Friday, October 26, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #281

Entry #281
October 26, 2012

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where the metropolis is abuzz and agog with extensive hurricane preparations. Normally at this time of the year I would be talking to you about Halloween and the uncharacteristically wise decision of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth not to dress me up, but this year Halloween and its attendant canine humiliations has been superseded by the possibility of Frankenstorm hitting the hood.

But before I totally let go of the whole Halloween thing, many people are always curious as to why I am not in costume. 

Why I do not dress up on Halloween:

There are no costumes big enough

There are no costumes cuter than the one I wear every day

There are no costumes that my humans have a remote chance of wrestling me into (see: it took an hour to get me to wear a Santa Hat)

I strongly prefer shredding fabric to wearing it

When I am unhappy I get loud.  Very loud.

I give a whole new meaning to “stop, drop and roll” especially when in proximity to mud puddles and horse manure

People are excited enough to see a bloodhound, a bloodhound dressed as a bumble bee could get my humans arrested for disturbing the peace

It is my job to humiliate my humans not the other way around

On this latter point, I have to admit that when Elizabeth and I first got to know each other she was all in favor of dressing me up—something about payback.  This was promptly vetoed by Maria so Elizabeth has to content herself with being the curator of my Hat Collection (Beret, Santa Hat, Goofy Hat, Mickey Mouse Ears, Brown Antlers, Red and Green Antlers, Elf Hat, Happy Birthday Hat and Happy New Year’s Hat).
And of course Halloween is a spooky time of year when ghosts and goblins walk among us and make mischief. Like stealing clothing, moving possessions, digging holes and making food and valuable objects disappear.  And every October 31st I can claim it wasn’t me.  And my extensive bone and animal parts collection means that Elizabeth’s apartment is pre-decorated for Halloween and my ladies’ predilection for wearing black means that they are also pre-decorated for Halloween  (if the pointy hat fits….).
And this Halloween we are likely to be visited not just by any storm, but by an appropriately nomenclatured, Frankenstorm. All this hurricane talk is reminiscent of last year and Hurricane Irene (which I dragged my humans out in, by the way) and so this year I am looking forward to another round of Hound Hurricane Festivities.  This largely consists of Maria and I staying over with Elizabeth (both my humans living under one roof!) and both of them monitoring me for signs of hurricane-related distress.  Last year snoring loudly was apparently not considered such a sign.
Maria and I live on the ground floor of a small building that was built in the 1880s and there is always a fear that it might flood in a hurricane.  This proved not to be the case last year but then again that storm pretty much gave New York City a miss so once again my humans are taking no chances of me being incommoded by moisture. Hurricanes at Elizabeth’s also involve large pans of cheesy lasagna (in case the City runs out of food and calories become scarce) of which I am inordinately fond.  Fortunately there is a liberal food sharing policy in effect aimed at boosting my morale and distracting me from all the noise outside.  I thought it worked quite well last year, although my humans were the ones who needed the distracting.   And what could be a better distraction than the assortment of adult beverages on hand and in hand into which I drool.

As you can tell I am pretty much a fan of hurricanes; perhaps this is because I have so much in common with them:

We both bring a lot of moisture
We both bring a lot of wind
We are both loud
We are both large
We both scare people
We are both Sandy (although I am also Muddy, Dirty and Gravelly)
We are both impossible to ignore
We both threaten to wreck your house
We both induce the drinking of copious quantities of cocktails

And as to this latter point, there is a drink called The Hurricane so I think there should also be a drink called The Hound except that the ingredients would probably be too disgusting to name and not appealing to drink The Wimsey on the other hand is a simple drink:  a glass of gin. A very large glass of gin. And on special occasions (like bath night) it is accompanied by two aspirin back.

But other than the hubbub of the impending storm, it’s been a pretty quiet week around here; but I did enlarge my scope of local acquaintances and admirers by ensorcelling two guys who work for Riverside Memorial Chapel.  My humans are worried—I get the folks at Grom to give me gelato, I get the people at Melissa’s to give me cupcakes and I get the people and the Boat Basin Cafe to give me cookies and bacon; so my humans are wondering just what exactly I am going to get the funeral home people to give me….

But although it was a quiet week, I managed to make it quietly annoying.  One of Elizabeth’s’ friends re-gifted a dried trachea and it was immediately borne upon me that the ideal place to work on a dried trachea is on the bed (bully sticks, by contrast should always be chewed on the oriental rug where bits can be drool cemented into the weave with stunning effect). Then yesterday morning Maria and I ran into my French bulldog buddy Pluto where we conducted a stereo rendition of “’tis better to hang out and do no business until our humans are late for work.”  It’s nice to have company when one is being oppositional and although Pluto is small he is mighty in this respect. And finally, today, before she came to take me out Elizabeth was handling shelter dogs for a photo shoot.  One of them (with a most alluring smell) had clearly been sitting on her lap, which meant that Elizabeth had to walk down the street with a giant Hound nose pressed into a place that ladies not on stripper poles do not usually like to call attention to, especially not with giant inquisitive Hound noses.

Well it’s a short post today—I have much to do in the way of hurricane preparation but I might be prevailed upon to post a hurricane update, so stay tuned and stay dry.
Until next time,

Wimsey, the Hurricane Hound

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #280

Entry #280
October 10, 2012

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from the moisture laden precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been out and about in my red raincoat getting to know the mud puddles and the ducks of Central Park better. I had a lot more success with the former than the latter but this was due to the fact that I got a bath yesterday and needed to ramp up the filth factor ASAP.  My human Maria was happy not to have participated in the bathing process as this time it fell wholly to her friend Elizabeth in whose care I spend my afternoons and whose patience for my reek had run out.

But as one can imagine bathing me is never easy, whether solo or in tandem.

How To Bathe Wimsey

1.  Empty everything out of the bathroom (that includes all towels, toiletries and any sundry items that might become collateral damage).

2. Cover tub floor with rubber mats, cover bathroom floor with giant rubber mat.
3.  Mix up generous amount of The Grimeinator shampoo.

4.  Place shampoo and washcloth for scrubbing filth off face in close proximity to tub along with a pound of turkey.

5.  Take off your clothes (or when both ladies bath me, change into old tee shirts and shorts).
6.  Capture me and apply collar and leash.

7.  Haul me into bathroom.

8.  Close door very firmly.

9.  Brandish fistful of turkey to encourage me into tub.
10.  Tie me to ceramic soap dispenser masonry’d into the wall.  Feed me turkey

11.  Wet me down with shower hose; ignore the fact that the water rolls off my well- oiled coat.  Feed me turkey

12.  Pin me to wall with body to discourage escape maneuvers.  Feed me turkey.

13.  Pour soap on me and scrub.  And feed me turkey.  And scrub.  And feed me turkey.  And scrub….

14.  Ignore fact that water level is rising owing to extensive clogging of the hair catcher thingy in the drain.

15.  Ignore fact that I begin to act like a character in the Poseidon Adventure.

16.  Ignore fact that you and entire bathtub area (including ceiling) are covered in wet, spikey Hound hairs.

17.  Feed me more turkey. 

18.  Try to keep footing on hair and soap coated rubber mats while foiling escape maneuvers.

19.  Tell me I’m a good boy and feed me turkey.
20.  Attempt to rinse the soap off me while I attempt to be helpful by shaking water and soap in your eyes.

21.  Finish rinsing and plead with me to shake before I exit the tub.  I refuse.  But I do want more turkey.

22.  Untie me and get out of the way as I bolt out of the tub dripping wet.

23:  Protect self with towels as I decide that it is in fact now time to shake.  Ignore fact that rest of bathroom is now sporting assorted designs of Hound hair.

24.  Discourage my attempts to alternately open the bathroom door, knock the dry towels onto the wet floor or dislodge the bathroom sink.
25.  Ignore the fact that no matter how many towels you use—even those expensive ultra absorbent microfiber ones—my fur appears just as wet as when you started.

26.  Use hair encrusted towels to try to mop up some of the water that seems to be flooding bathroom floor.

27.  Open bathroom door and get out of the way quickly.

28.  Award me bully stick for good behavior.

29.  Survey wreckage of bathroom.

30.  Survey mound of soaking, hair encrusted laundry.

31.  Survey your wet body and face that are covered in my hair.

32.  Listen to me chomp bully stick while making a giant wet spot on the futon.

33.  Consume gin.

And I even stayed clean for 24 hours!  But ablutionary activities aside, it has been a pretty good week around here—lots of time spent refusing to leave Central Park, getting petted by visitors and towing to pet shops.  All in a week’s work for a Hound.  But one day stands out as special (well two if you are my human Maria as you will see)---I decided to take a tow down by the Hudson River, which I hadn’t done in a while, and was overcome by a desire to visit the Boat Basin Café before they close for the season.  The guy behind the bar was so overcome with remorse over the lack of the usual dog biscuits that he hustled into the kitchen and brought me some bacon instead. 

And if that weren’t enough of a culinary delight, on our way back home we ran into our friend Nancy who was in the Riverside Park playground with her little daughter Alicia and her friends. Now I am very fond of Nancy and especially of the fact that she always comes equipped with an extensive assortment of tasty snacks and leftovers and has a very liberal snack sharing philosophy.  I did however reject her proffered banana as being of insufficient culinary appeal but was much more enthusiastic about the vanilla crème sandwich cookies that followed.  Then I polished off a bowl of fish and rice that was leftover from lunch.  Delicious.  And one of Alicia’s friends wanted to know if she could feed me too.  (It is never too early to start training the next generation of snack feeding humans).  All of which gave me a hearty appetite for lunch where I consumed five cups of kibble, yam, turkey and pumpkin.  Sadly, like many overindulgences, there were consequences—especially for Maria when I slept with my butt in her bedroom and my odor sensitive nose pointed towards the fresher air of the living room.  Apparently she did not sleep well that night. 
Let’s see what else is new this week?  I ran into this little lady today.  We saw her from across the street and hightailed it back into the park—seeing another bloodhound is a rarity around here and cause for much jubilation.  She is from Switzerland and is on her way to Maryland with her humans for trailing training.  The humans were forced to shout over my baying, however as she was recently in season and I felt the need to extoll her beauty loudly and extensively to the neighborhood. 

And although I am not generally a fan of The Raincoat I do like the attention it brings, especially as Elizabeth has a matching red one.  We’re twins! Except for the fact that I am a celebrity and she isn’t, that everyone likes me, smiles at me and gives me things, that people remember who I am, that I am widely photographed and much admired, that I get everything that I want with no effort and that I own everything that I see with no income.  And of course the fact that I use the couch as a napkin.  Other than that, we’re twins.

This week there was also another political debate and although I am not a big fan of politics I do believe that there are issues worth discussing.  It’s just that sometimes there is no one good answer:
Topics Hotly Debated By Hounds

Is it better to steal or be served:  This is an extremely tough question; stealing of course is immensely satisfying because not only do you get to possess the object but also you get to do so while annoying your humans thereby killing two birds with one stone. And for those Hounds seeking some additional exercise stealing is often a prelude to a rousing game of chase (on the other hand, it can also be a prelude to a timeout in a crate or the purchase of a baby gate).  But being served is also quite delightful, reinforcing as it does, the proper subservient relationship between Hound and human. A cup of Grom Gelato would be delightful under any circumstances, but a human kneeling or bending over one to make sure one gets the full amount of the stuff in delicate spoonfuls is inexpressibly satisfying.  Not to mention the admiration that this lordly mastery garners from passersby.  Stealing a cup simply would not be the same.
Is it better to monopolize the bed or the couch:  Another tough question.  Monopolizing the bed is naturally very enjoyable because it relegates a human to the narrow strip on the edge of the bed (or else onto the floor or the couch) whilst you stretch out in all your snoring splendor.  The couch, however, can be appealing because it offers the option of shoving the human off entirely or of draping oneself over the human and inducing them to scratch you instead of watching TV or reading the newspaper.
Is it better to fling drool on people or to poke them in the butt:  A very good question of course as we Hounds like to make our presence felt just in case there is someone who failed to notice a giant, baying Hound dragging a hapless human behind him.  There is nothing quite as melodious as the “thwop” that a goodly glob of drool makes as it hits its intended target and the squeal of consternation that follows (of course there are those annoying people who’ve had newfs or St. Bernards who just laugh).  But then watching people being poked in the butt unexpectedly (although I guess there are not many circumstances where one expects to be poked in the butt) is also immensely entertaining.  (It would be even more entertaining if one’s olfactory orb could make contact with bare skin, but I am told this would be illegal).  Anyway, in both cases your human is humiliated and is forced to offer profuse apologies for your behavior-- so once again, a draw.
Other important topics include:

Is it is better to moonscape the yard or to dig up expensive ornamental shrubs?
Is it better to raid the laundry bin or the garbage bin?
Is it better to cause your humans to trip over you or to trip over your possessions?
Is it better to fritter away your humans’ money or their time (and its corollary: is it better to consume their money directly from their wallet or indirectly through visits to the vet)?
Any ahroo, I think I will leave it there for this week.  We did visit the closed Central Park carousel on Sunday—I always think that instead of sitting on carved galloping horses it would be much more enjoyable to be perched on statues of an assortment of fleeing Hounds with steaks, chickens, sandwiches, shoes and panties in their mouths. Wimsey’s Carousel of Dreams.

Until next week,

Wimsey, Clean For a Day

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #279

Entry #279
October 12, 2012

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey coming to you—finally-- from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where I have been busy not only being the Host with the Most (number of humans waiting on me) to my little French bulldog buddy Pluto last week but also this week conducting my usual outdoor out and about meet and greet and my usual indoor annoy and destroy activities.
When I was not involved in my hosting duties last week I was as usual vying for the title of Biggest Bane of Existence of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth  (or She Who Must Take Care of Me During the Day While My Other Human is Off Working to Support my vet habit, my toy habit, my bully stick habit, my snack assortment habit, my turkey habit, my salmon habit and the laundry and dry cleaning bills that of necessity accrue to anyone within spitting distance (literally) of me).

Last week was a fine week all around with many excellent accomplishments:

Wimsey’s Accomplishments of Last Week:
Tree’d a raccoon on 84th Street thereby getting in touch with my coon hunting heritage and enhancing my street cred as the Upper West Side’s Fiercest Coon Hunting Hound. All this despite Maria’s attempt to dampen my considerable enthusiasm for the Hunt and her belief that I should confine my hunting skills to old pieces of pizza, plastic water bottles and the neighbor’s little doodle.
Dragged Elizabeth to The Lake in Central Park in the pouring rain and since we were both soaking wet already thought that going in and enjoying some quality time with the ducks was an excellent idea.

When sadly prevented from getting to know these ducks better turned my attention to a wedding taking place in the nearby Ladies Pavilion that I thought could benefit from the presence of an additional witness.  Elizabeth disagreed but my attempts to join the festivities will no doubt be enjoyed by the happy couple for many years to come when they view their wedding video.

Insisted that I should be accompanied on my walks by Doggy, my stuffed canine companion and perfected the art of dropping him to consume proffered doggy dropping bribing snacks only to snatch him back up again once the snack had been chomped and swallowed.
Decided that I wished to take my early evening walk from Elizabeth’s earlier than usual then refused to walk because owing to the early hour Maria had still not arrived home from work to join us.

Decided to visit the jewelry lady with the table on Broadway who always feeds me snacks and when she wasn’t there bayed and refused to move anyway.

Thought all of Elizabeth’s business calls this week sounded boring so endeavored to liven up the proceedings by playing with my squeaky tennis ball and shredding a stuffed meerkat all over the floor while she made wild (but futile) gestures to try to get me to stop.
Garnered a “Hello Wimsey!” from a gentleman dining outdoors at the tony Café Boulud reminding Elizabeth that I have a much better class of friends than she has.

Decided to include Elizabeth in my wrestling matches with Pluto so she wouldn’t feel left out.  (It’s more fun to wrestle her anyway--she’s meatier-- but somehow she disagreed).
Honed my hair trigger lap climbing response (even while in deep sleep!) in response to the sound of Elizabeth sitting down on the couch and touching a newspaper.

And in a lovely piece of irony:  after I pinned Elizabeth to the couch so she could scratch me instead of reading the newspapers or doing work she turned on the TV (which she had to watch around my head) to watch “It’s Me Or the Dog.”  Anyway, sadly there are never any pictures of my weekly accomplishments—something about needing two hands on the leash and full human attention and all that.

Now when my humans saw this picture they thought that it looked eerily like the proverbial tunnel of light that we are all supposed to experience at life’s end.  Then they realized the fact that I am obviously there to greet them would probably mean that they were not on their way to the Desired Location.  Consequently, my humans have resolved to try to be better people---the thought of an eternity with me has a tendency of making people feel like that.

Anyway, last week there was the first presidential debate but nothing of much interest to me was discussed—the only deficits that I worry about concern the lack of turkey in my food bowl. And I think humans always look strange when they are devoid of hair and drool and all the real politicians look and sound an awful lot like the TV ones.  But if I am not a big fan of drool and hair free politicians I really like their campaign slogans:
Forward.  (Obama):   I of course like this as it perfectly describes my attitude on a walk (except when my humans wish to go forward, then it would be Backward.). But I don’t like the period. I would prefer it to read Forward! Or better yet, Forward!!!

Believe in America (Romney): Believe in Hounds is catchier although to be wholly accurate it should be, Believe in Hound Owners—They Aren’t Exaggerating, I Swear It.  We frequently meet people who read this blog and who, although they should be well familiar with my antics, are shocked that “He really does that!” or “He’s really like that!”  Yes. Believe.

Yes We Can! (Obama):  Another gem from the Obama camp when it applies to Hounds.  When it applies to humans, it’s “No You Can’t”

Country First  (McCain):  It would sound better as Hounds First (humans last).
Let America Be America Again (Kerry):  It should read “Let Hounds Be Hounds Again and Shut Off Those Dog Training TV Shows   And I particularly like the “again” as it is a word frequently applied to Hounds as in “Hubert ate the couch. Again.”

Real Plans for Real People  (George W. Bush): We Hounds also make real plans for real people—like we plan to spend their money on toys and vet bills, we plan to steal their sandwiches, we plan to shred their underwear, we plan to monopolize the furniture, we plan to humiliate them in public, etc. We Hounds are great planners.

Putting People First (Bill Clinton):  Really “Putting Hounds First (and people where they belong, last).”  I also like his “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” because when you see what a bored Hound does to your house today, tomorrow has to be better. Maybe.

It’s Morning Again in America (Ronald Reagan).  It really should read, “It’s Morning Again in America (sigh)” which means it’s time for me to haul you around the neighborhood, greeting people, pouncing on dogs, hunting squirrels, sniffing provocatively but doing very little of what we actually came out to do until you are very late for work.

He’s Making Us Proud Again (Gerald Ford):  My humans say this a lot about me, but I don’t think they mean it like it was written.

But really, my favorite is Herbert Hoover’s “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Now those are ideas I can get behind. (Assuming the car is one large enough to accommodate my extensive magnificence).  But we Hounds are really masterful politicians—we are good looking, charming, determined to get our way, intensely manipulative, like to kiss babies (especially those eating ice cream), always appear to know where we are going, enjoy making frequent, loud speeches and are very popular in spite of being basically awful.  But I digress.

The major development of last week was not the debate but Pluto’s visit to Elizabeth—I found him in residence last Thursday after my afternoon walk. Here are the highlights:

1. Dug up the FIOS wires while looking for my toy pile that Elizabeth always hides in the closet when Pluto visits.

2. Ate a leisurely lunch while Pluto watched me while making very satisfying irate snorty noises.

3. Generously allowed Pluto to clean up the mess my lunchtime activities make on the kitchen floor (he’s a canine Roomba) despite the fact that this would deprive me of the satisfaction of hearing Elizabeth squeak when she steps on pointy pieces of kibble.

4. Tried to invade kitchen (to keep Pluto company—why else?) when he was eating dinner.

5. Engaged in extended pre-play stare downs with Pluto that always terrify Elizabeth into thinking that I am going to eat him whole until I play bow and wrestle him instead.

6. Chased Pluto thereby putting Elizabeth’s possessions in mortal peril of destructive flight.

7. Noticed that Pluto was deficient in drool quota so repeatedly remedied the situation causing him to resemble a tinseled Christmas tree.

7. Sounded the KITCHEN! alarm every time Elizabeth tried to sneak into that room so that Pluto and I could fly to her side to assist.

It was all a lot of fun and Elizabeth drank a lot of gin.

And this week, although perhaps not quite as eventful as last week, saw the annual advent of the Fall Friskies wherein the change in the weather seems to bring out the best in me (or the worse depending on your point of view).  This year it meant charging down Broadway baying, leaning on people then standing on my head and then flopping over for a belly rub, poking strangers who seemed surprised to find a giant Hound nose in places where giant Hound noses should not be, finding piles of horse poop in dark Central Park tunnels and getting my snout well in before anyone noticed, carrying on and making people pet me at the vet’s when we dropped by to pick up the stomach meds prescribed as a result of finding piles of horse poop in dark Central Park tunnels and getting my snout well in before anyone noticed, pilfering an unused roll of toilet paper to add to my toy pile in retaliation for Elizabeth leaving me alone during the day-- and so much more that it is impossible to recount it all.  I love fall. My humans not so much.
And I ran into my cop buddies from the ASPCA on Sunday and in addition to being great human beings and saving animals they are also great admirers of my vocal stylings and apparently travel with bags full of snacks that they are inclined to liberally disperse to worthy canines such as myself.

Then Monday was of course Columbus Day and l, like Columbus, have made many important discoveries:

The refrigerator
The contents of the refrigerator
The laundry bin
The garbage bin
The bed
The couch
Elizabeth’s neighbor’s doodle
Maria’s neighbor’s cat
Central Park
Friendly natives who have never seen anything like me and want to give me gifts

Well I am going to end it here for now.  I am staying over with Elizabeth tonight owing to the fact that Maria has no heat in her apartment and my comfort is of paramount importance.  And an overnight visit with Elizabeth entails many urgent activities as you can well imagine.  So can she.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Tanqueray’s Favorite Houseguest