Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #318

Entry #318
September 14, 2013

Hello everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been lurking in weather-imposed exile much to the consternation of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who would prefer to have a Hound that actually walked outside instead of one who:

1. Casts a languid and unenthusiastic eye over his collar, harness and leash whilst sprawled on his air-conditioned perch atop the bed or the couch.

2. Demands to be fed turkey in order for them to have the privilege of putting his equipment on him.

3. Gets outside, realizes that the temperature is not to his liking and tries to retreat whither he came.

4. When cruelly prevented from retreating whither he came, plots the shortest distance between his air conditioned apartment and Elizabeth’s air-conditioned apartment and attempts to proceed there with the greatest of celerity.

5. When cruelly prevented from both retreating whither he came and following the shortest distance to Elizabeth’s apartment, attempts to execute dynamic and robust forays into air-conditioned businesses, preferably those like banks and pet stores where they feed him.
6.  When finally hauled, much against his will, to the leafy precincts of Riverside Park, lays down in the field opposite Elizabeth’s building and refuses to move, let alone exert the energy it takes to lift a leg.

So in short my week can be summarized as follows:

Saturday: It’s too hot
Sunday: It’s too hot
Monday: It’s too hot
Tuesday: It’s too hot
Wednesday: It’s way too hot (so much so that I had to wear the dreaded cooling coat)
Thursday: It’s too thunderstormy
Friday: It’s cool!  You and what army of dog wranglers are going to get me to leave Central Park!

This week has been even more proof positive that my humans absolutely cannot win.  But to be fair in the evenings I did deign to walk over to Riverside Park and fraternize with some of my canine buddies. Chief among them is Phineas the one-year-old Ibizan Hound who according to his human is exhibiting a surfeit of “personality “ the degree of which required Phineas’ human to enlist the services of a dog trainer.  Since the results of this exercise are apparent to no one, including his human and certainly not to Phineas, Elizabeth (who has experience training shelter dogs who are also not short of  “personality”) offered to work with him.  And I of course am a shining example of Elizabeth’s training techniques!

Then there is the 15-month-old Portuguese Water Dog, Theo, who also has an abundance of “personality.” Apparently Theo likes to steal food and the fact that you are eating it has a minimal inhibitory effect on his activities.  His human opined that I probably do pretty well in the stealing food department which forced my humans to confess that actually I don’t steal food—I get them to serve it to me. And not only that, they have to serve it to me in the preferred form. I reference last week’s post about how I need to have my duck hearts sliced.  This is in addition to wanting my yogurt and gelato spoon fed to me and to having my pizza cut up into bite sized bits.  I also will not eat apples—of which I am very fond—if they are sliced. Rather I demand that my humans bite off chunks of an intact apple and feed them to me.

And it is not just my humans who feed me. Complete strangers on the street and dining at cafes also feed me.  If war is a failure of diplomacy then food stealing is a failure of charm. Also, of baying and drooling. Humans generally find that it is easier just to give me what I want rather than listening to ear exploding high decibel baying (the Wimsey Vocal Technique calls for every exhale to be a bay) or to deal with the copious quantities of Anticipatory Drool that I drip and fling with abandon. For instance, when I want Elizabeth to cut up her pizza for me, I position my head over her lap so that failure to feed me in a timely manner results in her looking like she is badly in need of a shopping trip to the Depends aisle of the drugstore.  Thus, I don’t steal food because I am well behaved-- I don’t steal food because I don’t need to steal food.

Anyway, in other news, the nice people at Kuranda sent us an email asking if I would like to compete in their “dog of the month” contest. Since this involved sending in a picture of me actually on the Kuranda bed, my humans had to politely decline.  Wherever the Kuranda bed is, I’m not.  Nevertheless my foolish humans continue to place it at various points around the yard hoping that they will find the magic location.   I like to lie down right next to it just to annoy them. Or annoy them more.

And speaking of being annoying, yesterday was Friday 13th a day on which Hounds get to show their humans how lucky they are to have us around.  For Elizabeth, who takes care of me during the day, it went something like this.

Elizabeth: Hello Wimsey! Do you want to go out?
Me: No. Scratch my belly.
Elizabeth: I’ll give you a nice big piece of turkey if you’ll go out!
Me: Pay the toll to the troll and we have a deal. Hey! What happened to the weather! It’s cool!  I’m heading to Central Park. You can come too if you like.
Elizabeth: Well, OK, but remember, Wimsey, I have to work on my project.
Me: Did someone say something? 

Friday Park Perambulations with Wimsey

So here I am heading north on the bridle path, which is in the opposite direction to any park exit that will take us to Elizabeth’s.  And when I work up an oppositional towing thirst I simply signal my servant that she should fill the water bowl that she so attractively carries about hooked to her pants.

Next I decided to explore the back regions and stage door entrance of the Delacorte Theater.  The fact that we had to pass the snack bar was wholly incidental.  We did see a good-looking actor heading in for his costume fitting.  He smiled his approbation at me. I flung drool on him.

Next I explored this field under Belvedere Castle and watered some flowers.  I am now heading east, which is once again the wrong direction for going to any of my apartments. 

I have now climbed the stairs to Belvedere Castle which sits on a promontory that has excellent air currents for me to sniff. It also had a little white dog and here I am calling out to him to come and be sniffed by my giant, vacuum cleaner- like nose. He did not comply with my request (small white dogs seldom do in my experience) but my enthusiastic attempts to induce him to come be inhaled caused me to be photographed by the numerous tourists present which caused Elizabeth to have to pay me me with fistfuls of turkey.

And here Elizabeth has cruelly prevented me from continuing east so I have elected to make her wander in the Ramble.   I delayed our westward progress by eating some exceptionally delicious plants that she will have to pull out of my butt at some future date.
I am very irate. The Stream is right behind me and I had every intention of indulging in a nice muddy splash and a drink when I discovered that the spot was being occupied by a photo shoot.  I hate people who monopolize valuable real estate to take pictures.  Especially when they are not of me.
Then I decided that having been prevented from a dip in the Stream I would jump in the Lake.   I found this sign which I interpreted to mean “No Dogs in Water Except for Wimsey” Also it said nothing about Elizabeth not joining me as I always attempt to have her share the experience. 
OK so here I have found a field on a hill which is a lovely place to linger.  The only thing marring the experience was some background squawking about some project or other.

And finally 2 hours later I am on the path to leave the park.  But being on the path to leave the park and actually leaving the park are two entirely different things.

So that was how Friday 13th went. We did eventually make it back to Elizabeth’s where she prepared me a lovely lunch of yam, turkey, pumpkin and kibble. I settled in for my nap at about 3:30.  Sadly for Elizabeth’s project my nap lasted a scant 2 hours as I found all the exercise invigorating and had an urgent need to repeat the experience. Apparently it is difficult to work with a large Hound squeaking a large Hedgehog in one’s face.  And Maria, who thought she could work late because I’d take a nice, long nap, was forced to hustle home to accompany me on my investigations in Riverside Park.  So my humans are lucky to have me because otherwise they would actually have to work.

Also notable, Friday the 13th marks the day in 1788 that New York was declared the capital of the United States.  No one told anyone here that it’s not.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Fall (en) Hound

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhatan Bloodhound #317

Entry #317
September 6, 2013

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the fall weather can’t come quickly enough for this heat hating Hound.  As mentioned in my previous post, my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have been very busy with work related projects.  I did not get to spend any additional nights over at Elizabeth’s during August but will be doing so at the end of September when Maria goes away on business for a few days.  We are all very much looking forward to this, and when I say “all” I mean me. Elizabeth is preparing for two days of trying to sleep over my snoring and gaseous emissions and Maria is looking forward to the guilt-inducing texts and emails describing it all in graphic detail and Elizabeth demanding to know when she is coming home to retrieve her Hound.
But in spite of my humans being preoccupied with work they found time to purchase me a new door snack—duck hearts from the Columbus Avenue farmer’s market.  I have become increasingly fussy about my snacks as of late and Elizabeth’s apartment is cluttered with partially consumed bags of snacks that I deigned to eat for a while until culinary boredom set in.  So finding a door snack that will cause me to fly off the futon and over to the door for my after work walk has been a high priority.  My humans, fearing that I might become tired of my beloved ostrich meat strips launched into duck heart territory last week.

I love these duck hearts but Elizabeth discovered that, in spite of me having a gigantic mouth and duck hearts being relatively small, I require that she slice them up for me into dainty pieces before I will consume them. Failure to do so results in me spitting out the duck heart on the Oriental rug and staring at her until she presents it to me in an acceptable form. Unfortunately Elizabeth has way too much anatomical knowledge not to know into which bits she is slicing which causes the experience to be all the more revolting for her and delicious for me.  And once I have been leashed up and hand fed one of these delectable cardiac bits I demand another one, which causes a considerable amount of negotiation before a walk can actually be achieved.

And in other news, last Saturday I spent a wonderful afternoon at the vet’s—there is so much of me to inspect and discuss that 90 minutes barely scratched the surface as it had been weeks since I had last visited.  First up was a thorough (and I do mean thorough—you gentlemen out there will know what I am talking about) exploration of my tushly nether regions to determine if I was once again having anal gland issues.  The vet could find nothing amiss (and trust me it wasn’t for want of trying—my anal glands built an addition to his house) which meant that whatever was in there is no longer in there and is instead all over my humans’ carpets.

Attention then turned to my persistently gunky right ear which has defeated even Elizabeth’s three times a week ear cleaning regimen.  The gunk was cultured to see if I am growing anything unusual in there as my ear canals have a long and storied history of growing rare and exotic organisms that require rare and expensive antibiotics.  No word back on that yet, but my humans were given ointment that is to be applied twice a day—once when Elizabeth comes to pick me up and when I sit nicely and let her anoint the royal auricular orifice and once in the evening when Maria tries to do it and I don’t sit nicely or otherwise at all, and transform myself into Wimsey, the hell no Hound. If Maria has made the mistake of opening the back door, I am out into the yard the second her hand reaches for the ointment.  Maria finds this all somewhat aggravating if the language that she uses is any indication.   Elizabeth is the only one that I permit to deal with my medical issues--- the fact that medicating me is so inconvenient for her makes her so much more qualified.

Then we advanced to my back—I have a couple of fused vertebrae that the vet believes requires some additional pain medication.  So far I have been through tramadol (causes me to conk out into a lovely and highly immobile million hour nap), gabapentin (which does nothing) and amantadine (which causes a degree of gastrointestinal disturbance that is inconsistent with my humans’ ability to breathe, let alone to scoop the resulting poop). I was particularly disappointed in the fact that this latter medication upset my tummy as its exorbitant price was right in my wheelhouse.

Anyway, the latest idea is to give me tiny amounts of codeine (and turkey) 3 times a day and a muscle relaxant (and turkey) twice a day and see what happens.  Now these latter two drugs (both of which Elizabeth, who is prone to sports injuries ((especially if you consider handling powerful and rambunctious canines a sport)) has herself taken) must be bought in a human pharmacy and the labels come with some pretty stringent warnings.  Apparently I am to avoid drinking alcohol and should neither drive nor operate heavy machinery.  (My humans hate it when I try to drive, operate the vacuum cleaner or drool in their wine).  But since the drugs are being taken by a Hound, I think that they should come with other warnings:


This medication can cause gastrointestinal side effects: Do not counter surf while on this medication.   Counter surfing may result in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that is worse than the normal amount nausea, vomiting and diarrhea caused by this activity.

This medication can slow your reflexes. Do not chase the neighbor’s cat while on this medication. You still won’t catch her but will be too slow to avoid getting your nose slashed. It won’t hurt as much though.

This medication can cause a lack of balance. Sleeping with one’s head and shoulders hanging off the bed is not recommended as it is can result in falling off the bed and sustaining injuries requiring pain medication.

This medication can cause drowsiness. Falling asleep on your human while taking this medication will impede her ability to get to the refrigerator.

This medication can cause euphoria. Contact your vet immediately if you:

Feel an uncontrollable urge to sing
Feel able to dig yourself out of your yard
Have an inability to concentrate
Try to eat the entire couch in one sitting
Have a sudden urge to remove a few walls to create an open plan kitchen that is visible from every other part of the house
Believe that everyone loves you
Urgently need to do something about all the clutter in the closets
Believe that you can do anything that you want to do

My humans contact the vet a lot.

Of course the vet did note that my condition appears not to be all that serious. This probably had something to do with my forcibly dragging Elizabeth out of the exam room when the tech opened the door—he muttered something about “no apparent diminution of muscle strength”.  But I do love going to the vet. I just don’t like what they do to me there.

Anyway, other notable occurrences this week included visiting some of the new art installations down by the Hudson, dragging Elizabeth down to Columbus Circle and trying to shop at the Time Warner Center and then exploring the scenic industrial sites of the Far West Side instead of going for a nice walk in the park, having a woman castigate my humans on the street for forcing me to lead a terrible life in the city when I am so obviously a country dog (do they have gelato in the country?) and having all the men who work in Elizabeth’s building baying at me as I made my royal progress from the front entrance, through the lobby and over to the elevators. I of course maintained a dignified silence. Baying on command is uncomfortably close to being obedient.

Well that’s it for this week.  I’m looking forward to the crisp fall weather and the advent of leaf peeing season.

Until next time,

Wimsey, warning: prolonged exposure to this Hound will causes addiction