Friday, October 30, 2009

Zombie Chipmunks

It was night. I went upstairs to change into my sweats. There was a dead chipmunk on the scatter rug outside of my bathroom. I screamed and went to get Gregg to see if he would be kind enough to dispose of it. He was.
The next afternoon I went into the backyard with Ray to check on the weather. He was sniffing delicately at something on the ground. It was a dead chipmunk with it's entrails trailing. I went inside and got a bag and some paper towels to take care of the corpse. I called Gregg.
"Where did you bury the chipmunk last night?" I asked (he insists on a proper burial for all dead things).
"It was over by the shed, but I'm not really sure where. It was pretty dark when I buried it," he replied.
I went to look for the tiny grave and, sure enough, it had been disturbed.
I called my BFF, Joanne.
"Hey," I said, "Are there zombie chipmunks?"
"Well," she replied, "There are zombie people, I don't know why there wouldn't be zombie chipmunks. Why do you ask?"
I explained the situation.
"Well, there's only one sure way to tell," she said, "Has it tried to eat your brains?"
"Not to my knowledge," I replied.
I'm not taking any chances though. Tonight I sleep with the light on.

I Wonder...

  • ...if anyone has thought of inventing brackets for trashcans so that you can mount them on the wall like potted plants. Sure would save a lot of time.
  • many angora rabbits it would take to make a felted ball the size of a basketball. Ray loves the little felted cat toys that I bought at a fiber festival. He chews them like gum until I can catch him to take them away. They aren't exactly "balls" anymore. More like lentils.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Happened to My Dog?

Ray and I walked around the lake today. He was good.
He walked with a slack leash and only lunged (like someone was yelling "FREE CATFOOD!!!) a couple (dozen) times. He didn't jump at passing joggers. He didn't act like every person that he met was the first, last, and only human contact that he had ever had. He was a good dog.
I was mystified. He couldn't possibly be tired. He'd had his usual 13 hours of sleep the night before.
We walked all the way around the lake then took the long way home because he was behaving and it was a beautiful morning, foggy and somewhat cool, with the trees raining golden and florescent red-orange leaves on us.
We were within a few blocks of home when two older women walked out of a house, chatting. Ray stopped dead and "looked."
"What are you looking at?" one of the women said.
At that Ray threw himself to the end of his leash, jumping and straining like his tail was on fire.
"He's not looking at anything because he's blind, but he hears you talking," I replied.
The women stopped and 'awwed' and laughed and said what a beautiful dog while I worked on getting Ray to sit.
"Can I give him a biscuit?" asked one of the women.
"Do you have a biscuit?" I asked looking at her and wondering if she kept a stash of biscuits in her large, black handbag.
"I have some in my car," she replied, opening up the back of her SUV, "I don't have a dog but I have biscuits because my kids have dogs."
(Ya gotta love a person like that.) She came over with an enormous dog biscuit.
"Tell him to sit and then to flop," I said.
The woman looked at Ray. Ray could barely contain himself.
"Sit," said the woman, "Flop."
The new, improved Ray sat and flopped. The woman gave him a biscuit and watched him eat the whole thing.
Her friend asked "Does his blindness cause any problems?"
"Yes," I said, "He can smell a ball of yarn a mile away. He gets into my knitting all the time."
They both laughed, then the biscuit lady got in her car and left. Her friend returned to her house. Ray stood looking after the car for a few minutes until I persuaded him to leave.
We got to the "problem" corner, not far from the house. Ray stopped and refused to move. My dog was back.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Ray and I were at the dogpark. I stood with the parents, chatting, while we watched our 'children' interact. Ray, as usual, was yelling nonstop. I always make sure to tell everyone he's blind. It's amazing how he goes from 'annoying' to 'cute' in the blink of an eye.
A woman entered the chat circle.
"What kind of dog is that?" she asked pointing at Ray.
Over the din of Ray's yelling I shouted, "It's a Redtick Coonhound."
"A Redneck Coonhound?" she repeated.
"Red TICK, Red TICK," I shouted back, laughing. 
Another owner entered the park being dragged by two large dogs, one an obvious lab mix the other an obvious hound (we all heard the yelling before we saw the dogs).
"I wonder what kind of hound that is," I said to no one in particular.
A woman answered, "Oh, he's been here before. I think he said it was Tennessee Walker Hound or something like that."
"Oh!" I said, "A Treeing Walker Hound, maybe?"
 I went to talk to the guy with the hound who confirmed that Bandit was indeed a Treeing Walker Hound.
"I went to the shelter to adopt a Beagle," he said. "They told me it was a six-month-old Beagle [the coloring is the same]. When I took it to the vet to get it checked out the vet said 'Well, this isn't a Beagle and it isn't six months old. It's a Treeing Walker Hound and it's about six weeks old.' It went from 11 pounds to 22 pounds in the first week that I had it."
He didn't appear to be terribly upset about being duped.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Peanut Butter Wars

I decided that peanut butter on toast sounded good for breakfast. I made the toast under the close supervision of Mr. Nosey. Ray has been getting pilled everyday using the jar of Crazy Richard's 100% Natural peanut butter (no sugar - just nuts) and feels a sense of ownership. He followed me to the couch where I sat down to eat and immediately put his front feet on my lap trying to pick the toast off of the plate. I "Bah-ed" and fended him off while keeping the toast from sliding onto the furniture.
Ray decided maybe a frontal assault was too obvious. He made a loop around the coffee table and came in from the side. No go. He made a loop around the other side. Still no go. He shoved his nose in my face and sniffed my breath; the smell of peanut butter was intoxicating. He licked my glasses. I shoved him off. 
Ray grabbed a box of kleenex off of the back of couch where it had been safely nestled for the last three months. He carried it two feet away and ripped it to shreds. I ignored him (ignore attention seeking behavior). (the box was nearly empty or I wouldn't have been so blase). I know a temper tantrum when I see one. 
I had one bite of toast remaining when Ray left the kleenex box and walked by me, his head down. At the last second he threw his head in my direction, flicked out his tongue, and took a long slurp across my plate. Game over.
I'd have to call this one a draw. I didn't quite get to finish my toast but Ray didn't get to have the last bite.
The kleenex box was a lost cause.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Night of the Living Ray

I had been putting up Halloween decorations all day. Skulls, ghouls, rats, bones, and all the etcetera that make a nice creepy house.  I headed upstairs to take a shower.
I was all clean and shiny when I next descended the stairs. I hadn't even reached the bottom of the staircase when I smelled earth. Like a freshly dug grave. I felt my skin crawl and briefly wondered if Zombies had invaded while I was showering. I glanced around and didn't see anything (including Ray). I walked into the front hall so that I could see into most of the rooms at once. 
Ray was in the living room, his tail wagging madly. He had in his mouth the knob end of a rawhide bone that had been living in the ground for the last few weeks. It reeked of mouldering grave. 
I started toward him and he took off around the other side of the coffee table and headed for the hall. He knew this game well and wasn't going to give up his prize easily. I was in hot pursuit. I didn't want him to drop the muddy, stinking knob on the carpet. I stopped and tried to creep up behind him, his butt was in the air in the classic "come play with me" pose. He let me get within inches of his head and took off again around the coffee table. I headed him off at the pass and waited. He backtracked around the other side, his tail still swinging from side to side.
"I'm gonna get ya!" I cried. 
Ray headed for the back door and slipped through the screen. I slid the glass door closed behind him, pleased that I had outwitted a blind dog. I watched as Ray settled down in the grass with his chaw of hide and found myself wondering if I could get a piece of the grave-scented knob to add an olfactory touch of authenticity to the Halloween display.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

I had to be at work early so I was downstairs by 6:30. Ray was frisky. When Ray is tired, mornings are peaceful. This morning was not one of those mornings, I could hear him whining while getting ready for work. He met me at the bottom of the stairs with a rawhide bone in his mouth, tail wagging, looking over his shoulder to entice me to play. I grabbed the bone and tugged it and he took off for the living room, his usual route around the coffee table into the hallway and back again. I followed, then headed to the kitchen for breakfast. Ray settled down briefly in the hall with his bone, gnawing the end, then standing to toss it around some, then back down for a gnaw, then rolllling around on his back, feet flailing the air, groaning and growling and snapping his teeth, his bone just out of reach at the end of his nose. I could see Hugo on the stair landing, watching.
Ray settled down for a moment or two and Hugo appeared on the arm of the couch next to me. I went to get him a dish of milk. The black cat lapped at it while I held the bowl for him. Ray got up and ambled over to see what was up. Hugo hissed and growled. Ray took half a step back, his tail started to wag gently (uh oh). He put his butt in the air, front feet on the ground. Hugo growled.
"Don't do it Ray," I said, but I knew he would.
His tail was really going now. He wanted so badly to play with the cat. Ray let out a high-pitched bark (he rarely barks - actually I've only heard him do it when he wants to play with the cats and, sometimes, me). Hugo hissed one last time and ran for the stairs followed by Ray, his tail still wagging.
I wondered how this would affect the progress he had made over the weekend.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Trip to the Dog Park

Asleep on his feet after an hour at the dog park
This week Ray went to the dog park again. It is now number one on his hit parade and has totally eclipsed daycare as Ray's favorite place on earth. He lopes around, never stopping (except briefly when he runs into someone), and bays and bays and bays. I could watch him all day. He's incredibly graceful; his movements are as fluid as water when he's not tripping over another dog.
Listening to him is another matter; the sound is not too bad as long as he's far enough away.
Ray was a bit tired after his trip. I had a tough time waking him up and getting him out of the car when we got home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A New Era (Maybe)

Hugo gets a belly rub; Ray snoozes
Last week, while I was home to supervise, Ray was allowed upstairs quite often. Hugo, being by nature an extremely curious cat, just couldn't stand not knowing what that dog was up to. As Ray would wander into a bedroom, Hugo would follow at a discreet distance. When Ray would try to exit the bedroom, Hugo would stand in the doorway and hiss. Ray, who is terrified of Hugo, would turn around and try to make himself invisible, or would stand still and whine, or would gently wag his tail while his eyebrows did the forehead dance trying to convince the cat to come play. With one eye cocked towards the dog, Hugo would turn slowly and retreat to a safe distance or to the cat room.
By the end of the week, Hugo had gained some confidence. He didn't always sit on the stair landing, sometimes he came down the stairs to sit a couple of steps up from the gate, just out of Ray's reach. When Ray would try to stick his head through the cat escape hatch, Hugo would hiss and spit and Ray would retreat.
On Sunday, Gregg and I walked Ray to the grocery store before breakfast. When we returned home, Ray curled up on the couch next to me and sacked out. I sat eating breakfast and reading the paper. I could see Hugo pacing in the hallway and called to him. Ray didn't move. Hugo came into the living room and settled on the arm of the couch on the other of side of me, away from the dog. He stepped on to my lap and flopped over for a belly rub. We took photos to commemorate the great event. 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ray Sports a Beard

I took apart the fuzzy duster that Ray had been so interested in a few days previously. It was a strip of sheep's fleece about three inches wide, wrapped in a spiral around a stick. I threw him the fleece and retreated upstairs with the stick. I could hear Ray whapwhapwhaping it across his face and then I heard riiiiippppppp. I went down to see how much fun he was having.
Ray lifted his head when he heard me descend the stairs. He had a piece of fleece stuck to his chin, his lip was stuck on one or two teeth and was curled up, it looked like he had thin lips and a beard. I noted his uncanny resemblance to a famous southerner. Before I could snap a picture, the piece of fleece fell off of his face, but I realized I didn't need a photo, one already existed...
Jefferson Davis,
looking remarkably like Ray with a piece of fleece stuck to his chin.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ray the Wrecking Ball

I had the day off so I decided to get a few things done upstairs. I'd been wanting to do something to the hardwood floors to get them to stop squeaking, so I had gone to the Depot to get some flooring nails and wood filler to see what I could do. 
I opened the stair gate and let Ray follow me up. I'd let him up a few times before and he hadn't acted too badly, he just poked around a bit then settled down on the futon for a nap.  
But things were a bit different in that the weather had turned cool. Ray's energy level had increased exponentially with every degree the temperature had dropped. Obviously he's been bred to hunt in the fall and this is his kind of weather. His long morning walk didn't seem to do anything to tire him out. On top of that, I took him to the dog park to run around for another 45 minutes or so. Nonstop. While yelling at a shepherd mix puppy that kept just out of Ray's reach. 
I had made sure that the door latch to the cat room was engaged so I didn't pay any attention as Ray jammed his head through the gap in the door. The latch has been holding fine, as long as we remember to latch it. I went into the master bedroom to work on a part of the floor under a scatter rug that can't be seen from the door. If my trial fix didn't work out, or look good, then I didn't want to have to stare at it every day. 
I had a screwdriver in my back pocket because I also wanted to fix a closet door that had come off it's track. In addition I had a drill, a hammer, and other assorted tools, rags, and a can of "plastic wood" for the job. 
I set up my gear and got down on my hands and knees. I heard Ray come into the room behind me and felt a cold, wet nose press against my back. My supervisor had arrived. 
I started to work with the close presence of Mr. Nosey. The nose moved down my back and I felt the screwdriver slip from pocket. I turned around to see Ray disappear out of the room with the screwdriver in his mouth.

 I retrieved it and went back to work. Ray picked up a putty knife and started to gnaw on the handle. I took it out of his mouth and went back to work. Ray rummaged through the trash can in the adjoining bathroom, I got him out of the bathroom and closed the door. Then Ray went to check out the trash on the other side of the room. I emptied the trash can and went back to work. Ray put his feet up on the dresser and tried to snatch a bag of cat treats from the back of it. I "bah"ed and got up to push him off the dresser and tell him what a bad dog he was. I went back to work. So far, I actually hadn't done anything. 
Ray ambled out of the room. I heard a crash. Ray was now in Gregg's office. His front feet were on Gregg's desk and he was attempting to grab a fuzzy duster, the handle of which was jammed between the desk and the wall. I "bah"ed, grabbed the duster, and pushed Ray off of the desk. I went back to work (still nothing accomplished), listening as Ray roamed from room to room like a furry wrecking ball. 
I gave up on my project and followed him. I reasoned to myself that if we're ever going to let him upstairs, he has to learn which things he isn't allowed to get into. Ray was leaving gaseous emissions behind him in every room. The cat food from the day before hadn't made him sick. It had made him jet propelled. My eyes were watering. I lured Ray downstairs with the fuzzy duster and closed the gate behind us.  Enough learning for one day. 
I sat down to blog....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I was putting up Halloween decorations. Ray was inside sleeping on his favorite chair (Gregg's). I ran an extension cord from the scary lights through the screen on the open window and took a quick look inside. Huh. Ray wasn't on the chair any more. My Raydar went off.
I went inside and glanced around the living room and family room. No Ray. I don't know how I missed the fact that the gate to the upstairs was open. I sprinted up the stairs to the cat's room. That door was also open.
I ran to the room and in a quick take I saw the following scenario:
  • Ray's head in a four pound bag of cat food
  • Four empty cat food bowls (two for dry food and two for wet food), that had been recently filled for the cat's dinner
  • A second four pound bag of cat food still intact (thank God!)
I dragged Ray out of the now-empty bag of prescription (read "expensive") cat food and locked him out of the room. There were still some bits of food scattered around the floor so I scooped it up and deposited it in the 1/4 cup measure that I use to dispense Hugo's food. There was only enough to fill the measure about half way. Ray had eaten at least a pound of cat food, not to mention the food that was in the bowls.
I grabbed my car keys and headed to the vet to get a replacement bag. I told the staff working the counter what had happened and asked what to expect.
"Well, the worst that could happen is his stomach will be really bloated and hard and you need to call the Dr. right away," said one of the girls.
I had just watched Marley and Me a couple days previously. Marley had almost died from the same thing.
"But most likely he'll get diarrhea," the other girl said.
I grabbed my bag food and raced back home to see if my dog was dead. Ray was in great spirits and tried to convince me that he was still hungry. I wasn't buying it.
The question remains: How did Ray know that the gate to the upstairs was open? HE'S BLIND.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ray Smells a Bee

Ray demonstrating Dumbo mode
Ray was in the front hall "looking" at a spot on the carpet. His ears were thrust forward in what I refer to as the "Dumbo the Elephant" pose, as in this photo of him looking down the stairs. He uses it a lot when trying to figure something out. I walked over to see what he had found. 
There was a bee crawling along the carpet. Ray looked like he wanted to eat it, so I grabbed an envelope, scooped up the bee, and started to carry it to the front door. 
When I got close to the door, the bee flew off and landed on the screen, behind the mesh screen protector. There was no way to get to the bee without removing the protector, so I made the command decision to ignore it and return to reading the newspaper.
After a few minutes, I noticed that Ray was snuffling around the entryway. I got up to watch him. He was sniffing the carpet, then the hall table, then the bottom of the door, then higher and higher until he had pinpointed the bee on the screen behind the protector. He jammed his nose against the metal as far as he could, sniffing, sniffing, sniffing. The bee wasn't moving and Ray's nose was millimeters away. I thought he might inhale the furry bee body, he was so close.
As I watched him, I found myself wondering what life would be like if I could smell a single bee.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ray Pulls a Gandhi

It was a nice morning and I didn't have to go to work, so Ray and I headed for the lake. As usual, it was a struggle to get him to behave on the way down. He just wanted to run and I felt bad that I couldn't let him. I toyed briefly with the idea of turning around and taking him to the dog park again, but it's not that close and I had things to do.
On the way to the lake we met Tallie, a Basset Hound/Bluetick Coonhound mix (how do these things happen?); she had the coloring of a Bluetick but the legs of a Basket Hound. An unusual but very cute combination. Ray and Tallie were sniffing each other up, but Ray was being relatively calm so I was able to chat with Tallie's owner.
Tallie was a rescue dog like Ray. The rescue society had had her for awhile in a shelter in a different county and no one wanted her, so they had moved Tallie to our county's shelter, where her current owner, Sylvia, adopted her. Like me, Sylvia adopted Tallie, her first dog ever, late in life. She was 42 and had cats (and I think she said she has kids too) when she brought home Tallie.
"I don't know how I ever got along without a dog, " said Sylvia.
Thinking of my own hound, I agreed with her.
It was pretty hot by the time Ray and I neared home. We were only a couple blocks away and were at a corner getting ready to cross the street. A car was coming up the street with his turn signal on, so I told Ray to sit while we waited for the car to turn in front of us. Ray sat. Then flopped.
"Come on Ray," I said pulling on his leash. Ray was stretched out, not moving.
Ray, demonstrating his flop technique on the couch

I could see him breathing though.
I knelt down behind him and tried to pry him off of the pavement with my hands. I could see the car slowly turn the corner and pull over to the curb. Oh, crap, I thought to myself. I had Ray propped up almost into a sitting position but he was pulling a Gandhi and leaning against me trying to flop back over. A man with a very concerned look on his face took a couple of steps towards us.
"What's wrong with him?" he asked.
"He's lazy and stubborn," I responded laughing, because at the first sound of the man's voice, Ray sprang to his feet and was lunging in the general direction of the guy. I swear Ray uses his flop as a ploy to meet people. The man laughed and shook his head.
"I've never seen that before," he said as he got back into his car and drove away.

Did you hear a dog? I thought I heard a dog?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ray Meets a Wolf

I'd had so many people tell me that I should take Ray to the dog park that I finally decided maybe we should go. I went across the street and asked Sandra if she and Maddie wanted to go along. Sandra was agreeable so we all piled into my car and drove on down.
Ray and Maddie act like brother and sister. That is to say, they ignore each other until Ray crosses that imaginary brother/sister line, then Maddie slaps him down. The brother and sister rode together in the backseat in silent doggy companionship.

When we got to the park, a man was getting out of his monster SUV, a dog was in the back looking out the window. 
Sandra looked out her window at the dog and said, "I wonder what kind of dog that is?" 
I looked at the 'dog' and had a sinking feeling. The dog got out of the car and it was a monster on spindly legs. We exited our car as well, dogs on leashes.
Sandra asked the man "What kind of dog is that?"
"It's a Shepherd mix," he replied.
"Is it mixed with wolf?" I asked. 
"Yes, he's half," replied the man.
We followed him to the park at a discreet distance. I didn't have a good feeling about letting my blind dog loose with a wolf hybrid. I hadn't heard good things about them.
"Just our luck that we go to the dog park on the same day as a wolf," I said to Sandra.
Dog/Wolf in center, 
Ray in back left playing with Border Collie mix
Despite misgivings, we continued on. The park turned out to be a large, rectangular, open field. The two long sides were abutted by wooded areas, benches on concrete platforms were there for the humans, a huge rock the size of a Lincoln Towncar was there to provide a jumping off spot for the dogs and an obstacle for the blind hound. A mud hole along one of the fences was also there, but probably not on purpose. Everything a dog could want with the exception of a fire hydrant. All fenced-in with chain link. The area was so large that I wondered if I would be able to catch Ray and leash him when I was ready to go.
Sandra let Maddie off of her leash and I walked Ray along the fence for a bit, trying to show him the perimeters. He wasn't really paying attention because of the other dogs. I was worried a bit about Ray running into a tree and hurting himself but the thought of him being able to run around without the leash was just too tempting. All of a sudden, I realized that I had forgotten my camera in the car. Sandra volunteered to hold him while I ran to get it. "Show him where the rock is!" I yelled as I headed back to the car.
When I got back, we turned Ray loose. He immediately identified a border collie mix as his playmate of choice and started to yell. And yell. And Yell. AND YELL. For the next forty five minutes Ray hounded that dog and yelled at him. The dog was playing with a lab mix and both of the dogs headed for the trees. Ray gamely followed, conking into trees when he got too excited to feel them coming. I stood by, yelling "BE CAREFUL" when he got too close to something (it works when we are on walks - not so well when he's playing with other dogs). I went into the woods after him, hooked him to the leash, and pulled him back into the open field. The smaller dogs followed but when Ray started yelling again, they dove for a hollow under the huge rock closely followed by Ray. 
"BE CAREFUL!" I screamed as Ray trotted straight for it. 
Ray flinched and swerved. I was sweating a bit in nervous fear for my dog. Again I hooked him to the leash and dragged him to the center of the field. The border collie left. I heaved a sigh of relief.

The humans had been moving in a straggling group, following the dog action, but were now standing together in a small clump in the middle of the field. I went to join them now that Ray was out of the woods (literally). The wolf was circling the clump of humans. We were all talking about our dogs. A young girl (in her twenties?) was there with a Golden Retriever named Brinkley. She was watching him closely.
Sandra, Ray, and Maddie with Toby in the background
"He found the mudhole last time we were here," she said, "I want to keep him away from it."

The man with the dog/wolf was saying how Toby (the dog/wolf's name) was terrified of kids. I replied that Ray had three priorities
  1. Dogs
  2. Kids
  3. People
in that order. 
The man replied, "Toby only has one priority, dogs." 
I looked at Toby who continued to circle the clump of humans, ignoring the dogs. I was starting to feel like lunch.
Ray and Toby

All of a sudden there was a blood-curdling scream. 
"BRINKLEY, NO!!!!!!!!!!" 
The young girl was running across the field. Brinkley had found the mud hole (which was more like a mud bath - the muddy water was chest deep) and was having a BLAST. The young girl came back to the clump of humans, dejected. Brinkley gamboled up grinning from ear-to-ear and shook himself off (obviously a jokester). We ducked for cover.
Ray decided that Brinkley was fun and started to follow him. Brinkley was beelining back to the mudhole. I ran after my dog, calling Ray. Brinkley entered the mudhole at a run, splashing the muddy water a good five feet out. Ray stopped dead when hit by the spray. I breathed a sigh of relief and stopped.
Ray, Toby the dog/wolf, and Brinkley the Golden Retriever
Both dogs came back to check on the human circle then off again. Ray lost his playmate for a moment and plowed headlong into the side of the wolf. I held my breath. The wolf didn't even register that he'd been hit. Ray picked himself up off of the ground looking a bit scared, then trotted off to try to find Brinkley.
I decided maybe I'd had enough excitement for the day. Sandra and I gathered our pets and headed home.

More Trip Photos

But, I don't have anymore. Really!
Nannie, can you read me a story?

Lazy-dog's tug-of-war

Getting into the game
Ray, do you need an ear rub?

Separated at birth?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ray's Trip - the Final Chapter

Resting up before the trip home
Ray woke me really early Sunday. Dad and I took him for a walk around the block. I loaded up the car and we hit the road.
The trip was long. I tried to keep myself alert by reading signs (Dunn, (NC) The Dump Truck Body Capitol of the World. I wondered if there was a hot competition for that title) and singing songs. Ray snored.
When we were about three hours from home, I called a friend of mine who lives in Richmond.
"Hey," she said.
"Hey," I replied, "If I stop by will you feed me?"
"Well, I'll take you to lunch," she said.
"Uh, I got a dog with me," I said.
"I'll go to the grocery," she answered, "I'll come up with something."
When Ray and I got to Susan's, she came out to greet us. I rolled down the car window and was saying hi when Ray stuck his head out my window, he was grinning and his tail was thumping against the seat. As usual, he was thrilled to meet someone new.
Hi! Nice to meet ya!
I think greens is my color, don't you?
While Susan prepped lunch, Ray and I took a quick walk around. She lives on a golf course and it was quiet and cool and lovely. I could tell that Ray was really enjoying his walk and was thinking about buying a piece of property next to his new friend.
When we got back, Susan had the grill set up and burgers and chicken just waiting for the fire. We went out and sat on the patio which overlooked a little lake. Ray stretched out in front of the patio door and went to sleep. He was exhausted after his long drive and didn't wake up until the food was ready. Susan gave him a bit of burger (he was acting like he hadn't been fed in weeks) and sealed their friendship forever.
Just before we left, I took Ray for another turn around the area. We met a couple walking two mini dachshunds. Ray was entranced; he likes mini anything. I tried to get him to flop so he wouldn't hurt them (they were minute) and it was a struggle.
We piled back into the car, thanked Susan for a great lunch, and were gone.
Although we both had a good time on our trip, Ray and I were happy to get home.
I'm going to miss you.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ray's Trip - Part 3. Ray has Two Mommies

Every day Ray and I would walk to John's and Yuko's so that I could turn Ray loose. Every day I would dig up Ray's bone and every day Ray would plant it somewhere different. Yuko's vegetable seedlings were taking a beating. Ray would wander and Yuko would yell, "Not there, Ray! That's turnips!" or "Not there, Ray! That's spinach!"
Every day Hannah would come outside and Ray would go crazy. As soon as he would calm down and start to ignore her, Hannah would start to singsong "Ray Ray Ray Ray Ray Ray Ray Ray." Ray would then go to her and try to lick her face and eat her hair. Hannah would spritz him and he would flop for a belly rub. 
Ray and Hannah
Every day Hannah and Yuko would visit us at Mom and Dad's. Hannah would play tug-of-war with Ray and we would all wait for someone to get hurt. But no one ever did. We would all loiter around the kitchen and Ray would try to snarf everyone's food or sip their coffee. We were having a really good time.
On Saturday Mom woke up with a cold so she stayed in bed. Dad and I spent the morning installing a new shower head in the bathroom. We finished up just in time for me to head over to John's to meet Amber, Ray's foster mom, who was driving in from Columbia.

I was nervous. I thought maybe Amber would want Ray back and I wouldn't be able to say no because I knew that Ray would love to be with his old friends. I knew that, if I were Amber, I would want to have a great dog like Ray back. Even though there was no way to do it, I was trying to prepare myself to give Ray up if I had to.

Amber arrived right on time. Ray was beside himself with joy. We couldn't tell if it was because he remembered Amber, or if it was because Ray is ALWAYS beside himself with joy whenever he meets anyone.
Amber and I sat on the patio and chatted while Ray flopped in the yard sunning himself. Yuko, who was puttering around in her garden,  came to sit with us. Amber laughed at something that was said, when, all of a sudden, Ray's head came up and he 'looked' in our direction. He leapt to his feet and ran to Amber, licking her and jumping on her. It was like a lightbulb had gone off over his head, an "I remember NOW!" moment. Then he moseyed on back to the yard and the sun.
Before Amber left, she kissed Ray on his kissing knob (the knob on top of his head. I told Hannah it was good luck to kiss Ray on his kissing knob. She's all set for the rest of her life), and told him goodbye. After I closed the gate, Ray stood with his nose pressed against the wooden fence. I could feel the tears pricking against my eyelids.

 Bye mom, I miss you.