Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ray goes to Camp

I woke up tired and missing the cats. I stayed in bed a little longer than usual, petting Hugo and gearing up to go back to work. I dragged myself downstairs and saw Ray curled up on his bed. Gregg had already fed him and let him out and was sitting, finishing up his own breakfast. 
"How ya feelin' today?" I asked. 
"Tired," he replied. 
Must be going around, I thought. 
It was raining. Again. I didn't know how the ground could hold any more water. 

I ate a bowl of cereal then walked upstairs to give the cats the leftover milk. I sat on the floor of the cat room (we used to call it the guest room but it's more accurately called the cat room now) and picked up two brushes. The cats sat about five feet apart, and I was in the middle. I leaned to the right and brushed Moonie a stroke then leaned to the left and brushed Hugo a stroke. Cat yoga, I thought. Between Ray giving me interval training and the cats giving me a yoga workout, I should be the healthiest person around. By the time I was done brushing, we were all purring. 

I changed into my dog jogging clothes and went down and snapped the leash on Ray. I figured since I'd be sitting at a desk all day, I'd take Ray for a slightly longer walk than usual. We went about a mile. I was trying to get Ray to heel, he was trying to get me to jog faster during the intervals. I brought him back and got ready for work. My pants were loose. (Note to Self - next writing project "Ray the Blind Dog Weight Loss Program.")

I packed Ray and one of his tug-of-war toys into the car and we headed to the doggie daycare that we'd checked out the previous day. There were two staff members, neither of which had been there the day before. I explained the situation and turned Ray over to the young woman working the dog enclosure. I looked around at the dogs and didn't see Mary the timid Westie or Porkchop, the young Mastiff mix, I only recognized Bear, the Schnauzer. He was the biggest one there. When they put Ray in the enclosure, he was immediately swarmed by seven or eight LITTLE dogs and the vision of Gulliver surrounded by Lilliputians flashed through my head. The hairdryer, or some other kind of equipment was blasting in the background but Ray seemed to take it alright. He appeared to be briefly overwhelmed by the little dogs (it lasted about 30 seconds), then he opened his mouth wide like he was going to bark, gave a head toss and joined the fray. Seven to one, I figured, he was evenly matched. I watched him for 10 minutes or so just to make sure that everything was ok then left for work.  

When I returned in the afternoon, everything was quiet.
"I'm here for Ray," I said. All hell broke loose. 
The dogs had multiplied and gotten bigger. It must have been naptime when I walked in but that, apparently, was over. The young man that had been there in the morning, rounded up Ray and herded him out of the enclosure. 
"He's kinda tired," he said. 
I asked him how Ray had done and if he had made any friends. 
"Well, he had a really  good time with Porkchop," he said grinning. 
"Oh, yeah," I replied, "Ray realllly liked Porkchop yesterday too." 

Ray was pretty worn out when he got home. I took him for a walk around the block and let him loose in the backyard. Hugo was sitting on the sill of the backdoor waiting to be let in. When he saw Ray he scooted out of the way but didn't run for the hills. Ray snuffled around a bit and every time he got close to Hugo, I made a noise to discourage him. Hugo was watching Ray, his kitty brain processing the fact that Ray wasn't going for him. I hooked Ray back up to the leash, led him to the front door, and let him in the house. Hugo was once again sitting on the backdoor sill waiting for entry.
I slid open the glass door and let the cat in just as Ray followed me into the kitchen. Hugo stopped dead and watched as Ray turned around, went back into the living room, and collapsed into his bed with a sigh. Using his sneak-walk and keeping a close eye on Ray, Hugo crept to the stairs. It had a been a long day and it wasn't even 5:00.

Half an hour later, Ray was pacing, waiting to be fed. I fed him then took a can of cat food from the pantry and headed upstairs to feed the cats. By the time I got back downstairs Ray had ripped a small hole in a plastic bag of Great Northern beans and was chewing one like a piece of gum. I grabbed the bag and closed the pantry door. (Second Note to Self - NEVER leave the pantry door open for even a minute).

By 6:30, Ray was totally SACKED on the couch. Hugo came downstairs and keeping a wary eye on the comatose dog, joined us in the kitchen while we were cooking. I opened a bag of croutons to throw on the salad and Ray, who apparently associates plastic ziplocks with dog treats got up off of the couch and came to investigate (how can he hear this but can't hear someone dropping a pot lid?). Hugo nervously stood his ground. I gently nudged Ray towards his dog bed where he collapsed in a heap. 
Hugo followed us to the family room which is where we eat our dinner. He hissed at Ray as he passed the soundly-sleeping dog, but Ray didn't twitch an eyelid. Hugo spent the next hour with us but could not relax. Finally, unable to take the suspense, he sloooooowwwwwly crept past the dog bed and headed up the stairs to safety.



  1. yay! thats progress!

  2. More pictures of Ray, please :) Yes, I left the pantry open once, and Ray chewed up a few plastic containers of that colored sugar you sprinkle on cupcakes. And if they come home that tired, I definitely need to start taking my dogs to daycare!

  3. I have been reading your posts since I got your email - thanks! It is great to hear that you are doing well and to read about the old neighborhood. I can't wait to read about Ray's next adventures!