Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Lately, I've been missing the blog. I think it's probably because it pops up on my Facebook page as a "Memory." I used to just ignore the "memories" but recently I've been re-reading them and I have to say it has been kind of fun.

There are not many days that go by that I don't have something to blog about, but I tend to ignore the urge to write because I've gone back to having a life. Ray is an old dog now and sleeps more than anything else. But still, there are stories that need to be told and this is one of them:

Last October as I was driving south to attend the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, I called Ray's foster mom, Amber. Amber tends to call me when she is on long drives and now I know why. It turns out this is an excellent way to kill time when on a long drive alone. As we were chatting, Amber excitedly told me that her niece had won a major marathon.
"She lives up in your area," said Amber naming the place in Northern Virginia in which we live.
"Really?" I replied. "Where?"
"I have no idea," said Amber.

After I returned home, the story of Amber's niece came to mind. I looked her up.  She lives in our neighborhood and is on one of our less-traveled walking routes. (Now that he is an old dog Ray always picks our walking route: some days he still wants to go 2-3 miles, others he just wants an amble around the block.)

A couple of months later, Ray decided that this was the day to take the road less-traveled. We were crossing the street at an intersection with a cul-de-sac when Ray's nose shot straight up into the air. Usually he does this when a fox is nearby. I waited for the yelling to commence but instead, Ray's head whipped around. He made me look. A tall, thin woman in exercise togs had exited a car and was just entering a house. The door closed behind her. Ray hesitated a moment then continued on.

When we returned home, I looked up the address. It was the home of Amber's niece.

Last week, Ray took me on the same route. When we got to Amber's niece's house, Ray stopped dead and started to cross the lawn to the front door. I put the brake on the leash and pulled.
"We don't know her, Ray," I told the hound (he had never met her).  "We can't just go up to a complete stranger's house because you smell a family resemblance."

Ray was insistent. I walked up to him, grabbed the handle on his harness and dragged him away. I compelled my dog to the sidewalk where he convinced me that really he just wanted to walk around the cul-de-sac, that he'd never been that way before, that really it was very interesting, and that he thought we really should go. So we did. As soon as we arrived opposite, Ray crossed the street back to Amber's niece's house. I hesitated briefly, thinking about it, then once again grabbed Ray by the handle and wrestled him down the street.

Ray was done. If he couldn't visit his foster mother's niece, he wanted to go home.

So, if anyone EVER had any question and needed proof that dogs can smell DNA, here it is, incontrovertible proof, served up on a platter, and provided by yours truly, Ray the Blind Dog.

I can't believe you wouldn't let me visit
my favorite person that I've never met.

Monday, September 18, 2017

When is a Dog not a Dog?

Recently, I took Ray to the doctor's for an exploratory look down his throat.  I have been worried, you see, because Ray is losing his voice. The once powerful doghorn has lost its ability to guide ships through the night and has been reduced to the feeble output of an ordinary dog.

I admit that for awhile Gregg and I were enjoying the relative quiet. I thought that perhaps it was just a temporary thing and that his voice would return in a week or two. But after a month, I started to worry. I took him to the vet and was told that in order to see if there was anything seriously wrong, they would have to knock Ray out, move his tongue aside, and look down his throat. I took Ray home again and thought about it for another week or two, waiting to see if his voice would get any stronger. But Ray's voice just became weaker.

So Ray went in for a sound-check. The vet found nothing wrong. Ray is fine. He's just a bit quieter than he used to be. We are trying very hard to feel bad about it.

(Answer to above - When he's a little hoarse)
Well, this end looks ok.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Short Update

If you started out reading Ray's blog from the very beginning and knew he was in cats, it's hard to believe that his best friend would end up being a cat. But such is the case. 

As his dog friends moved, or moved on to a different plane of existence (died), Ray adapted. He learned to not eat his cat companions and even to enjoy their company. 

It helps that Ray's current cats are not afraid of him. Juno knows that if she is in Ray's path, he will step on her so she scoots out of the way. Lionel, Ray's best friend in the whole world, moves for no dog. He waits for Ray to step on him then grabs Ray's foot, or if its close enough and Li doesn't have to exert himself too much, Ray's head. Li sleeps with Ray and eats his food. Juno keeps a motherly eye on both of them, giving them a quick lick every now-and-again. As mothers are wont to do, she anxiously awaits Ray's return from long walks and greets him ecstatically, rubbing along his legs, and tickling his belly with her tail, making her excited little porpoise noises the whole time.
Brothers from another mother

Juno and Lionel love their dog. And Ray, much to my amazement, seems to love his cats. 

The boys at rest

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

RIP Harvey

It always surprises me a little that when a pet dies, the house seems so empty afterwards.

Last week Harvey died. And even though he wasn't a big personality like Juno or Ray, the house seems quieter now and the light inside seems a bit dimmer.

Harvey liked to spend most of his time outdoors. He didn't kill things like Juno does and he wasn't noisy like Juno and Ray. He was our good boy, the serious one who demanded nothing except treats when he came inside for the evening, and who was so OCD you could set your clock by him.

He had four different places that he liked to sleep: in his bed in the bay window overlooking the backyard; on his monkeyfur cloud in the family room; on the wooden bench in the backyard; and in the flowerbed. According to his adoption sheet, Harvey was found in a field when he was a kitten, so sleeping in dirt was in his blood.

He and Gregg had a special bond and a nightly ritual. After Harvey would go to bed in his bay-window bed - always that one at night - Gregg would go to pet him and Harvey would bite him. Gregg would say "Owwww" and "No biting," and Harvey would close his eyes and smile. Every night. The same thing. I could tell they both looked forward to it.

But our Harvey is gone. And the house seems quieter now and the light inside seems just a bit dimmer.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Horns of a Dilemma

It was Ray's morning walk. We set off down the block, Ray leading the way and choosing the route as I let him do. We have twenty or so loops of varying lengths that we can use to walk around the neighborhood; the shortest being around the cul-de-sac (used in snow emergencies) followed by the one that goes only around-the-block, used during the summer months when it is too hot, even at six in the morning, to go any further.

Ray took me in the around-the-block direction, not unusual in that he can access at least four other longer routes this way. But when he got to the last corner where he needed to decide to turn left for a two-miler or right for home, Ray stopped. He looked up the street towards the long walk. He looked down the street towards the homeward route. He looked up the street. He looked down the street. I waited patiently while Ray pondered, looking up and down the street several more times before setting off at a brisk trot for home.

A bit puzzled, I followed, wondering why Ray would cut short his morning walk on such a beautiful morning. And it was only then that I realized that I had forgotten to give the poor, hungry dog his breakfast.