Friday, April 25, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #347

Entry #347
April 25, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from here, there and everywhere on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the daffodils are pooped upon and my humans are just plain pooped with all the work involved in the care and feeding of me. My human Maria and I have been battling for possession of her lap into which she wants to put her computer and into which I want to put my tush; and her friend Elizabeth and I have been battling over the whole concept of coming in at all from our afternoon walks together. Spring has definitely sprung but it has still been too chilly for the massive yard work clean up project that my humans intend to undertake and I intend to supervise. We are all looking forward to it so stay tuned.

Well yesterday was apparently Feed Wimsey Day on the Upper West Side.  It was a beautiful day so I naturally I decided that instead of going to Central Park where Elizabeth wished to go I wanted to do some shopping instead.   I took Elizabeth up to the northern most pet shop on my shopping route, Little Creatures, on Amsterdam and 97th.  Now this is a very small store that sells some lovely high end food and snacks which Elizabeth and I were in the process of investigating –--Elizabeth is always on the lookout for new snacks for me and the benefit of shopping in a store is that she can actually see the size of the snacks themselves.  More than once a bag of snacks bought online was found to contain snacks so miniscule as to be beneath my gastronomic notice and they had to be donated to friends with more appropriately sized critters.  Anyway, as I said, we were shopping when the nice lady behind the counter pulled out a long tubular jerky type snack for me, which I greatly enjoyed.  Next I became very attracted by a basket of Merrick patties and a tripe flavored one was selected and offered to me prior to purchase to ensure that it was pleasing enough for the Wimsey palate. The other flavors were turkey and chicken which seemed a pointless purchase since I get so much of the real thing. The tripe, by the way, was excellent and a package was procured for my future snacking pleasure.

Those culinary tidbits whet my appetite so I wished to head over to Baked By Melissa for some cupcakes but was cruelly prevented by Elizabeth who was determined to get us into some greenery-- in this case nearby Riverside Park.  On the way, however, we ran into a human who is owned by an Irish Setter puppy of my acquaintance who had just done some shopping and was pleased to offer me a handful of Milk Bone snacks that she had just bought for her beast.  They were lovely but then we ran into the dog walker who cared for me during the day when I was a puppy who was excited to have Stella and Chewy patties for me (the quality of her snacks often leaves something to be desired.  On the last few occasions the ones she proffered failed to meet my exacting snack standards and were spat out with my accustomed alacrity). We also met the usual gang of random Hound petters and scratchers, but meeting Hound feeders is preferred when one is peckish.   Once in the park I lobbied hard to visit the Boat Basin Café (and their basket of large milk bones) but as we had already hit the two-hour mark this was deemed excessive. Instead I parked myself on a bench and made Elizabeth scratch me whilst I digested the afternoon’s takings.

And speaking of digesting, I have miraculously found a new way to extort turkey before my afternoon walk.  As those of you who read this blog know, I must be bribed off the bed and onto the Tribute Couch with turkey and then I must be further bribed off the Tribute Couch and into my harness with even more turkey. But one can really never have enough turkey so this week I discovered that if I nibble my kibble prior to my afternoon walk (I free feed but like to eat after a walk, not before, and if I eat before my walk it has to be delayed for an hour on account of bloat issues) Elizabeth shrieks “ No, Wimsey, no!” at me and lures me away with a fistful of turkey.  Apparently she does not have a spare hour to sit with me on the Tribute Couch and watch me digest. What can I say? No matter how skilled the Hound there is always something new to learn (except of course those things relating to obeying obedience commands or even more horrifying, doing people- pleasing tricks).

And speaking of people-pleasing tricks (or not)---the other night when Maria came over to Elizabeth’s after work to retrieve me so we could all go on our early evening walk I decided to pay an unusual, late visit to my favorite pet store, Unleashed.  (Since this is a regular stop on my afternoon walk, Maria seldom has the pleasure of seeing me in action there). I marched into the store and immediately bayed loudly at the woman behind the counter to give me a cookie from the cookie bar.  The Unleashed staff is well trained and the lady immediately stopped what she was doing to comply with my “request” much to the amusement of all the people in the store. To my humans, not so much.  There was a lot of “Really, Wimsey, really’s?” and reminding each other that I am a gift. A very loud gift.

Well preparations for Elizabeth’s quick business trip to Geneva proceed apace—she is leaving a week from Saturday and will be gone for a few days which means that Maria will have to spend her lunch hour walking me. This is a major inconvenience for me especially since the short duration of the trip means that Elizabeth probably won’t have the time to shop in toney Swiss pet shops for a gift (the kind that you would actually want, as opposed to me). But I am still hoping that they sell cheese in duty free. With enough cheese I can produce some amazing smells. Also, Elizabeth’s new trip clothes have arrived from the personal shopper. I like this idea of the personal shopper and think that there should be one for Hound-oriented clothes:

Hounds R Us

Hound Personal Shopper: Hello and welcome to Hounds R Us, a store designed with the special needs of the Hound shopper in mind.  What is your style?

Customer: I prefer body conscious clothing.

Hound Personal Shopper: Excellent. We have a wide selection, except that the body that you will be conscious of is not yours but your Hound’s.

Customer:  Does that mean that the clothes are Hound shaped?

Hound Personal Shopper: No. It means that the clothes are cut such that there is ample room for you to bend over freely to scratch your Hound, or collect his poop, or take a roast chicken out of his mouth without ripping, tearing or giving the neighborhood a show. Now what colors do you prefer?

Customer: Well I like jewel tones.

Hound Personal Shopper:  Well unfortunately our clothing comes in black and tan, red, liver and liver and tan. And for humans whose animals have a bit of Talbot Hound in their background we offer some patterns with a little white on the chest. That way you never look like you are wearing your Hound, even though you always are.

Customer: Sounds lovely. How about fabrics? Something washable would be nice—the dry cleaner is always complaining about what my clothes do to his equipment.

Hound Personal Shopper: We have some lovely vinyls, plastics, rubbers, nylons, latexes and our new premium Gore-Tex line. No need ever to experience those embarrassing or uncomfortable wet spots. And whether your Hound drags you or topples you in a mud puddle, compost heap or just regular dirt, clean up is a breeze. And needless to say, all our fabrics are stench resistant so people won’t need to move away from you in movie theaters or buses.

Customer: How about shoes and purses?

Hound Personal Shopper: We have a wide selection of high traction footwear with either cleats or spikes, and XL fanny packs that enable you to hold all the things that your Hound may need on a walk, including extra space for his snack assortment and a waterproof pouch for drool rags to offer the passersby that he slimes.  All our clothing also comes with a multiplicity of pockets for those little extras, like the purchases your Hound makes in pet shops. In addition, we have a line of fashion water canteens with detachable bowls to keep your Hound well hydrated.

Customer: That sounds great! It will be nice not to have to wear those fishing vests all the time.

Hound Personal Shopper: Everyone says that, but we carry those too.  We also have some beautiful clothing for your Hound in colors complementary to his fur and in an assortment of luxury wools, cottons, leathers and silks.  It is important after all for your Hound to look his best.

Well you get the idea. 

But meanwhile all Elizabeth’s nice new clothes are encased in plastic and in a garment bag and hidden away in the closet so I barely got a sniff in.  And for those of you who think that Elizabeth is being overly cautious, I will point out that this week she found kibble in the refrigerator tucked away in the closed vegetable bin.  Where there is a Hound, there is a way.

Anyway, I think that I will leave it there for this week. Both humans are hard at work on my art e- book and there are only so many times that they can fob me off with bully sticks. And in spite of all my lengthy walks this week I have to once again apologize for the lack of pictures—Elizabeth claims that she is too busy enjoying her time out with me (as if) to take pictures.  I claim she is lazy.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Hound style icon


Friday, April 18, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #346

Entry  #346
April 18, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the annoyingly late arrival of spring has been dwarfed by the annoyances of my humans’ Hound un-friendly schedules.  My primary human Maria has been working late again and had a tummy bug that kept her from my Sunday walk, my secondary human Elizabeth had two days of conferences (hence short afternoon walks) and a gig taking a dog to the ASPCA’s annual charity ball (AWOL for my evening walk). I do not like to have my schedule disrupted and it is not only that I know that I am owed 4 pieces of duck heart and not 3 pieces of duck heart before I permit myself to be leashed up, I also know when there are the wrong number of humans present for my walk. And when that happens I simply refuse to walk and stare fixedly at the abode of the errant human in full expectation that my stern glare will cause her to appear. The only good disruption is that Elizabeth’s camera finally packed it in so I was annoyed considerably less than usual with picture taking these last couple of weeks.

However Elizabeth is in the doghouse as she is planning on taking off for a business trip to Geneva at the beginning of May which displeases me greatly. I expect a cheese at least as in compensation.  She has also come to the realization that the only French she speaks these days is Hound French and she can synthesize such gems as “Be careful of the drool!” and “ Be careful he will steal your water bottle!” And “Yes he makes that noise a lot.” Consequently she has been speaking to me in French to practice, but fortunately I don’t listen to her in that language either. Being a Chien de St. Hubert means that I am bilingually disobedient.

Well blogging has been difficult these days because the computers are being monopolized for the preparation of my art book (coming soon to you on Amazon!)
So I will be unaccustomedly brief:

Wimsey Headline News

- I managed to “persuade” (read coerce) Elizabeth to let me get a drink from the bowl at the Apple store, although I was less interested in the water than in “persuading” the store greeter to scratch me while I leaned on him to deposit hair and slime.  Sadly I had to be summarily removed from the store for baying at the merchandise.  The acoustics were fabulous and I disrupted the entire store!

-During the two days that we had of actual warm weather I was able to get into the back yard to begin eating the plants. That is until the couple who have the 4th floor balcony overlooking the yard starting calling my name and I started calling theirs. The yard is surrounded on all sides by buildings, so whereas the acoustics were not as good as in the Apple store, I am sure that they were sufficient to disrupt anyone trying to enjoy a peaceful afternoon at home.

-Although the weather turned cold again the daffodils in Riverside Park have emerged! This means my morning walks with Maria have turned into a contest of wills over the matter of my pooping on them.  It’s a wonderful way to get warmed up for the rest of the day’s contest of wills.

- Even though Maria is home for a four day Easter holiday and Elizabeth was hoping for her own four day Easter holiday (from me) she still has to come over because I won’t let Maria put ointment in my eyes.

-I engaged in a major flap-a-thon last night which resulted in a major vet visit today. Apparently my right ear is infected so while the gunk is being cultured I have to have drops put in.  See above.

So now let us return to examine a few more photos relating to My Obnoxious Hound Behavior:

OK, so maybe sitting with my bum perched on the back of a park bench is not exactly obnoxious but the fact that I ascend park benches to delay the progress of a homeward walk and then demand to be fed, is.

So this is me in the squad room of the 20th precinct with the captain.  Why I am I there? Because I carried on so much and so loudly outside the precinct that the captain invited me in to shut me up. It was hard to get a picture because of all the ecstatic wiggling (I used to regularly drag my humans into the station house so I could indulge my obsession with greeting policemen).

As you can see, this is New York’s Houndiest keeping close tabs on New York’s Finest.  If you look closely, you will notice that Officer Wendt is baying at me—something that some of the officers liked to do on the police car bullhorn when they spotted me on the street.

What’s this?  I threw myself down on a city street in midtown to demand that (at least) one of these admirers rub my belly!

And a follow up shot of me calling out to someone else for attention. Or perhaps I just wanted to visit that shop.  There are so many reasons for me to bay that I lose track.

And speaking of which, isn’t this a lovely close-up?  This was taken by an AKC photographer when I was doing a pre-Westminster media meet and greet and Meet the Breeds event opposite Madison Square Garden.

So why am I baying at this guy? Do you notice how his hands are behind his back? I will give you a hint of what he’s got back there: W_  _ _ R     B_ T _ _ E.   He was reluctant to fork it over owing to the fact that he felt it was more important for him to stay hydrated than for me to have some fun.  Humans can be so cruel.

But then again, not always. Here I am with a water bottle that was most likely “donated.”

With regard to baying, I have observed that those who don’t run away screaming in terror, give me stuff.  Here is the pitch….

And the delivery.

Ah, here I am being fed by our friend Nancy’s little daughter Alicia.

However, that behavior leads to this behavior and my general view of strollers as mobile snack shops.  This can lead to a lot of explaining (and tight leash control) on the part of my humans to alarmed parents (“Not to worry, he’s not after your child, just his food….”).

Now as they say, every picture tells a story. This is Alicia again feeding me an ice cream pop. Normally I lick the ice cream off the stick but on this occasion I ever so gently relieved her of the entire thing and swallowed it whole.  This led to frantic calls to the vet, a dose of oil and what I like to think of as “The Great Popsicle Poop Watch.”  For the next several days all my gastrointestinal activities were regarded with even more than the usual intense interest and scrutiny and my eliminatory efforts were poked, prodded and squeezed to find the offending stick. Nada.  After about a week the prevailing theory became that my digestive tract was imbued with termite-like properties and that I had digested the thing.  Then one day when Elizabeth came to pick me up for my afternoon walk, there was the stick! Right on the carpet and completely free of any poop or sign of where it had been. Clean as a whistle it was. How was this possible? It remains one of the great Wimsey Mysteries.

Anyway, I hope that you are enjoying these jaunts down memory lane and that they compensate for the lack of an actual blog post owing to Wimsey Art Book Activities.  Trust me, we are all hoping that the book gets done soon.

Happy Easter!

Wimsey, louder than the Easter Bunny

Friday, April 4, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #345

Entry #345
April 4, 2014

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the inhabitants so want it to be spring that as soon as the weather gets above 50 degrees they are running around in shorts—a kind of “if you dress for it, it will come” approach to climactic conditions.  It’s the New York equivalent of a rain dance. But the spring flowers have taken a different, “hell, no” approach and I still do not have flower beds to pee in and actual flowers to poop upon, which I am finding quite distressing. What my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are finding distressing is that spring has fully sprung with respect to the annual and lengthy shedding of my dense and tufty winter coat. This week I ejected a tuft so impressive that Elizabeth left it in situ when she came to pick me up so that Maria could admire it first hand when she got home.  My humans are justifiably cheesed off that although there is not as yet any reliably warm weather or spring flowers there is nevertheless a coating of  stinky, surplus spring shedding fur all over them and their possessions.

Anyway, what can I say, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing what I do best—making my humans crazy and pushing them to the breaking point. I’ve been making Elizabeth take me out for extended walks in the afternoon then returning to her place and baying at the staff in her building.  After hearing my fine voice, a woman who apparently lives on the 7th floor took the stairs rather than risk a potential elevator trip with me. My favorite elevator operator guy loves it when I scare the residents!

And then there is the matter of my extensive demanding and finicky al fresco snacking behavior, my oppositional walking and my mandatory pet shop visits. This week I added a new store to my roster of desirable retail outlets with a visit to  Apple.  The store keeps a very large water bowl near the entrance but heretofore my humans have cruelly prevented me from availing myself of it under the theory that their dog friendly policy applied to normal dogs, i.e., not 130 pound canine drool flinging behemoths.  This week, however, Elizabeth relented and after taking a token drink I did my best  to explore the rest of the store. I was unsuccessful but as we know, Hounds are relentlessly persistent and I will eventually penetrate further into the store.

Hound behavior is like an absorbing game of chess, with  intricate moves and counter moves. For instance, since my humans pill me with turkey I have developed a talent for eating the turkey and spitting out the pill (or even better, secreting the pill in a capacious flew for later, and unobserved disposal).  So then my humans put the pill in a yam ball. This week Maria found an intact yam ball behind the bed—a consequence of Elizabeth confidently turning her back on me after popping it into my mouth.  Also this week, before my midday walk, I have begun sneaking back up on the couch after being lured off it with turkey to be leashed up so I have to be lured back off of it again with more turkey.  And before my evening walk, Elizabeth sliced my leashing up  duck heart snack (I need to be lured off the futon in her apartment) into 3 pieces instead of the customary 4. I refused to move until a 4th piece of duck heart was forthcoming. I may not know what “sit” means, but I can count!.  It’s been one of those weeks where the alcohol flowed freely and my humans kept reminding themselves that I am a gift.

Anyway, enough about me. Just kidding—a belated April Fool’s joke—can there really ever be enough about me? I think not.  So after my last post on the subject of my obnoxious behavior it occurred to me that it might be fun to comb through my photo archive (my humans have between 5000 and 10,000 photos of me—no joke!) and start posting examples of some of this behavior.  Sadly, the best of the worst has never been photographed for posterity, usually owing to the fact that my humans had to keep two (or four) hands on the leash to curb, manage or prevent whatever it was that I wanted to do or was in the  process of doing. This left no hands for the camera.  But let’s enjoy a stroll down memory lane and look at of some my less obnoxious but still annoying behavior, shall we?

Wimsey’s Pictorial Guide to Obnoxious Hound Behavior (otherwise known as Hound Behavior)

OK, first we need a shot of me baying (spoiler alert: there will be a lot of these). What can I say? I am a Pisces and we are very musical. Also, I can’t help it—it’s genetic, my father Stetson was also a vocally expressive Hound.

Here we have a shot of me roaching in the grass. I also roach in snow and mud for variety. Usually I do this because it feels good, but I also do this when my humans try to get me to go in a direction in which I do not wish to go.  It’s very difficult to drag a roaching Hound.

And this is what happens when someone I like tries to say hello—I stand on my head, preferably with my full weight on their foot.

What have we here? A very common reaction to the appearance of the camera. My humans have lots of photos of my nether half, the back of my head or the tuft of my tail. When they do manage to photograph me I demand to be paid in turkey. My fee also applies when anyone else photographs me, although since tourists rarely carry turkey my humans have to bear the cost of my admirers’ enthusiasm.

This is me on the king sized bed in a hotel room at a dog show. As a recall, Maria got the sofa bed in the living room of our suite (only the best for me!) and Elizabeth got the merest sliver of the bed on the inconvenient side nearest the wall.  And although the sofa bed was too uncomfortable for my delicate sensibilities I did periodically ascend it to give Maria a brief shove  just on general principle.

Ah yes, another wonderful picture from my storied career as a show dog! Those of you who read this blog know that I have an abiding love of the Lady Hounds that I (and my humans) found it impossible to suppress, even in the show ring.  Here is a rare picture of me attempting to  get to know one of these beauties better. My humans are pretty sure that I was awarded my championship because of my entertainment value.

Here I am with a dog called Blue (really, that was her name). If another dog is in possession of a stick, I find suddenly that this is the most attractive stick in the world.

Here I am in one of my many, many unsatisfactory raincoats—I think the neck of this one ripped under the pressure of my extravagant ruff—chewing up a plastic bottle in the park.  Plastic bottles are one of the many banes of my humans’ existence—I hunt down stray ones in the park and all operations must come to a grinding halt whilst I remove the cap and the ring and crush the bottle with my powerful Hound jaws. Sometimes I insist on taking my favorite ones home for my toy pile and sometimes I attempt to steal the ones that are still in use by passing humans—my solution to litter is to prevent it before it happens.

And here are these people sitting on the grass, minding their own business totally unconscious of the fact that their water bottles are also on the grass and subject to filching by a giant roaming Hound

Did I mention that there would be baying? (NB: After I bay, I shake my head and when I shake my head I fling drool a prodigious distance away. My humans never know exactly how big the radius will be or in what precise direction the drool will fly and consequently how many passersby  they will need to warn to duck and cover.

And speaking of baying, I bay for many reasons and in many situations. Here we have one of my more endearing auditory habits—I bay at traffic lights to  get them to change so that my walk can proceed unimpeded. It always works.

That is Elizabeth’s hand holding my beer. I say my beer because when the Boat Basin Café opens for the season I drag her thither and park myself at the bar until she buys me a beer. Or more precisely a nice plastic beer cup that it pleases me greatly to play with. She is permitted to have the beer provided that she drinks it quickly. Otherwise guess what happens? (hint: see above two photos).

Well that seems a pleasant note on which to end this week’s post. We will resume our photographic  odyssey through my exemplary behaviors next week.  I need not add that there are many more where these came from.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a picture perfect Hound