Friday, November 13, 2009

Ray the Obliging, Amazing, Blind Dog

I decided to go ahead and make Ray a bed out of the fleece fabric that he loved so much, despite the fact that his initial impulse was to kill it (see Ray and the New Toy). I used lots of velcro and a couple of different types of fabric with the fleece lining the bed part so that it was comfortable for the dog, beautiful on the outside, and functional for me. I can easily disassemble it, throw the outside cover in the wash, and replace the high density foam as needed. I finished the bed part a week or two ago and gave it to Ray to see if he would sleep in it without trying to tear it up. He did (sleep in it, I mean. Not tear it up).
Then I made a redundant, separate cushion stuffed with fiberfill so that I only have to wash that instead of the whole bed. I thought this was a little dicey considering his reaction to the fabric and the stuffed toy, but I had some leftover fleece and the fiberfill, so what the heck.
I put the cushion in his bed and Ray, the obliging dog that he is, walked over, pawed the fiberfill cushion to fluff it up a bit and went to bed. He waited until the morning to try to kill it.
Ray Testing Out the New Bed
The morning was raining. It was cold too. I figured I'd take Ray to the dogpark and let him run around a bit by himself (no one else would be stupid enough to go out in this weather.) I weatherproofed myself and brought along a towel and a flannel blanket for Ray for afterwards. (He is NOT a cold weather dog).
I hooked Ray to his leash, picked up my keys and headed to the door. Ray went along willingly (he was bored). He walked out the door and led me up to the car - this is where the amazing part comes in - Ray KNEW that we were going somewhere in the car.
I have all of my keys on a lanyard-type thing that I hang around my neck. When we go for a walk around the block, I detach the car keys from the house keys (they are attached by a small carabiner so they are easy to take off) and leave them behind. Ray KNOWS that when I have my house keys around my neck, we take a walk around the block - he heads off across the lawn; and he KNOWS that when I'm wearing my car keys, we go in the car - he heads for the car.
I think this is amazing.
We got to the dogpark, I got out of the car, and opened the back door. Ray stood up and looked out, blinking and shivering as the rain hit his face. I managed to coax him out (I knew once he was out and running around he'd be okay). The rain was pretty steady but not too hard. I turned Ray loose in the park and watched as he trotted off.
I looked around. Outside of the fenceline, it was beautiful. The fields were awash in fall colors that glowed brilliantly against the dank and dismal sky. Usually when I'm at the dogpark, I only watch the dogs. Today, I enjoyed the scenery and the experience of being alone with my hound on a chilly, rainy, beautiful day.

This was a park that we had only been to once before. I've been taking him everyday to one that is about 5 miles away. It's mostly dirt and I knew it would be an enormous mud hole.
This park is much farther away but the earth is covered with finely crushed gravel - no mud. It's not as interesting because there are few trees, just a couple of evergreens planted in two small, sad clumps with benches scattered along the perimeter of the park.
Still Life (well, nothing's moving)
I watched as Ray trotted around sniffing stuff. Then he did another amazing thing. Since there were no distractions, Ray started to memorize the park. He went to the fence line and walked the perimeter.
Then he checked out the placement of the few trees and the benches. I watched him go to the same few points (the trees and the benches) again and again. Then he came to me, did the spastic cannonball a few times to show his excitement (not sure about what), then he walked to the gate. He was ready to go.
Moonie Feeling Brave while the MONSTER Sleeps in the Background

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