Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Yay! I'm finally caught up. Today is Wednesday and my blog should start to sound a little more "in the moment".

It was a drizzly morning but Ray and I went for our morning interval training before it really started to rain (which it did for most of the day). I know it's impossible, but he already seems to have more stamina. He feels stronger, anyway. Now I need to get him trained before I dislocate my shoulder.  

I've been emailing back and forth with our friend Caleb (who set up this blog for me, Thanks Caleb!) about Ray and his training. Caleb used to live next door and has a little Australian Cattle Dog (Sadie) that used to come over and play the stick game with me (I'd throw it, she'd bring it back). Caleb has done a remarkable job with Sadie's training and has offered to come over and show me how to train Ray. At first I thought not, the other training comes with a guarantee and will be attractive to a prospective owner. But the downside of that is, it doesn't start until NEXT Wednesday. I don't think Ray can wait that long (or maybe I can't) so I've decided to take Caleb up on his really kind offer to come over this weekend and start us on the right track. I figure it can't hurt. 

I had done some research earlier in the week on Doggie Daycare and today Ray and I went to check one out. It's not as convenient as some of the others but it's $10 cheaper per day and doesn't have as many dogs as some. The most convenient one would get as many as 90 dogs a day. This one gets 20 or 30. I don't want Ray to feel overwhelmed and confused.

There were two enclosures one long and narrow and one smallish and more square. They put Ray in the smallish one and said it was where they put the dogs until they got used to their surroundings. He was so scared that he peed on the floor. I think it was probably the noise from a massive hairdryer that they were using to dry a Golden Retriever (who immediately went and rolled around on the linoleum floor to get herself nice and grimy again) but it could have just been being in a kennel-like setting again. Maybe he thought I was dropping him off forever. I felt terrible for him but stood by and watched to make sure he was going to be ok.  
The guy who checked Ray in led him around the enclosure. He (the guy, not Ray) banged on the walls with his hand as he went so that Ray could orient himself. I think maybe it helped because Ray didn't bump into any of the walls. He did hit the chain link fence that separated the front of the enclosure from the rest of the store a couple of times, but for the most part he had it down.  

Ray was particularly taken with a tiny little Westie named Mary. He kept trying to paw her but she was small and quick and managed to dodge most of his love taps. They tried to get Ray interested in playing with Bear, a largish Schnauzer, but Ray really liked Mary. So the staff went to the other enclosure and brought in a seven-month-old Mastiff mix named Porkchop that was almost exactly Ray's size (but bulkier). Ray lovvved Porkchop (in a very unmanly way) and Porkchop seemed to really like Ray. We stayed for about an hour, and I felt pretty good about the place when we left. It wasn't pretty but the dogs didn't seem to mind and I could tell that the staff really liked Ray. I figured he could try it out the next day and I could go to work for awhile.

Ray seems to be settling down a bit or maybe I'm getting used to having him around. He still paces and whines for apparently no reason, but when he does, I throw him outside and watch him as he goes to dig up a bone. It seems to calm him. He also has baying fits a couple times a day. He runs up and down the yard baying and baying. I don't know what sets him off. Sometimes I can get him to stop and sometimes not. 

Hugo came downstairs this afternoon. I think he's starting to catch on that there's something not quite right with Ray. I'm afraid I scared both of them when Ray came into the house through the back door and headed right for Hugo who was hissing and arching. Ray couldn't see him but I could tell that he smelled him. I clapped my hands and made a loud noise. Ray looked confused and headed back outside. Hugo took off for the upstairs where he remained the rest of the day. 

After Gregg came home from work, we were sitting in the living room chatting about our respective days. Ray was curled up on the couch next to me when all of a sudden he took off like a rocket for the dining room, then back into the front hall to 'look' out the door. 
"What's that all about?" Gregg said looking at me. 
"I have no idea," I said as I got up off the couch to look out the front door. 
On the end of a leash was Sasha, lying on the grass next to the sidewalk, her ears up looking expectantly at the front door. 
"Hi Todd!" I yelled as I grabbed Ray's leash and headed outside. 
"She just laid down in the grass, looking at your door and wouldn't move," said Todd, "We sat there for awhile and I thought maybe you weren't home so I pulled her and she moved 10 feet and laid down again." 
Ray and Sasha played together a bit on their leashes while Todd and I tried to control the level of excitement, Sasha still baring her teeth now and again (but not in a bad way). It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

All in all not a bad day.  

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