound thought it was delicious.

He also falls in love with Picasso’s mistress and they use another time portal to visit the Belle Époque where Gil views

original works by Toulouse- Lautrec, Paul Gauguin and Edgar Degas.

Gil eventually decides to either return to the boring and unromantic present or runs out of those cigarettes.

Either way he meets a beautiful antiques dealer and her Hound, Marché aux Puces.

Moneyball: A rotund Hound puppy visits the vet for the first time.

War Horse: In an effort to innovate, the Metropolitan Opera decides to perform Don Giovanni with a Hound in the leading role.

Well you get the idea. Anyway this has also been a very social holiday week and we ran into our friend Nancy and her daughter Alicia on President’s Day. I, as usual, had to closely inspect Alicia’s stroller for the presence of desirable comestibles.

These being absent, Alicia made it up to me by gathering some sticks for my crunching pleasure and a good time was had by all (and especially by me as I am really the only one who counts) except for Nancy’s little Yorkie Zorro who is terrified of me and had to be carried out of baying range by Nancy’s husband.

And speaking of snacks, as some of you know I have been reviewing a snack assortment generously supplied as a gift from Mr. Chewy. The Snack of the Week is Three Dog Bakery’s Classic Wafers. Far from being delicate wafers, these are robust disks of approximately 1.5 inches and their shape adds an element of playability as one can roll them about and pounce on them and pretend one is hunting and consuming a wily prey item. Additionally, one can roll them under furniture and then pester one’s humans to retrieve them so the snacks have excellent interactive potential and a high annoyance quotient. The wafers are not meat based and as such have a lovely grainy bouquet and swirl around the tongue with excellent mouth feel. When one finally bites in they have a crunchy texture with plenty of structure and strong notes of peanuts and honey. In addition, they leave a spray of fine crumbs for humans to clean up. I like these snacks quite a lot and they are even better when allowed to breath—like when I sit down on my walk and refuse to move unless they are forthcoming.

Well that’s pretty much all for the week, but I do want to remind people that Wednesday, February 29th is Leap Day. Now there are many important customs surrounding Leap Day, the most famous being that women can ask men to marry them (I am sure the unattached males of New York City will take one look at me and run in the other direction) however, Hounds also have special privileges:

Things Hounds Can Demand on Leap Day

On Leap Day, Hounds can demand anything that they happened to forget on the other 365 days of demanding things.

The occasion also gives us one extra day to make our humans appreciate us. Or not.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a leaping Hound

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #249

Entry # 249

February 17, 2012

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, the Upper West Side and Manhattan Hound About Town coming to you from the suddenly springtime precincts of New York City. (For me, it’s always spring time as I spring after squirrels, tourists’ water bottles and the contents of your dinner plate). We did have one cold day-- as you can see from some of the photos where I am caparisoned in my chartreuse fleece, bringing even more of a smile to the denizens of New York if not to my human Maria who had to wrestle and bribe me into it and to her friend Elizabeth who had to watch me roll about in the dirt wearing her carefully chosen gift.

Well it’s been quite a busy week around here what with the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which was chock full of interest this year in spite of the fact that I was not allowed on the premises to report directly. (There were those who didn’t think I should be allowed on the premises even in the years when I was actually entered owing to my acoustically robust and dynamic showing style—baying, galloping around the ring, stalk stacking instead of free stacking, flinging drool, stack dancing and trying to get to know the other competitors better, all being somewhat frowned upon by the judges and stewards).

But for a modest consideration (a cinnamon stick treat and an ultrasonic puffer fish—I can hear the squeak, my humans can’t) I did permit Elizabeth to attend the show on my behalf. And she had plenty to report.

First, there was this new Hound —the American English Coonhound, that was developed from the English foxhounds brought to America and subsequently bred to adapt to the rougher conditions extant in the colonies. I expect that being English and all, this Hound is a lot more polite than the rest of us when it steals your stuff or puts craters in the backyard and likes to take his afternoon tea in the garbage bin. However, in spite of this impressive stack (how did they get her to stand still for so long!) it was a relief to see the new Hound acting like the old Hounds.

Then of course there were the celebrities—Martha Stewart watching her Chow win in the breed ring. There was a spectator who commented that the Chows were so cute and fuzzy that she just wanted to throw her arms around one and give it a big hug. Somehow I think she’d get the same response from the dog that she’d get if she tried doing the same thing to Martha Stewart. But at least Martha wouldn’t leave teeth marks. Or at least one hopes.

And there was TV dog trainer (and Hound arch enemy) Victoria Stilwell doing a segment for her TV show. After this fellow, she pulled in a bouncy Ridgeback that Elizabeth had been talking to (bounciness being a desirable trait in a show dog much to the consternation of celebrity TV dog trainers). Under questioning from Victoria the handler told Elizabeth that she didn’t know what issue to highlight (probably being spoiled for choice) but settled on the dog’s disinclination to keep its feet where they were placed. And instead of exclaiming, “Of course he won’t, he’s a Hound!” Victoria recommended clicker training, blissfully unaware that the Hound will happily eat the food rewards signaled by the clicker and then move his feet anyway. We’re gifted like that.

There is a reason no Hounds (and definitely no bloodhounds) are featured on all these dog training TV shows. Perhaps one of these trainers should devote a whole show to their failure to train Hounds to make the general public feel less inadequate about being abject failures even when faced with the mildest of Hounds.

Next there was the judging of the bloodhounds. There were only 4 this year and of the 3 males I am happy to report that two of them were mistaken for me when they were out and about in the city.

This fellow is Garth, executing his signature move (it made the Wall Street Journal and the intro to USA’s Westminster TV coverage)—a good thing Victoria Stilwell wasn’t around. Garth was mistaken for me at an event celebrating dog art (pictures OF dogs, not pictures BY dogs—like the imaginative works we Hounds create on walls) at Bonham’s, a tony art auctioneer. Or more accurately, Karen, his human was asked if this was the dog that can heard baying all the time in Central Park. She was happy to answer in the negative, as she knows me well. In the WSJ article Karen declared that Garth was well trained, well socialized and well behaved. Clearly he could not be me.

And then there was Credo, the fine looking bloodhound who won the breed. He was out taking the air in Madison Square Park when his human was asked if he was Wimsey (at least they used my name instead of asking if this was the loud obnoxious Hound they saw creating a ruckus everywhere). The fact that Madison Square Park is about three miles from where I live gives you an idea of the scope of my activities and the range of my notoriety. Some dogs are famous; I am infamous. (Perhaps I should change the name of this blog to “Diary of THE Manhattan Bloodhound”)!

Tuesday was also Valentine’s Day and Maria went into the fancy fish store and bought me a lovely piece of salmon—“a piece” being 2/3 of a pound, portion control not being anyone’s strong suit—to show her appreciation for being allowed to live with me. And I showed my appreciation for her in the usual way by releasing lovely fish-tinged gases and breathing salmon breath on her. Elizabeth couldn’t be with us for my evening walk as she was on Westminster duty, so I felt impelled to vent my displeasure by dragging Maria over to Elizabeth’s building and refusing to move. A lovely Valentine’s Day was had by all.

Now those of you who read this blog know that a few weeks ago Elizabeth was having a business meeting at the Four Seasons in London when she was interrupted by an urgent email from Mr. Chewy offering me snacks to review. And as there really is no more important business than that conducted by someone called Mr. Chewy, especially when it involves expanding my culinary horizons, she answered in the affirmative. It is well known that I am a Hound who is never short of opinions on everything and never shy about expressing them in a forceful manner. Also I felt that being a Mr. Chewy myself would give me special insight to add to my review.

Now as it happens we had never previously heard of Mr. Chewy, but no sooner had Elizabeth returned from London than the site ( was reviewed very favorably by the Wall Street Journal. Having been an avid consumer of the Wall Street Journal since puppyhood I was naturally eager to add my voice to theirs.

So here is the poop on Mr. Chewy: They sell dog and cat food and treats as well as litter, potty pads and flea and tick remedies. I decided to focus on selecting a snack assortment for further review as apparently the cat food does not come with an actual cat and the litter is sadly devoid of succulent cat poop.

The two things that I liked very much about the site were the selection of premium brands (I demand only the highest quality goods—everything else comes flying out of my mouth with a look of disdain that my humans find particularly humiliating) and the good prices (thereby saving perfectly good money that can be spent on all the other goods and services that I require). Also, shipping is free over $49 (and when I sneeze it costs more than $49, let alone when I desire something to eat) and the snacks I ordered Sunday night arrived Wednesday, so I can vouch for the shipping being speedy. I give Mr. Chewy 4 thwacking, bear clawed paws up. (He also gets a big tail thump for diverting Elizabeth’s attention from trivial matters of business to matters involving me).

This week’s snack is Dogswell Vitality Duck Breast strips—Duck breast and vitamins E, A and flaxseed for improved eyes, skin and coat (hopefully this snack will make me even more eagle-eyed when in pursuit of tasty bits of raccoon poop camouflaged by leaves—I give new meaning to the phrase “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable-- and is good for my humans too as so much of my coat ends up on them and it’s much more attractive when it’s shiny). Naturally I would much prefer to have the real thing but I found these duck strips to have an appetizing, if subtle aroma (of course I also think raccoon poop has an appetizing aroma) and an excellent chewy mouth feel.

I was able to get up a good head of flew foam for subsequent distribution on the carpet and the snack took me a few minutes to consume thus prolonging the pleasure and increasing the foam content of my flews. Additionally, the strips conveniently fit into my humans’ pockets and fanny packs for my plein air snacking needs. All in all a fine product courtesy of Mr. Chewy.

Well before I leave you for this week, my humans were in a pharmacy that had a “no pets allowed” sign on the door and yet there was a delightful little apricot poodle within being greeted by the staff. So this made them think that really this sign should have read “no large, loud, scary or smelly pets allowed (or “Wimsey is not allowed”) and that the only way to get me in would be if I were a service dog. I have discussed before the types of services I could render but my humans thought of a few more:

Service dog for people with low blood pressure

Service dog for people with cluttered closets

Service dog for people who don’t want to invest in a paper shredder

Service dog for people who have too much money

Service dog for people who have too much self esteem

Service dog for people who eat too much

Service dog for people who don’t exercise enough

Service dog for people who are always being ignored and overlooked on the street

Service dog for people who spend too much time on the computer

Service dog for people with bad backs who need to sleep on the floor

Service dog for people who don’t want people to come to dinner

Service dog for people who want a golf course dug in their backyards

Service dog for people who need lap dogs

Well you get the idea. And also, Sunday was Lincoln’s birthday. He was one of our most esteemed presidents and I am happy to follow in his footsteps as we have a great deal in common:

Ways in Which I am Like Abraham Lincoln

We are both tall.

And in honor of his birthday, here I am about to see if this statue’s posterior has an anatomically correct smell. It’s not every Hound who can claim to have goosed Mr. Lincoln.

Well I think that’s all for this week.

Until next time,

Wimsey, all hounds to all people