Monday, August 24, 2009

Salmon for Dinner

Sunday we were supposed to meet friends for dinner but they had to cancel at the last minute. We had been planning on trying Salmon burgers and decided that it was a quick and easy meal, good for a Sunday night. We ran out to the store to get some supplies and stopped in at Walmart which is next to the grocery so that I could get a new spritzer bottle. I had already replaced the one that Ray had eaten, but it didn't work well enough to be effective. It just couldn't hold a charge. I would pump the handle three or four times before getting it to spritz, and by then Ray would be in the middle of his meet and greet (aka lunge and chew). I needed one that worked on the first try, and I knew I could get it at Walmart.
Zany Ball after three minutes with Ray
While we were there, I stopped to look at dog toys and saw something that looked like a weasel ball with warts. It seemed like it would be bit more dog-friendly than the weasel ball because the exterior was a bit softer, not hard plastic like the other. It was only about three dollars, so I figured what the heck.
We returned home; Gregg headed to the kitchen and I gave Ray the "Zany Ball." Three minutes later I took it away. He loved it, but it definitely was not better than the weasel ball.

Ray settled down on the couch while Gregg was making burgers and I was making spinach with garlic. Moonie came in to join us and sat down in the middle of the kitchen. For whatever reason, Ray got up and ambled in, his head and nose down. Moonie, her back to Ray, didn't hear him come in and was caught completely by surprise when his nose pad hit her in the butt (I know how she feels). She turned, saw that huge head, and evaporated into thin air. Ray, all excited, started tossing back and forth trying to find his furry little friend. With a potholder on one hand and a wooden spoon in the other, I made a grab for Ray and caught him by the scruff of the neck just as he started by. He didn't struggle, just stood, wagging his tail and staring in the direction that he thought Moonie had headed. I let him go, checked to make sure the gate to the stairs was in place, and went to check on Moonie. She was on the top level of the cat tree looking a little rattled.
We finished making dinner and settled down to eat. Ray headed over to the coffee table that we use as our dinner table and started snuffling. First Gregg's meal, then mine. We both "Bah"ed and tried to shoo him off. Usually, Ray takes the hint, climbs on the couch at my feet, and goes to sleep. This was not a usual night. He went back and forth trying to snag a bite. I dragged him to the kitchen, closed it off with a gate, went back to dinner, and tried to relax and enjoy my meal. The burgers were delicious, I could sympathize with Ray wanting a bite.

I heard the top of the trash can 'clunk'. I jumped up and walked briskly back to the kitchen. Ray was there surrounded by a puddle of dirty paper towels, licking whatever was on them, off. I picked them up, threw them back in the trash, took Ray out of the kitchen, and put him on the couch in the living room. He sleeps there all the time. Why not now?

I headed back to my meal. Gregg was staring at his plate, waiting. Ray jumped off the couch and headed for our plates again. I jumped up, herded him into a corner of the family room, and told him to sit and stay. Ray sat and stayed. For about 30 seconds. Then tried again. And again. 
In retrospect I should have locked him outside, but in the moment, I just wanted to teach him something.

Monday morning I took Ray for a quick walk before dropping him at daycare and heading off to work. He was the perfect dog. Well mannered, calm. When I told Gregg this later, he said it was probably because Ray was so exhausted from being bad the night before. I couldn't argue.

In the evening when I brought Ray home from daycare and took him for a walk, he acted like he'd never been on a leash before. He shot out of the house, did the spastic cannonball in the front yard and down the first block, then tried to run up and around the corner and down the street. I thought maybe daycare hadn't been enough, maybe he needed to burn off a little energy, so I let him shoot down the street for a bit, then tried to rein him in. He didn't want to slow down. I 'Bah'ed and 'heel'ed till I was blue in the face. Honestly, I didn't know what had gotten into the hound. Slow day at the daycare? I didn't think so, the place was packed when I dropped him off. 
I was happy to finally get him home and turn him loose in the backyard. Just as I was closing the gate I heard a "Hi!." It was Deborah and Halle. We chatted a bit. I could hear Ray rattling the gate. 
"Let me go get him so that he can visit his girlfriend," I said. 
Deborah agreed and I went and hooked Ray up to his leash. He was SO excited he could barely contain himself. 

Ray dragged me to the center of the yard and stopped, his head up, "looking" down the street. 
"Where is she, Ray?" I said. 
"She's over here Ray!" called Deborah. 
Ray took off like a shot in the direction of Deborah's voice and plowed broadside into Halle who took it in stride but with a "What next?" look on her face (she's a very expressive dog). Ray was making a total fool of himself in his happiness. 
"We should let them run around the backyard," said Deborah.
I thought it was an excellent idea so I agreed. Maybe Halle could run him down a little. 

We brought them 'round back and slipped them off their leashes. Halle, for a moment forgetting herself, briefly dropped her air of quiet disdain and gamboled a bit (really!), then instantly collected her dignity and walked quietly around the yard, sniffing. Ray, beside himself with excitement, was acting like a total puppy frisking around her, trying desperately to get her to play. Halle ignored him, picking daintily back and forth. Ray switched gears and tried his no-fail, tried-and-true, works-every-time-except-when-it-doesn't technique and started yelling in her face, in her ear, into her side, at her rump, whatever body part was closest. Halle would tiptoe away and Ray would lose her until Deborah or I would give her up, "She's over here, Ray!"  We were all having an excellent time, except maybe Halle, who's ears were ringing.
$3/3 minutes = $1per minute

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