Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mud, Mud, Mud

This morning I checked my email and found that I had nothing to do at work, so I washed the kitchen floor. This is one of those tasks that I do now even though I know it is a total waste of time. I used to tell Gregg, "I just washed the kitchen floor so be careful, don't drop stuff." Now I wash the kitchen floor thinking maybe it's time to revert to living with dirt floors again; lower maintenance.
I took Ray for his usual extended morning walk; there's the short walk around the block, and the extended walk which takes in a bunch of blocks but still goes in a loop. It was a hot and humid morning, so Ray was being good and heeling well. We turned the corner at the end of our block and walked down to the end of the street that intersects our cul-de-sac. That street, while not a cul-de-sac, dead-ends at a house. Ray and I don't usually go to the end of this street but I like to keep Ray from getting into a rut so I add cul-de-sacs and half-way-ups-and-backs to our walks all the time. 
The house at the dead-end is set back from the street, up a slight rise, and surrounded by a wooden fence; it isn't really visible from the road. From behind the fence, two dogs started barking at us, a big German Shepherd and a smaller Border Collie. Ray stopped dead, his hackles up on his back, his tail motionless, curled over his back, and growled. I don't know what those dogs were saying to him, but it wasn't good.
We made it around most of the route and were headed to Ray's Waterloo, the corner where he usually stops and refuses to move. I started talking to him the minute we hit the hedge that edges this corner. 
"Come on Ray. Good boy. Come on. That's right, we're almost home only a couple blocks left. Come on, keep moving," I encouraged. 
We rounded the corner, Ray was still moving. 
"Good boy, Ray! Good boy!" I said enthusiastically.
Mentally, I was congratulating myself for getting Ray to keep moving.
A sweet, cool breeze wafted up the street and fanned our faces. Ray lifted his head to greet it. A tree on the street-side of the sidewalk was casting lovely shade. Ray hit the shade, stopped dead, and flopped, panting.
I stood for a moment looking at my flopped dog, shaking my head. Gregg calls Ray lazy. I think I'm going to have to agree. We have a lazy dog.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out my secret weapon, dehydrated chicken livers. I palmed one and used it like smelling salts under Ray's nose. He leapt to his feet, revitalized. I tugged on Ray's leash. We continued down the street, made it past the next corner, and then to the corner at the foot of our block. We were four houses away from being home. 
Ray flopped. 
I stood looking down at him, my hands on my hips. 
A neighbor drove up the street, stopped, rolled down his window and said, "I wish I had a camera." 
"I have a lazy dog," I replied non-sequiturally.
I used the smelling salts again and got Ray as far as the backyard. I followed him in and went to perform doggie dooty (trash pickup is on Thursday). I scoured the backyard scoopin' the poops. I looked around for Ray and didn't see him. I felt a moment of panic, but I knew that the gates were closed. I headed for the backdoor to see if maybe he had laid down on the patio tile to get cool. As a I passed the azaleas planted along the foundation, I heard rustling.
I know I haven't mentioned this before, because I find it kind of disturbing, but Ray has been digging a grave. Not a little cat-sized grave but a huge, whompin, small-human-sized grave. He's been working on it for awhile and it's been getting bigger and deeper. And bigger and deeper. The first time I saw it, I thought it was for a bone. But then it got bigger. And deeper. Ray was stretched out in his grave. 
We have a lazy, vampire dog.
I finished my dooty and went through the sliding glass door into the kitchen. Ray trotted to the door wanting to come in too. I stood blocking his path. He was covered with a film of very fine soil. I brushed him off with my hands and let him through the door, then grabbed a handful of paper towels, moistened them, and ran them over his frame. Mud. More paper towels. More mud. I was giving my dog a sponge bath. Ray flopped on the cool floor. I took some more wet paper towels and ran them over the floor from the door to the dog. Mud. That soil was finer than I thought. More paper towels, more sponging off Ray until no more mud. He got up and ambled into the hallway to lie on the carpet. Smartest thing I ever did, putting in dirt colored carpeting. And covering the couch and chairs with brown fabric. Now about that kitchen floor....


  1. As I am told quite frequently by my husband when our dog digs or lays in the yard, and gets a bit dirty - HE IS A DOG so he's going to act like a dog (whether I like it or not) and dig a cool spot to lay in.

    Virginia in Columbia, SC

  2. I gotta admit, it looked cool and comfortable to me. I certainly don't begrudge him his hole. I do wish, however, that I could get him to direct his hole digging to places where I want to plant something...