Monday, July 15, 2019

Post Script

A few weeks ago I tried to adopt a dog from a local rescue - I've always felt that it's important to honor a past pet by rescuing another. After sending in the application, I was given a phone interview and quizzed about my answers. We didn't make it all the way through the questions before I was told rather tartly that it wasn't going to work out. I could feel it coming in the lectures I was given. I was considered an irresponsible pet owner for not agreeing to crate my dog and keep him in a locked cage behind a locked dog door while I was out of the house.

I was stunned and angry. And then I was depressed. So I went back and read Ray's old blogs. And I cried and cried. But I laughed even more. I read about all the stuff that Ray got up to and into when he was a youngster (the shoe tassels, the yarn, the toilet bowl brush and other miscellanies) and all the adventures we had together. I probably was irresponsible in some cases (walking him off a cliff was not a shining moment), but I did my best for my blind hound, despite the fact that I knew nothing about dogs, and quite frankly, I wouldn't change a thing. If I had crated him, as lectured, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to steal the prosciutto/mozzarella log at every party or do so many of the things that made his dark existence interesting.

Ray had fun. And I had fun watching him as he showed the world how to tackle life and live it to the fullest, despite the danger of an unlocked dog door and a non-existent crate.

Jan 21, 2019. Ray's last day on this earth

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


I think Ray has been reincarnated as a female crow.

A couple of weeks ago Crow landed on the front porch while Gregg and I were chillin'. I could tell by the way she tilted her head to the side while I chatted with her that she was very interested in all that I had to say. And although she looks nothing like him, the head tilt reminded me of Ray. A few days later Crow returned. I put a few pieces of cat food on the porch railing and while Crow didn't let me get too near, neither did she take flight. She waited until I had taken my seat a few feet away before she hopped to the food and picked up each piece, obviously saving it in her crop. As soon as she had it all, Crow flew. She returned a few minutes later with her significant other. I fed them both. One day she stopped by with her gigantic baby, furiously fluttering its wings wanting to be fed. Crow obliged with the pieces of cat food and I felt a bit bad knowing that I had created a welfare state.

Now, Crow stops by several times each day. I  feed her some cat food pieces and, for dessert, a piece of apple. As soon as she gets the apple, knowing that no more food is coming her way, she takes flight. When I leave the house, if she is nearby, she follows me around the yard flying from tree to tree. If I'm inside and she can't see me, she sits on the pergola or the porch railing and calls me. Sometimes she'll fly from one to the other to look in the windows to see where I am.

Crow has a lot in common with Ray. She's really smart, there's the head-tilt thing when I talk, and she loves cat food. The only thing they don't share is Crow comes when I call. Something Ray would never do unless I told him he was "going to miss it." Ray never wanted to miss anything, even if he didn't know what "it" was.

I just love the thought of Ray as a crow soaring above the trees with a bird's eye view of everything. I hope it's him, flying free.


Hangin' out on the porch

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The End

When I was a kid I loved books about animals. Mainly dogs and horses. If there was a book with a dog or a horse as a main character, I was ON it. I can't actually remember ever reading anything else. But there was always one fatal flaw (literally) with these books. The main character always died at the end. So as I got older, I avoided these books like the plague. It's hard enough watching your own animals die without reading about someone else's pet doing it too.

So when I started Ray's blog I knew that I wanted his story to end differently. I didn't want it to end with a deathbed scene. I wanted Ray's friends to believe that this wonderful dog went on for all eternity licking babies, playing with cats, yelling at things, laying in the sun, taking long walks through the woods, meeting other dogs and making friends everywhere. I wanted Ray to be remembered the way he was through his whole life, a fun-loving, happy, resilient, normal dog who just happened to be blind.

Ray isn't gone yet but he has been diagnosed with something bad. You won't know when he dies because I am not going to tell you. But if, one day, you feel a slight cosmic shift in the universe, it might be because Ray's amazing soul has left this earthly plane for a better place. Somewhere soft with no hard edges, where the sun always shines, there are no baths, babies are everywhere, the food is always treats, and where Moonie, Hugo, and Harvey are waiting for him at the end of a rainbow.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Coming out of the Closet

Ray was in the hall closet. An 'oh, shit' feeling came over me.

I had been upstairs sewing when the doghorn had sounded (even though the sound is vastly diminished, it is still not something one can ignore.) Then there had been sounds of muffled crashing, and hangers clanging. I knew that doghorn+crashing+hangers meant only one thing: Lionel had deposited another chipmunk (or mousie) in the house(ie) for his friend to play with. The cat was nowhere to be seen which was a good thing, but Ray's butt and enthusiastically wagging tail sticking out of the closet were a dead giveaway as to the location of the errant rodent.

I corralled the dog in the bathroom, propped open the front door, and started removing things from the closet floor. A chipmunk was wedged between a piece of foam that Lionel liked to sleep on and the wall. He looked vaguely familiar. He's been here before, I thought to myself. I grabbed an umbrella and gave him a gentle poke. Obviously knowing his way out, the chipmunk sauntered to the front door. I followed, closed it behind him, and let Ray out of the lock-up.

He's not in here, Ray. He must have gotten away.
Are you sure, Lionel?
Maybe, he's back here.

I really think he might be back here.

Nope. You were right. He's not there.
Oh, Juno, you should have been there. There was this chipmunk
 in the closet. It was so great.

Friday, June 15, 2018


These days, taking Ray for a walk is all about analysis: How far do I think he can go without laying down for a rest? If he starts out a good clip, is he feeling strong enough to go whatever distance he has decided on in his dog-brain? If the sun comes out, how will that affect his performance? If he finds a really nice lawn, will he pass it or take advantage of its lofty cushiness? There are just so many things to consider and no way to really know the answer until it is too late.

This morning Ray started out strong, at the top of his form, I would have said. He went about three quarters of a mile, then showed good sense by stopping and turning around to go home. Unfortunately he didn't get far before he found one of those lofty-cushy lawns upon which he crashed. To my good fortune, the house in front of which Ray had crashed just happened to have a Little Free Library set up along the sidewalk. While he rested in a cool breeze on his shady lawn, I perused the books. Ironically, there was a book entitled "How to Teach Your Old Dog New Tricks". I unlatched the little door and slid the book out of the little house.

Before I had a chance to even turn a page, Ray was on his feet and ready to go. He knew exactly what I had in my hand and there was no way he was going to let me teach him anything. I put the book back. I could tell from the tag lines on the cover that it wasn't the book for me. There was nothing about how to keep a dog from laying down on a cushy lawn in the shade when a cool breeze was blowing. And I really couldn't imagine what I would do with a Ray-spit-impregnated tissue after I had taught him to extract one from a box.

New tricks? Puh-leeeeze.