Friday, October 31, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #362

Entry #362
October 31, 2014

Hello and “Boo” Everyone! It’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the spooky precincts of the Upper West Side of Manhattan where the costumed throngs are hitting the streets with a vengeance.  My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth do not need the excuse of Halloween to dress up since they are costumed every day in my livery as befits their status as Servants of the Great Hound. For the uninitiated, Hound livery consists of drool (and worse) stained garments in dark colors (under the largely false assumption that dark colors hide the drool better) that is accessorized with a large bag or fanny pack containing Hound and snack paraphernalia. On their feet they wear high traction footwear that can comfortably withstand an infinite amount of walking. Of course their costumes also consist of being The Invisible Human since they are seldom noticed when I am around.

Well Happy Halloween to all my readers who, unlike me, may not be lucky enough to engage in “trick or treat” on a daily basis.  My humans are well aware that when I demand a treat failure to comply in a timely manner will result in a “trick” (and not the kind that humans generally use to show off the intelligence of their canine companions). Such tricks may include gluing myself to the furniture when it is time to have my walking equipment put on or planting myself in the middle of a busy sidewalk until turkey is produced or rolling around in the grass rather than walk in an undesirable direction or refusing to stop lifting my voice in song, etc.  Or like yesterday, when I stared at Elizabeth to indicate that she was required to remove herself from the couch and come scratch me. Her willful disregard of this command earned her a trick:  I got up on the couch, being very careful to use my talon-equipped bear claws to shred the newspaper she was reading before planting my posterior on it.  In general, the Wimsey Treats are less related to food than to giving Wimsey anything that he wants. My point being that really every day is pretty much Halloween around here.
Anyway, this will be a short post since I spent the afternoon in Central Park where the cool, damp and cloudy conditions were perfect for a scent obsessed Hound such as myself.  Also added to the allure was that people from all over the world are here for the New York City Marathon and there is apparently a positive correlation between people who run marathons and people who love Hounds.  Our lengthy park sojourn also forced Elizabeth to conduct a business call with an important European client whilst standing in the middle of a large field trying to manage my activities. Mostly this consisted of puling out snacks to stuff in my mouth so I wouldn’t bay (too much) and gesticulating towards her headset when people tried to chat with her about me.

But we interrupt this blog post for:

Breaking News: A Special Report from CNN

Wolf Blitzer: Hello and thanks for joining us. I am Wolf Blitzer joined by Anderson Cooper here in New York City covering a fast breaking story!  We are foregoing our usual coverage of gruesome wars and natural disasters to report that New York has been invaded by a pack of Hound Zombies!

Anderson Cooper: Do they have Ebola?

Wolf: I don’t think so, but we can always hope!

Anderson: How would you quarantine Zombies? I can’t see them agreeing to stop eating human flesh for 3 weeks. Wouldn’t that kill them?

Wolf: Good point, but aren’t they already dead? Let’s ask the Mayor?

Anderson: Isn’t he in Bermuda?

Wolf: No, they have a new one.

Mayor De Blasio: This is Bill De Blasio the mayor who doesn’t have a house in Bermuda. But my Brooklyn house did rent for $ 5,000 a month.

Anderson: Really? Just $5,000 for an entire house in New York?! Does it have a roof?   But I digress. We want to ask about the plan for quarantining these Ebola- infected Zombies that have invaded New York City.

Mayor De Blasio: Oh no! The Zombies have Ebola too! Nobody tells me anything! And it’s hard enough getting those doctors and nurses to go into quarantine!

Anderson: So can we infer that the city has failed to develop protocols for dealing with Ebola carrying Zombies?

Wolf: I think we are getting ahead of ourselves Anderson. As personally exciting as Ebola-infected Zombies would be to all of us here at CNN, I believe that the Zombies in question are Hound Zombies and I don’t think that they are susceptible to Ebola. They might be carrying giardia though.

Anderson: But diarrhea is not nearly as exciting as a Lethal Hemorrhagic Virus!
Please tell me that at least they are feasting on human flesh throughout the five boroughs?

Wolf: Well so far it seems that they are feasting on couches and used panties. And garbage. A lot of garbage.

Anderson: That doesn’t sound like typical Zombie behavior. Have you checked your sources Wolf?

Wolf: Hold it Anderson!  This just in! It’s not a pack of Zombie Hounds, it’s a pack of regular Hounds!

Anderson: How could they make such a mistake Wolf?

Wolf: It was the smell Anderson. Apparently they were mislead by the vile odor emanating from the pack and concluded that nothing normal could produce such a stench.

Anderson: Well that’s disappointing. Clearly they are not Hound people. But we still have Major De Blasio on the line! He must be good for some news.

Wolf: Tell us Mr. Mayor, what is your position on ferrets?

Anderson: And do you think they carry Ebola?

Well Halloween would not be complete without a scary Zombie story would it?  And while we are at it, why don’t we look in on Dick and Jane and see how they are doing on Halloween:

Halloween with Dick and Jane

See Dick. See Jane. It is Halloween.
“I like Halloween!” said Dick
“I like Halloween! “Said Jane
See Dick’s Hound. Dick’s Hound also likes Halloween.
“I am going to be Batman!” said Dick
“I am going to be a princess!” said Jane.
Dick’s Hound is going to be a Hound.
“I like to trick or treat!” said Dick
“I like to trick or treat!” said Jane.
Dick’s Hound also likes to trick or treat.
It is a dark night.
“I am scared of the dark,” said Jane.
“Do not worry Jane,” said Dick. “My Hound will protect us.”
See Dick and Jane go trick or treating.
See Dick ring a neighbor’s door bell, “Ring, Ring!’
“Hello children” said the neighbor.
“I am Batman!” said Dick
“I am a princess!” said Jane
“Trick or treat!” say Dick and Jane.
“Who is that?” asked the neighbor.
“That is my Hound,” said Dick.
“His costume is the best,” said the neighbor
See Jane cry.
“Here is some candy children,” said the neighbor.
“Look at all the candy!” said Dick.
“Look at all the candy! said Jane.
See Dick’s Hound. See Dick’s Hound look at all the candy. See Dick’s Hound drool. Dick’s Hound likes candy. Dick’s Hound is bigger than Dick. Dick’s Hound is bigger than Jane.
See Dick and Jane cry.
See Dick’s mother. See Jane’s mother.
“Will the children eat too much sugar?” asks Jane’s mother
“No” replies Dick’s mother. “Dick and Jane will not eat any sugar,” she says.


And in honor of the holiday I also did a little trick or treating that did not involve my humans—I stopped off at Little Creatures on my way home from today’s lengthy park perambulation and demanded a treat.

Anyway, I think I will leave it there for now. I have a marathon to rest up for. A marathon of what is the question—and one that is best left to the imagination.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Halloween Hound

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #361

Entry #361
October 25, 2014

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the finally autumnal precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where it has been a rather busy week. With the advent of the cooler weather I have been on a mission to bring the Great Outdoors to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth to the greatest extent possible. At least when I am in the mood.  And as is my quixotic, Houndly nature, you just never know.

For instance, on Wednesday I was scheduled for my twice a year ultrasound review of my innards. These ultrasounds became another of the Wimsey Medical Traditions when it became apparent that my prostate has a regrettable tendency to develop abscesses. Should abscesses develop, they need to be dealt with pronto to avoid the need for extensive medical intervention. And of course while the vets are poking about, they also like to have a gander at my other internal organs to make sure that nothing untoward is brewing.

Well Wednesday dawned horrifically stormy and after reading the morning Hound Report from Maria, Elizabeth decided a postponement might be in order given that I had pretty much refused to take care of any morning business and then eschewed my breakfast, repairing instead to the bed in high dudgeon.  There is nothing so irksome to a Hound as the unauthorized release of moisture upon his delicate frame.  At least on bath day (which occurred on Monday this week) there is the compensatory feeding of turkey, soaking of Elizabeth, destruction of the bathroom and awarding of a cooked lunch and bully stick.  All rain has to offer is my soaked humans’ exhortations to relieve myself when all suitable places to do so have ceased to exist because of the rain.  Soaked humans, by the way, are much more satisfying when it is I, and not Mother Nature, who is doing the soaking.

But I digress.  In spite of the fact that we were due for two days of this wet weather, Elizabeth postponed our Wednesday walk to the specialist vet clinic until Thursday (specialist vet clinics being a requirement for the ultrasounding of me because regular equipment is apparently of insufficient size). And so, as you might expect, by Wednesday afternoon it had stopped raining and a lovely breezy, gray day ensued.  This is pretty much my favorite kind of weather—no obnoxious sunbeams to flee, cool temperatures and massive amounts of scent swirling about my olfactory organ.  Fortunately, Elizabeth really likes this kind of weather too. 

And before you express skepticism that I would know anything about Elizabeth’s feelings, given that I understand no English (or any other language in which my humans attempt to communicate their desires to me), I will let you in on a Hound Secret.  I know that Elizabeth likes this weather because I can smell that she likes this weather. That’s right, we canines like to take credit for being mind readers or being socially sensitive enough to know what our humans are feeling--as in “Fido is amazing—he knew that I was sad and started kissing my face”.  Of course if Fido were a Hound he would be doing that not because his human was sad but because of the accessibility of the remnants of her last meal.  Anyway, humans smell different depending on their moods and emotions so I can smell (and exploit) Elizabeth’s pleasure at the cool, breezy gray day. It goes without saying that if humans cannot smell, see or hear something they believe it does not exist, hence the canine ability to reap kudos for breathing.

So in honor of these splendid conditions, I kept Elizabeth out and about for a good chunk of the afternoon and demanded and received much turkey en route to make up for the lack of breakfast. This lack was also reflected in the extra turkey and chicken in my food bowl which was most gratifying. (Good servants are hard to find).  Thursday, however, was a completely different story. It poured. All day.  And in spite of taking the shortest route to the clinic which is only about a mile away, Elizabeth and I both arrived soaking wet.  I made my displeasure known by relentlessly attempting to bolt while we checked in and were it not for the presence of the Heinous Gentle Leader, I would have succeeded.  Anyway, I was much relieved that the procedure to be performed was the warm gel massage ultrasound as opposed to all the other veterinary crimes regularly perpetrated upon me. I was in and out in a trice and Elizabeth had to listen to the vet tech waxing poetic about how happy the radiologist was to see me again (and how delightfully normal my innards appeared) and how I was an amazingly well behaved animal.  My humans love hearing about how well behaved I am –I can tell because they get tight, fixed smiles and grind their teeth.
Anyway, after the forking over of the credit card (another key part of the Wimsey Medical Ritual) and the re-caparisoning of me in my red raincoat, we were off! And because it was still pouring, Elizabeth assumed, quite erroneously, that I would choose the shortest way back to shelter. But suddenly I found the rain and wind no impediment at all since it is one of my hard and fast rules that the walk down to the vet clinic does not constitute a proper afternoon walk and therefore it was still owing. The fact that there was a possible route that included the out of the way Greenland Pet Store (and the not so out of the way Greenland Pet Store cat) was entirely beside the point.  So snout to the wind, I successfully pointed us thither exploiting the guilt that Elizabeth felt about subjecting me to the warm gel massage. 

Once arrived at our destination I did my usual cat hunting and merchandise sniffing and then parked myself in front of the clerk and stared. Elizabeth explained that I wanted her to feed me a snack.  So the lady took one look at the size of me and did the prudent thing: she put the snack on the floor. This caused me to look about with confusion—my way of asking, “Why is there a snack on the floor?”  Elizabeth explained to the clerk that I have a very soft mouth and that she could safely feed me the snack. The lady picked up the snack, but I could tell she was skeptical—she gave it to me on the palm of her hand instead of presenting it to me between the fingers as I prefer.  Or better yet, placed inside my mouth so as to avoid the possibility of the snack getting stuck in my capacious flews. Having a snack lodged in a Hound’s flews is the canine equivalent of it being stuck in the Marianas Trench. Working it out of there requires extensive oral contortions and my humans’ incredulity about my ability to spend that amount of time still eating one snack.

Anyway, about an hour and a half later (and in possession of a tasty bag of expensive treats but sadly not the cat) I finally allowed myself to be taken back to Elizabeth’s to undergo the ordeal of a towel massage and a large lunch of Guilt Chicken.  So as to predicting my rain walking behavior, (or any of my other behaviors), I have one thing to say: “Good luck with that”.  Needless to say, all this was reported to Maria who had borne the brunt of my refusal to engage in any of the desired matinal activities and this was now especially aggravating (or satisfying depending on your point of view) in light of my subsequent compliance

In short, I am in fine fettle. So much so that I managed to “fall” into the Lake yesterday in Central Park whilst Elizabeth’s attention was momentarily diverted by the appearance of a Korean bride in full regalia.  This resulted in my legs being green with algae and I am happy to report that you can’t wash algae off using water from a fountain.  I spent the remainder of the two-hour walk sporting smelly organic green socks. A good ultrasound report will do things like that to a fellow. 
And here I am being petted by a group of soon to be slimed visitors. I especially enjoyed the guy in the hat to the left, since he was thoughtful enough to inquire as to whether I would like to consume the rest of the beef jerky he had in his pocket (human beef jerky, lest there be in any doubt).  And he was brave enough not to put it on the ground.  He was right up there with the lady who hand fed me the chicken out of her sandwich last week. Is it any wonder that when my cadging by charm is ineffective I resort to following people around baying at them to fork over the goods. (And as an aside when I am dancing, poking and drooling my way around my humans to indicate that I want something they’ve got and they say “Wimsey go away!” they smell like “Come over here and dance, poke and drool some more!”  I can smell that they think my antics are entertaining no matter how much they protest to the contrary.

Anyway, I think that wraps it up for this week. Halloween is Friday and as usual I am relieved to report that there are no ridiculous costumes in my future. My humans think the one I wear every day is ridiculous enough.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Veterinary medicine’s answer to building that new swimming pool


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #360

Entry #360
October 18, 2014

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from my abode on the Upper West Side in the Great Houndopolis of New York City.  I hope everyone missed me---although absence does generally make the heart grow fonder I am often told that my absence makes the blood pressure grow lower.  As usual, you can blame my missing post last week on my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who claimed to need their computers for the futile task of trying to make more money than I spend.  Elizabeth was hard at work on a “proposal” and I hope that she has more luck getting it accepted than I do my proposals. These proposals usually involve things like spending the entire day in Central Park or visiting every pet shop on the Upper West Side and then baying at the staff until they feed me snacks, and they usually fall on deaf ears (or those made deaf by their close proximity to an acoustically robust Hound).

Anyway, in the interim I missed posting about Columbus Day, which is traditionally celebrated by Hounds discovering the contents of the refrigerator, the garbage bin or the laundry basket. I also missed discussing the Bloodhound Nationals in Sacramento.  For the uninitiated, the Bloodhound Nationals are an event where people assemble from all over the country (and all over the world!) to show and admire bloodhounds (psychiatrists not included). For those of you who have normal breeds of dog, suffice it to say that the bloodhound is a creature that takes everything and gives nothing (hence the probable need for the psychiatrists) and whose invariable response to any human wish is a laconic “Don’t care”. (Although sometimes the more transactional among us will respond with “Whatcha got?”)  But of course we are very cute.

And also on the subject of the Bloodhound Nationals, I am sure that everyone was grateful that I was not there. Especially my humans.  Don’t get me wrong, there were aspects to showing that I enjoyed very much, principal among them the presence of Lady Hounds who at any moment could go into season and require the services of a romantic fellow like myself.  I also enjoyed the fact that all the usual instruments of Hound Control—such as harnesses, prong collars, Heinous Gentle Leaders and the like --were replaced by a string. I am 130lbs. Elizabeth whose misfortune it was to take me into the ring is not 130 lbs.  You don’t have to understand Newton’s Laws of Physics to appreciate that this situation seldom worked out well. At least for Elizabeth. And outside of the ring when I decided that I had an urgent need to, say, poke someone in the butt or ingratiate myself with a Lady Hound, the only recourse was for my humans to throw themselves upon me.

And then there was all the chicken that was liberally tossed into my gob under the misguided impression that I could not bay and eat chicken at the same time. Au contraire mes amis.  I can bay and do anything at the same time, including lie on my back. And then my boredom with the lack of all the exciting activities in which I wanted to engage made it obligatory that I protest at great length and with much vigor. And on the subject of this “bait” that was used on me (bait being the word humans use for all the desirable comestibles with which they attempt to bribe you) I was initially fed liver before it was determined that the liver was exerting a powerful form of organ meat mind control that left no neurons free for any activities (such as stacking or trotting around the ring) that my humans hope to engage me in.  In fact, so potent a force was this liver that it would cause me to turn into a very loud, very demanding cement lawn ornament with zero interest in anything not liver related. Suffice to say I livened up the show ring proceedings much in the manner of a rodeo clown.

But then it finally occurred to even my obtuse humans that I was much better suited to dragging them around Central Park in search of horse poop, stray sandwiches and frisky rodents than to prancing around in a show ring earning (or not) ribbons.  This was even confirmed by the animal communicator that my humans hired to help them figure out how to make me behave.  She told them that I was bored in the ring and that I could think of nothing that Elizabeth could do to entertain me except perhaps jumping up and down.  (Although in reality this latter activity would probably be more entertaining to the male spectators than it would be to me).

Well as many of you know, the week before last, Maria had a conference in Chicago which necessitated leaving me for a week with Elizabeth, which is always a welcome development. For me. Except that this time, Elizabeth had to leave me one night for a dinner meeting and one afternoon for a business meeting which displeased me greatly. I hate it when those odd smelling clothes appear (i.e., the ones that don’t smell like me) and she goes into her little dressing room and starts messing about with makeup bags. I have attempted to block her entry into that little room but have had limited success owing to the tossing of treats in the opposite direction.  

But other than those two unpleasant occurrences, I had a fine time—I hunted Little Teddy, the neighbor’s doodle, in the hallway, bayed to let the neighbors know that the elevator was taking too long to arrive and woke Elizabeth multiple times per night with ear flapping and exciting dreams that involved kicking the radiator. And after I woke her up for my morning walk, I took her down to the river and allowed her to buy me a pumpkin muffin in exchange for my letting her drink copious quantities of coffee. In fact it is really a good thing that the Pier One Café is in the park since I felt that the whole muffin purchase process took far too long and engaged in non-stop commentary to that effect the entire time.  And here we see a post-muffin picture of me at the end of the pier where I was cruelly prevented from following the scent that I was tracking by the presence of this obnoxious fence. As usual, I insisted that it be removed.

As is the custom on these visits to Elizabeth, there was the requisite application of gin and the flying texts between her and Maria.  And although Maria was at a conference where she was supposed to be learning about the latest developments in a software application, in reality she turned the event into a promotional tour for my Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art books.  It turns out that people were much more interested in looking at pictures of me and absorbing my views on European painting than in discussing business software, thereby demonstrating that humans are occasionally capable of displaying discerning and intelligent behavior.  
During my last sojourn at Elizabeth’s she took me over to vet’s where I hadn’t been in a donkey’s age (a couple of weeks at least) to get some fruitless professional ear cleaning and to do a vast battery of tests for my checkup. Everything, other than the stubborn and relentless nature of the yeast who have taken up residence in my right ear was fine. So now there is a large bottle of stuff with which to “flush” my ear which translates into, “put some on a pad and give Wimsey an ear massage and hope that some gets in” and a small bottle of other stuff whose directions read “Put 4 drops in affected ear daily” which translates into “chase Wimsey around and then give up.”

But anyway, Maria finally did come home and then we all went back to my place where a giant pizza with extra cheese was ordered for me to compensate me for the hardship of staying with Elizabeth. And this week Maria made the exciting culinary discover that the organic, grass fed beef in the hamburgers from the new gourmet hamburger joint on Broadway does not upset my tummy the way beef normally does! She was so excited by this development that on her last food run she forgot to order anything for herself other than French fries.  Of course there are worse things than dining on French fries whilst watching your Hound enjoy a meal of organic grass fed beef. Or so she told herself.  
And then last weekend our friends Virve and Juri came over from Finland to visit me. I always enjoying receiving visitors although I was hoping for another moose chew like the one they brought last time. There are only so many bully sticks one can consume.

Well I think we are more or less up to date on mostly everything.  On Wednesday Maria had to walk me alone after work because Elizabeth had a meeting in midtown. It was apparently such a successful meeting that Elizabeth came over afterwards with a bottle of wine to tell Maria about it. But I’m afraid Maria heard very little about it because my Houndy Sense detected that this conversation was not about me and I created a scene about being fed the cocktail nuts. Then when I got bored with that I started batting my tennis ball around the apartment and made Maria retrieve it from under the furniture.  This caused the conversation to switch from the success of Elizabeth’s meeting to the awfulness of me, which is my version of a successful meeting.  
One last thing—this is a picture of an “art installation” that for many days I found profoundly troubling.  I would stare at it and stare at it but it never moved. Finally I snuck up on it and smelled its tush much to the amusement of passersby--my humans were too slow with the camera to capture the moment when I realized that it is inanimate. Hey, you can’t fool me, I’m a bloodhound!

Until next time,

Wimsey, organic, grass-fed Hound