Friday, January 31, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #340

Entry #340
January 31, 2014

Hello Everyone it is me, Wimsey, back with you on the Upper West Side of Manhattan after my winter hiatus. It is hard to know who is happier about things getting back to normal—my human Maria who doesn’t have to take care of me 24/7 because her friend Elizabeth is back from a birthday jaunt to Maui or Elizabeth who doesn’t have to take care of me 24/7 because Maria is sufficiently recovered from eye surgery to resume her Hound serving duties. And then there is me who am happy to have both my humans and both their apartments at my disposal once again.

Elizabeth got back last Saturday and in spite of the 12 hour flight came over immediately to reacquaint herself with “her” Hound (I am usually “her Hound” for that brief interval before I do something obnoxious and then I become “Maria’s Hound.”). I was quite happy to see Elizabeth again and even managed to eat a few of the Hawaiian coconut and pineapple cookies that she brought for me before spitting them out as is my custom when I am ready to move on to a different snack. And I sat on her lap and drooled on her and dug my elbows into various sensitive portions of her anatomy to demonstrate my approbation of her return. But then on Monday I was summarily packed off to Elizabeth’s (“packed” being the operative word since it took an entire backpack to transport the minimum amount of my chattels necessary for my care for a couple of days while Maria had and recovered from some outpatient eye surgery (the better to see me and admire me I believe).

Now ordinarily this would be a good thing since I very much enjoy hanging out (read, bothering, annoying, harassing, irritating and frustrating) with Elizabeth. However, this usually occurs while Maria is at work and not when she is sitting in her apartment a few blocks away where I can clearly smell her in the neighborhood. So every time we went out I would try to tow over there to see if she wanted to come along.  But then on Wednesday evening she finally appeared at Elizabeth’s apartment (I merely glanced at her and thumped my tail once because I was communing with my bully stick) and we all went for a walk together. And as is my custom on such occasions I tried to tow back to Elizabeth’s because I am supposed to be going home. 

Anyway, there has always been a scurrilous rumor that I am not an intelligent dog. This is apparently based on the fact that I am not a rocket scientist or a border colie and don’t do tricks or obey commands (in fact my humans think it is hilarious when some stranger wants to give me a treat and asks me to shake hands or something ridiculous like that) and I often walk into things and wrap my leash around trees.  But Elizabeth was finally disabused of this notion of my intellectual deficits during my stay with her; I gave her a Master Class in Intelligent Hound behavior:  I have a toe with a small growth on it that I am not supposed to lick. So as I was lying on Elizabeth’s rug licking it she said “Wimsey stop licking your toe,” pushed my head aside and made the fatal error of rubbing my stomach.  It only took one instance of her ceasing to rub my belly and me resuming the licking of my toe and a second “Wimsey stop licking your toe” followed by a resumption of the stomach rubbing to convince me that I now possessed a completely new tool to command a belly rub! Thereafter during my stay whenever I wanted a belly rub, instead of rolling over and hoping for the best, I would lick my toe and as soon as I heard “Wimsey stop licking your toe” I would immediate roll over to have my belly rubbed.

Elizabeth frequently justifies teaching me obnoxious behaviors under the guise of “giving the dog a vocabulary to express its needs.” She uses this concept very successfully with shelter dogs to get them to sit politely and look at her when they want a piece of turkey instead of jumping, mouthing or attempting to acquire it for themselves. Fortunately for her, none of those dogs is a Hound who possesses a vast and elaborate set of needs, requests and demands.  Thanks to Elizabeth I now have quite an impressive “vocabulary” with which to communicate my desires not the least of which is licking my toe when I want a belly rub.
For instance, I can say:

I want a cookie.
No not that cookie, another one.
Not that cookie either. Perhaps a piece of turkey.
I wish to go out NOW.
I do not wish to go out now. I wish to continue my nap.
Go sleep on the couch, there is no room on the bed.
Sit on the floor, there is no room on the couch.
Get off the couch I want to stretch out.
Come over here and scratch me.
It’s time to take a break from the computer.
I do not wish you to read the newspapers.
If you want me to eat this disgusting bowl of kibble put some actual food in it.
I want to eat  ________ (insert whatever you are eating).
If you leave me alone when I do not wish to be left alone there will be consequences.
Let me out of this bathtub NOW.
I do not wish to wear that coat.
I need another bowl of water-this one has drool in it.
I am bored.
Hedgie wants to go for a walk.
Whichever way you want to walk, I do not wish to walk that way.
Go away!
Come here!

And those are just the ones that I can remember off the top of my pointy head.  I think I am really quite an intelligent beast and I always say that if your Hound doesn’t listen to you it’s because you are saying the wrong thing.  Although I don’t understand “Wimsey stop that” I always understand “Wimsey come here and have a piece of pizza.” And now of course, “Wimsey don’t lick your toe.”

We also had another Polar Whatchamacallit which sent the temperature plummeting and sent me over to the dog run to sit and watch the dogs play and to socialize with the entire Upper West Side instead of looking for a place to relieve myself. I think the cool fresh air is very stimulating for my humans because they jump up and down and talk to me a lot with some very unfamiliar words.

It is axiomatic that the devil is in the details and I take this concept very much to heart. I do not cause my humans mental anguish by undertaking flashy but infrequent actions—like eating the couch (OK, maybe for some Hounds this isn’t so infrequent an action) but I constantly erode their sanity in small yet endless and persistent ways—like periodically calling a halt to our walks until I have been fed sufficient supplies of my desired cookie du jour, or towing to the apartment that I am not supposed to be in, or always putting my body in the spot that Elizabeth’s feet need to be when she sits on the couch, or monopolizing Maria’s bed and refusing to move to allow her space, or being anal retentive whenever climactic conditions are unpleasant, or deciding that I am not in the mood to pee during my last walk of the night, or coming in from a walk where I have declined to eliminate and then demanding to go out again immediately, or deciding that the length of my afternoon walk is directly proportional to the amount of work  Elizabeth has on her desk,  or demanding to be bribed into my collar and harness and given a special snack at the door, or refusing to shake myself when I am in the bathtub (except when I am all soaped up) and then shaking myself as soon as I get out so I coat the bathroom with water, drool and hair, or demanding that yogurt, ice cream and gelato be fed to me on a spoon, or making Elizabeth bite off pieces of her apple and feed them to me when she is really hungry, or making sure that my bottom is pointed towards my humans when I have a gas attack, or when I want to sit on a park bench or hang out in a field just until one of my humans starts checking emails and then I have an urgent need to continue our walk, and in the many other small ways that make them look at me and say “Really Wimsey? Really?” in between pronouncing me a “wretched animal” and threatening to commit Houndicide.

And then they have to walk with me on the street and have people say things like “What a nice dog!” and “He’s so well behaved!” I especially like it when I am staring at my humans and people coo, “Oh look, he loves you, “ when the more accurate interpretation is actually “Give me a cookie. Now.” And then there was the other day when I turned into an immobile Hound Lawn Ornament and refused to move for a full 30 minutes because I wished to watch two park employees repair a sidewalk. I found the process fascinating. Elizabeth not so much.

But of course I am very cute. Although I should point out that it was a mere 48 hours between a fresh-from-Hawaii-Elizabeth’s “I missed my Hound!” to a fresh-from -taking care- of- me Elizabeth’s call to Maria “Come get your Hound!”

Anyway, I think I will leave it there for this week. I am sorry for the older photos—the cold weather makes taking off gloves to take photographs an unappealing prospect for my negligent humans.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a very articulate Hound


Friday, January 10, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #329

Entry #329
January 10, 2014

Hello everyone, it’s me, Wimsey of the Arctic (or of Manhattan’s Upper West Side) with a quick and drooly post to let you know that I survived the Polar Whatchamacallit and sadly my new winter coat did too. No amount of producing my patented Wimsey Martyred Expression, which generally causes my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth to reconsider whatever it was that they were about to do to me, proved effective against the Dreaded Coat. And Elizabeth also survived, which is surprising since her love of extremely cold weather and her persistent chirps of “Isn’t this great!” caused those around her to think homicidal thoughts. But she had a few of her own this week as the extreme cold proved absolutely no deterrent to my intention to make our afternoon walks together as long as possible. Needless to say there are very few photos because taking one’s hand out of a glove, cold weather loving aside, was not high on anyone’s agenda.

Paradoxically, Elizabeth is leaving next Friday for her annual birthday Vacation From Me by going to Maui where it’s 80 degrees.  But I know how these vacations go—there is a short period of elation at not having to deal with me every day while Maria is at work that is quickly followed by frantic “I miss him” and “How is he?” texts to Maria. I remember last’s year’s vacation in Istanbul where she scoured pet shops in the trendy Cihangir neighborhood for gifts for me and failing to find anything suitable (or large), she stopped off in the UK to purchase me a white stuffed bear. The year before that it was Oslo where she shopped for Hurta coats for me and bought me a green hedgehog (I am inordinately fond of hedgehogs). The year before it was London where she eschewed the normal sites in favor of visiting and photographing pet shops in all the city’s neighborhoods (and purchased another hedgehog gift).  And from Santa Fe I received a fancy turquoise and silver southwestern collar that she spent an entire day selecting and a bag of freshly baked cookies from a famous dog bakery.  Hawaii should be equally fun—I am hoping for luau leftovers.

But I completely understand her missing me—I am such an enjoyable companion and I do everything from introducing my humans to exciting construction sites to helping them meet new people by invading strangers’ shopping bags to dragging them over hill and dale for some healthy exercise because I caught whiff of a mound of horse poop or a discarded sandwich (so much more rewarding than finding lost people!), etc. And after my busy afternoons out and about annoying the population of New York City and humiliating Elizabeth I have developed a wonderful routine that we both enjoy very much:
My Weekday Afternoon Routine

1. Come in from my afternoon walk. Bay at favorite elevator operator. Frighten everyone else.

2. Exit elevator. Fling drool on hallway walls.

3. Enter apartment.  Inventory toy pile.

4. Have long drink. Wipe face on Elizabeth, the couch or both.

5. Stare at Elizabeth until bowl of kibble is augmented with poultry du jour, pumpkin and baked yam.

6. Eat—making sure to store assorted bits of kibble in flews for subsequent postprandial distribution throughout the apartment.

7. Dig in toy pile for something to chew for dessert.

8. Failing to find anything acceptable, stare at Elizabeth until she gives me a new bully stick.

9. Chew bully stick making sure to use enough drool to firmly cement bits of it into the carpet.

10. Begin nap in inconvenient location.

11. Snore.

12. Fart.

13. Wake up an hour before next walk.
14. Stare at Elizabeth to come scratch me.

15. Have a refreshing drink of water. Wipe face on Elizabeth, the couch or both.

16. Sit on some part of Elizabeth and thwack her for more scratching.

17. Shred the newspapers she was trying to read.

18. Elizabeth eating apple--time for a snack! Demand she bite off chunks of it and hand feed them to me. (NB: I also demand to be spoon-fed her yogurt or hand fed individual nuts).

19.  Am bored. Is it time to go out yet? Shred some more papers. Squeak hedgehog.

20.  Help Elizabeth with lavatory activities. Attempt quality control of the results before lid rudely dropped on my snout.

21. Accelerate the getting dressed for walk process by snuffling Elizabeth’s bare skin.

22.  Maria is here! Bay at her and roll over so she can scratch my belly.

23. When everyone is ready, lie down on the carpet, shut my eyes and make snorey noises.

23. Open my eyes, get up from the carpet and cease making snorey noises only when a piece of turkey or a cream cookie or a piece of ostrich is produced.

24. Finally leashed up and ready to go—time to hunt Little Teddy, the neighbor’s terrified-of-me mini-doodle in the hallway.

25. Refuse to walk down building steps until someone feeds me a cookie.

26. Carefully consider which route to take while munching cookie. Decide on the one that my humans don’t want me to take.

Is it any wonder that Elizabeth misses me so much! And today she was making a call that needed to be on speakerphone so she could take notes and I lay down close by and began loudly snoring to add to the professional ambiance. But I don’t want to give you the impression that I reserve my efforts solely for Elizabeth—Maria comes in for more than her fair share too. Like when I monopolize the bed (a queen) and she ends up sleeping on the couch or when I sleep with my gaseous hind end pointing into the bedroom and my nose pointing out of the bedroom so I don’t have to smell it. Or deciding that I no longer wish to eat the salmon flavored Blue Buffalo kibble that Maria serves but prefer the new duck flavor kibble that Elizabeth feeds me and use my snout to flip the salmon kibble out of the bowl all over the floor. But don’t worry, it won’t go to waste—the mice like salmon kibble. Or when Maria is tired or hungry or in a hurry or all three and I saunter around the neighborhood for 20 minutes before I remember that I am supposed to pee. And while Elizabeth is away I will tow Maria over to her building on all our walks and demand immediate entry.  And there’s much more where that comes from that modesty forbids me from enumerating.

So today when Elizabeth was leaving to pick me up one of building staff requested that she make me bay when we return.  Elizabeth was forced to explain that “getting” me to do anything is not exactly how it works. Perhaps if I was supposed to be quiet he’s have a shot…. like when I was in the show ring, for instance, I was quite chatty. But he actually did get to hear me bay  (I saw my favorite elevator operator and had to make him aware that I was happy to see him) and he commented that “everyone loves that sound.”  Tell that to Little Teddy or to the people whom I’ve nearly sent into cardiac arrest or to the people still asleep at 6am when I see my Frenchie friend Pluto or to the people trying to have a conversation ringside when I was at a dog show.

Anyway, I think that I will leave it there for this week.  I can hardly wait to help Elizabeth with her trip preparations ---it will be warm in Maui and I am sure that she will appreciate some extra ventilation in her clothing.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a chillin’ Hound