Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ray Regresses to Puppy

Ray woke up full of energy after a long nap and ran into the backyard to tell everyone. 
Ray's yelling fits are longer and more frequent now that he's more used to his surroundings. I think he's announcing things. I've noticed that my arrival in the backyard gets two or three turns around the yard, his bowel movements four or five turns, and burying a bone really gets him worked up (I lose count). Other events that he announces aren't so obvious. Is he yelling about the weather? the time? telling other dogs he's going to kick their asses? I'm not sure what all the yelling is about, but Ray is certainly a vocal dog. 
As I busied myself with dinner, Ray kept himself occupied doing doggy things. 
When Gregg got home, I found out exactly with what Ray was keeping himself occupied. 
I went to empty the compost bucket, took two steps out the back door and said "Uh oh."(I was thinking "Oh shit, Ray, you're still on probation"). 
"What's wrong?" asked Gregg. 
"I hope you didn't want your old sandals," I replied. 
I came in carrying one of the sandals with the back chewed off. 
"The other one's in the backyard," I said. 
"It's a good thing those are the ones that are already paid for," said Gregg. 
He had just bought a new pair two weeks previously and didn't seem particularly concerned about the old, newly-chewed shoes. I decided to move my own shoes from the usual shoe-drop which is just inside the front door.
I continued to the compost bin with Ray trailing. I emptied the bucket, put it on the ground, and was fastening the lid back on the bin when I turned to find Ray licking out the scum-laced bucket. ew. 
Gregg had taken over dinner preparations so I went back outside with Ray to play. I picked up Ray's favorite rope toy, the one that Hannah had sent, to play tug-of-war. Ray loves playing tug-of-war but playing this game with a blind dog is not for the faint-of-heart. He usually bites me a couple times durning the game, and I am fully aware that someday I may end up in the emergency room, but if we only have him for a month, I can't deny him a few really good games of something he loves. Besides, it really is a blast and that element of danger makes it even more exciting. 
After the game, Ray and I headed back into the house. I was doing kitchen stuff when I noticed that Ray wasn't on the couch and it was way too quiet for him NOT to be, so I started looking around. I didn't have far to look. Ray was in the bathroom doing what you always see puppies doing in toilet paper commercials. He had TP all over the bathroom and the roll that was left on the holder was a little damp and slightly shredded. Ray does enjoy paper. Paper towels, newspaper, kleenex, napkins, anything that he can pick up and carry around (and sometimes shred.) I don't think he's eating it, just using it as a toy. We really have to keep an eye on the trash cans. I decided maybe it was a good idea to start keeping the bathroom door closed. 
Gregg told me the other day that having Ray around is kinda the same as living on a boat. Everything needs to be battened down. Gregg battens down the hatches before he goes to bed or leaves a room. I think it's a good way to look at things but Gregg is obviously better at it than I am. Since day-one we've been putting rubber bands (the thick ones that come on asparagus) around the handles of the kitchen cabinets. One rubber band around two handles so that the doors can't be opened unless we take the rubber band off. I don't really think Ray can get into the kitchen cabinets, but I don't want to find out the hard way. 
Despite his exciting day of doctor visits, napping, and mischief, Ray followed his usual M.O. and zonked out as soon as it got dark. Hugo and Moonie have caught on that Ray becomes inert at night and come down for awhile in the evening before they just get too nervous and go back upstairs. Progress is still being made but the clock is ticking....

Ray Visits the Specialist

Ray's appointment with the specialist was today. He was supposed to fast for 12 hours before the visit, so Gregg didn't feed Ray when he got up. I decided to skip breakfast in a show of solidarity with my dog. I stayed in bed until the last minute, took a quick shower, walked Ray around the block, loaded him into the car and hit the road. 
We arrived at the vet right on time; 8:15. Ray, as usual, charmed all the girls.  He was doing his best to behave, trying very hard not to jump on them or mouth their wrists. He wasn't being particularly successful, but he tried very hard. 
While we were waiting for the Dr., Ray practiced his sit/stays. He's starting to get the sit part pretty well, as long as I am persistent in pushing his butt to the floor; the stay part is a bit trickier. 
The doctor reviewed Ray's medical records, examined his legs and (mostly) confirmed what I had been told by the lady at the rescue society, that Ray probably didn't have lymph nodes in his back right leg and that as long as he got plenty of exercise it wouldn't cause him any problems. As a precaution, the vet took a blood test to check for a tick-related disease that could cause Ray's symptoms (results pending). She also contacted Ray's previous eye Doctor to get the medical records from that visit (the first page of the report was there but not the results of the visit). Those records also confirmed what I had been told previously, that Ray had a detached retina in one eye and was almost completely blind in the other eye. What I didn't know, but what I expected, was that Ray would eventually go totally blind. The vet's assistant said that I didn't need to make an appointment with the eye specialist recommended by my usual vet, but that I could do so if I wanted to get a second opinion.  
Ray and I went home and ate breakfast. It was a 2 hour consultation and half an hour each way so it was lunch time (well, pretty much). We were both starved. Ray, however, had been able to bum some liver treats off of a nice lady who was at the vet's waiting while her dog was undergoing cancer treatment. I don't like liver or I would have been tempted to ask for some too.
Ray was exhausted after his visit, so he hit the couch. I decided that work could wait 'till tomorrow so I let the sleeping dog lie. 

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ray Photos

Ray relaxing after a tough day of Ninja activities
Ray trying to pretend that he hadn't had my shoe on his nose

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ray, Ninja Dog

Ray's leg was looking kind of swollen after his walk. He must have slept on it funny. Usually, when Ray is in bed in the evening, if his bum leg faces up, I'll slip a pillow under it so that the fluid can drain out. He's a very malleable dog. I can do anything to him while he's sleeping. I think he's one of those dogs that will wear funny eyeglasses or hats or wigs. (hmmmm, maybe a later post.) 
Anyway, Gregg took Ray for a walk with me trailing both of them so that I could try to pass on the wisdom of the trainer. Despite my horrible instructions, Gregg had it down in no time, and Ray behaved very well. When we got back, Gregg took off to get some propane for the gas grill and I curled back up on the couch with the morning paper. Ray settled in beside me. I massaged his leg for awhile, like my friend Joanne had taught me, and then slipped a pillow under it. (No, this dog is not spoiled.) 
Ray relaxing with a pillow under his bum leg
Earlier in the morning, I had let Ray out to pee, opened the sliding glass door to the backyard, but left the baby gate in place and the door to the kitchen closed. I wrapped Moonie in a towel, brought her down and put her in the spot that she usually inhabits when we eat breakfast and read the paper. She watched Ray move around on the patio for awhile but when Ray came inside she freaked out and took off. I went upstairs to try to snag Hugo but he was just too cagey and would duck under the bed. Hugo is really going to be tough nut to crack. I don't know how he will ever get used to the dog.
After Gregg came back, we took off to check out an estate sale. We left Ray in the kitchen instead of outside because it was supposed to rain. We were gone about 30 minutes and when we got back a woman was walking a Great Dane by the house. We said hi, told her what a beautiful dog she had, and found out that the dog was only seven months old and already 90 pounds. I asked her if I could bring Ray out to meet her Dane and she was agreeable. 
When I tried to open the front door to retrieve the hound, I met resistance. It was Ray blocking the door. The saltshaker was in the hallway (he has a thing about the saltshaker) along with a few other random things. I quickly checked the baby gate and the kitchen door, both of which were still in place. Since the Dane and his owner were waiting for us, I leashed Ray and took him outside. 
"Ray got out of the kitchen," I said to Gregg. 
Ray smelled that other dog and went crazy. They played a bit on the ends of their leashes and we chatted with the big dog's owner. 
After they left I told Gregg, "I'm going to take Ray for a walk. There's a saltshaker in the hallway." 
It took me about a block or so to get Ray under control, he was so wound up after playing with the dog and doing an escape act over the baby gate. When I got back I found that it was not only the saltshaker but also Gregg's glasses case which was a bit the worse for chewing. I threw the case in Ray's toy basket. Maybe not a good idea but it seemed a shame to waste it when it could be a perfectly good dog toy.
Gregg took off to go running. I went to do laundry. The trashcan was over on its side and trash was strewn all around. The 'high-tech' dog-lock that keeps the door open a few inches so that the cats can get to their catboxes, was still in place (Obviously, the coat hanger bent in half around the door knob with the hook part in the latch-hole wasn't going to be effective). Either Hugo was trying to set up Ray or Ray had managed to squeeze himself in and out without dislodging the dog-lock. Verrrrry Ninja-like.
For the rest of the day, Ray would not settle down. He paced and paced, went outside, bayed and ran around, and bumped into things a lot. It was a cloudy day and the light in the house was dimmer than usual. I felt bad for him. He obviously was missing something or someone and I couldn't do a thing about it. It was one of those days where I had that niggling feeling again that Ray needs another dog. I think he's lonely.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ray and Gregg

I took Ray for a walk early this morning and we practiced our sit/stays. Ray thinks of it more as flop/don'tmoves. I think this may be his downfall. He's a natural at heeling but he never sits. He's either walking around or flopped over. Sitting or staying, not so much. We are also supposed to be practicing front door etiquette but no one ever comes over so it's hard to do.  
When we got back from the walk, Gregg was sitting on the front porch so I turned Ray loose in the backyard, grabbed the paper to read about Michael Jackson (died yesterday), and joined Gregg out front. We chatted about what we wanted to do over the course of the day and I went in to get a cup of tea. Ray was at the back door so I let him in and returned to my chair out front. I was there for about five minutes when I noticed that it was unusually quiet inside. I jumped up and opened the front door. Ray had had only enough time to open one of the bags of roving. I "Bah"ed and he abased himself, feeling totally guilty. I clipped on his leash and took him out on the porch with me. 
Ray thought the porch was very interesting. He picked up a lighter that we use to light the mosquito repellant coils. Gregg "Bah"ed. Ray dropped it. Ray went  lapped my mug of tea. I "Bah"ed and removed my mug from his reach. I thought maybe having him on the front porch wasn't such a great idea after all. I took hold of his collar to lead him off the porch; Ray made a grab at the mosquito coil as we passed, but missed (how does he know where all this stuff is? HE'S BLIND). I "Bah"ed. 
I found myself wondering what our neighbors are thinking of all the 'Bahs' coming from our house. We'll probably get a reputation as being anti-Christmas or something. I could just hear them referring to us the Scrooges next door. 

Ray and Gregg getting Ready for a Run
 (and Ray Practicing a Sit/Stay)
While I stayed home to scrub out cat boxes, Gregg took Ray for a quick jog. He reported that Ray lay down in the street a couple times as they were crossing. Gregg was worried because Ray was panting so hard. Gregg thought that maybe Ray wasn't used to the extreme heat and said he'd take him jogging earlier in the morning on really hot days. 
We left Ray in the backyard and went to run some errands. I needed to get dog food, cat litter, and a new collar for Ray (the one he has now won't stay the right size, it keeps readjusting itself). It turned out to be cat adoption day at the local big-box pet store. There were a ton of kittens, old cats, and all ages in between. There are always lots of cats at these adoption events, but with the economy affecting adoptions, this time the number was staggering. I tried not to look.

The trainer had left me a list of ingredients to avoid in dogfood (did you know corn makes dogs pee and poop more? Neither did I), so I was checking out ingredient lists on all of the food bags when Gregg came in from the Asian market.  
"Did you see the cats?" he asked. "Did you see "Bunny?"
"Yeah, she tried to bite me," I said (I don't blame her, it was very noisy and frightening and someone was sticking a finger in her cage - me). 
"Oh." said Gregg. 
Ray sporting his new Cabana Stripe collar
I wondered what he would have said if I said, "Yeah, she is too cute, let's take her home!"
I picked out some food and we went to look at collars. Gregg picked out one that he thought would complement Ray's Red-Tickeshness. It was called "Cabana Stripe," a good choice for summer wear. I'm sure it's what all the fashionable dogs are wearing these days and I wanted Ray to be able to impress Halle who has a beautiful, wide collar with rhinestones. 
We went home and Gregg took off for the pool while I stayed home to make a plywood cover for the basket that I keep my wool roving in. I hinged the middle so that it opens like a picnic basket. It ain't pretty, but I'm pretty sure it'll keep a certain hound out. 
Ray and I went for a walk around the block and practiced sit/stays some more. For homework, we're supposed to practice 15 minutes a day, or maybe it's 15 minutes 3 times a day, or 5 minutes 3 times a day, I'm not really sure. After the trainer said "homework" all I heard was a buzzing in my ears. 
Ray has the heeling down unbelievably well, although it doesn't work quite as well when we pass another dog or a person. I brought him home and fed him and the cats, then wrapped Moonie in a towel and brought her downstairs. As usual when I go upstairs, Ray stands with his front feet on the third stair, his back feet on the ground floor, and stretches way up. I came down, sat on the second stair (Ray had retreated to the ground floor), held Moonie tight against me and leaned towards Ray. I think he and Moonie touched noses but I couldn't really see. He laid down at the foot of the stairs and looked nervously up. Nothing else. No barking, no sniffing. 
Later that night, Moonie was sitting on her pillow on the couch, Ray was asleep on his bed in the front hall. Gregg opened the front door and went out to get Hugo. When he came in with Hugo, Ray woke up, jumped to his feet and took off after the SCENT. He ran into the wall (when it's dark, and he's sleepy, he gets really disoriented), Hugo shot upstairs followed closely by Moonie. Neither one of them came down for the remainder of the night. 
One step forward, two steps back. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ray and the Roving

It was my fault, really. We'd had a good day. We'd gone for a walk (Ray heeled the whole time). Ray got a new bone. I went shopping. Ray took a nap on Gregg's chair. Everything was fine. 
Roving Scattered Around the Hallway
Gregg came home and we sat on the front porch talking about our respective days. I told him I had invited Kirsten, our neighbor, over for Margaritas and was going to go over to get her. We couldn't have been on the porch for more than five or ten minutes. I opened the door and there was Ray surrounded by roving (unspun wool, for those of you who aren't woolaholics) with the biggest, stupidest grin on his face. I hated to be the kill joy but I "Bah"ed, grabbed his collar, and put him outside. Then I started to laugh. It was just so funny. 
That's a dog after my own heart. Obviously, wool is in his genes. It's my fault, I shouldn't have left it in a basket in the family room. I should have left it upstairs with the cats. They don't know wool from nothing. 

Counting sheep

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I woke up ready to take charge of Ray's training. He was asleep on Gregg's chair when I went downstairs and didn't get up to see what I was making for breakfast. Ray learned pretty quickly that my breakfasts (cereal and toast) are not nearly as interesting as Gregg's (last night's leftovers), so he doesn't bother me when I eat, unless he smells butter. I think I've said before that Ray is not much of a morning dog and he proves it to me every day. It's hard to motivate him to do anything. 
After breakfast I grabbed Ray's Halti and leash and led him out into the backyard to put it on. Ray is such a good dog that he didn't struggle at all when I put his Halti on him, even though I could tell that it wasn't what he wanted. He is just too polite to do anything about it, or maybe he just doesn't know what you're doing until it's all over. I do sometimes tend to forget that he's blind. 
We walked out of the gate, Ray once again doing his impression of a condemned man. He lagged behind me by the entire length of the leash. I was feeling slightly embarrassed by his behavior. I just knew that people were thinking that I beat my dog when no one was watching. 
When we got to the corner, almost the exact same spot he had stopped the day before, Ray tried to wipe the Halti off by laying down with his face in the grass. I managed to convince him to continue on for another half block. I think the only reason he moved was because he smelled Halle.  
We had met Halle, a rescue greyhound from Florida, a day or two previously. Ray had kind of intimidated her by jumping around like a maniac and acting like an idiot. He was obviously smitten by her good looks and manners (or maybe she just smells really good - that blind thing again). Halle was just not that into him. She seemed to look down on Ray's good-ole-boy hound-dogginess. The scenario reminded me of Lady and the Tramp with Ray playing the part of the Tramp but without the help of spaghetti. 
This time the Halti stopped Ray in his tracks. Halle seemed slightly more interested in a dog that showed such self control. Ray tried to jump Halle's mom and mouth her wrists but I "Bah"ed and Ray responded a bit. He wasn't nearly as frantic as usual. 
We went another half-block before Ray decided he'd had enough. Obviously a fan of Gandhi's methods of passive resistance, Ray collapsed in the middle of the sidewalk and refused to move. I tried everything I had learned the day before, which, granted, wasn't nearly enough to outsmart someone that knows Gandhi's methods - look how well they worked for him. Defeated, I removed the Halti and clipped his leash to his regular-ole collar. Ray, being graceful in victory followed me home at perfect heel. 
On the way to work, I dropped Ray at daycare. He seemed really happy to get there. There were more dogs than usual, and bigger ones than before. I stayed 10 minutes or so making sure that all was well with Ray before I left. A couple of labs and a big, fat, mixed-breed rushed over and immediately started playing with Ray. He somehow managed to get one of labs under his back legs, his front legs still touching the ground. The lab was spinning around in a circle with Ray on his back like a wrestler from World Wide Wrestling, spinning and spinning, just before he hurls the back-rider into the ropes. Ray was having a BLAST.
When I returned, Kristen, one of the daycare attendants said "He is going to sleep well tonight. He played the entire time." She was shaking her head and smiling but looked kind of tired. The dogs must have worn her out. 
I paid the fee and walked down the sidewalk to the car, Ray at heel. I was congratulating myself on having such a smart, quick-learning dog when Ray sat down and refused to budge. I couldn't get him to move alongside the car so that I could lift him into his seat, he just squatted on his haunches. No matter which way I pulled his leash, Ray refused to move. I put my purse in the car, lifted him, carried him to the car, nudged the door open with my knee, and dropped the heavy load in the back seat. 
When we got home, I put Ray out back. The potted plants at the front of the house were drooping so I filled the watering can from the rain barrel and started watering. Ray was whining in the backyard, but I, as the alpha dog, am only supposed to notice Ray on my terms so I continued with my chores. I have no trouble ignoring a crying baby but a whining dog is a bit tougher for me. I finished up with the plants, cleaned the cat boxes, fed the cats, put food in Ray's dish and had just sat down with a cookbook to see what I could come up with for dinner when Gregg got home. He took over the dinner and I took Ray for a walk around the block; no Halti this time. He was at perfect heel the entire way. From frantic to perfect in one day. Ray is a BRILLIANT dog. 

T-Day (continued)

Ray With One of His New Rope Toys
Thanks, Hannah!
When we got home from our "walk", I collected the mail and saw that there was a package for Ray from his cousin, Hannah. Yuko had told me that when she and Hannah went to the dollar store, Hannah wanted to buy Ray a present so Yuko gave her a dollar (or two) to get Ray something. I opened the package to find two hand-drawn cards and two rope toys. Ray loved his rope toys and the cards. He sat quietly in the living room chewing on his rope while I tried to digest all that I had learned that day.  

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I tried to remember everything Lee had said. It was a good thing he had left reading materials, but I wished I had taken notes or a video or something. I wanted to do right by Ray, not confuse him or make him anxious. At least I knew he was a smart dog. I was pretty sure we could get through this. Well, actually there was no choice. We had to get through this. 
Gregg came home and I downloaded as much as I could remember onto his brain which tends to retain a lot more than mine does. He practiced the controlling noise; it's like a throaty "Bah" - like something Scrooge would make when he's pissed off.
Wanna play?
Ray seemed to be responding well to the noise. I took him outside and practiced Sit and Stay. I could tell that he didn't really 'get' Sit. He just couldn't figure out why anyone would want to sit when they could lounge or run around. It just didn't make sense. I started to think I should teach him "Play Dead," he seemed such a natural.
 A card from Hannah

That night, I brought Moonie down and put her on her pillow on the couch next to Gregg. Ray was snoring at my feet on my side of couch. We made a fuss over Moonie and she seemed not to notice Ray (cats are good at pretending). I went up to get Hugo, and by the time I got back downstairs, Moonie was gone. Hugo didn't hang around at all, but immediately took off for Cat Siberia. I felt somewhat better that I was able to carry them downstairs without too much struggle, but still felt bad that they wouldn't stay with us anymore.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Wow, a lot happened today.  

I woke up slightly depressed and missing my cats. I lay in bed thinking this was not really the best mindset to have if I was going to learn how to train Ray. I ate breakfast, read the paper and noticed it was already 8:30. The trainer was supposed to arrive at 9:30 so I quickly showered and took Ray for a walk. 

The trainer arrived right on time. Ray, ignored the knock, but when I went to answer the door he got up to see what kind of wonderful person he was going to meet this time. I let the trainer (Lee) in and Ray, as usual, mouthed his wrists and jumped up (his M.O). Lee explained that this was Ray's way of compensating for his loss of eyesight and that we would try to modify that behavior a bit. He talked to Ray and had him on his back getting a belly rub in about 10 seconds. Ray LOVED Lee. 

We went into the living room to sit. Ray stayed by Lee for awhile, then came over to the couch, jumped up, laid down next to me, and immediately went to sleep. Lee asked me lots of questions about Ray and his behavior and then gave me a very interesting briefing on pack behavior and the training methods he uses. About five minutes into the briefing, Ray started snoring. LOUDLY. I was trying hard not to laugh and I saw a twinkle in the trainer's eyes as he continued his briefing. After about an hour or so, Lee got around to the nitty gritty.
He started with Ray's behavior at the door. Lee showed me how to guide Ray away from the door, take him to a neutral area, make him sit, tell him to stay, then go answer the door. He then demonstrated with Ray.
Lee made Ray sit. The dog flopped over onto his side in relaxed-mode. Lee walked to the door, opened it up, and pretended to talk to someone. Ray stood up with the intention of investigating. The trainer sprayed Ray with a spritz of water, walked back to the dog, made the control noise, and made him sit again. Ray flopped over, totally relaxed once again. Lee went back to the door and pretended to talk to another fictitious visitor. Ray didn't stir. He wasn't fooled. 

Lee asked me to demonstrate. He went outside and knocked at the door. Ray was still flopped out on the floor. I opened the door and Lee, disguising his voice, started talking. Ray, hearing his favorite new person in the whole world, rolled over on his back and exposed his belly for a belly rub. We couldn't get Ray to react at all. 

So we moved on to "come". Lee put a slip collar on Ray and showed me how to get him to come. It worked pretty well, except for when Ray decided to flop over onto his side. Lee showed me how to circumnavigate this behavior and get Ray to come every time.  

Then we went outside so that Lee could show me how to do an exercise to get Ray to always walk behind me. He put a "Halti" on Ray, a muzzle-looking device that goes on over the dog's nose and behind the ears. The leash hooks on underneath the dog's muzzle so that it pulls the dog's head down and provides control. Lee said it usually takes dogs five or ten minutes to get used to it. 
Ray tried to wipe the Halti off of his head and rubbed his face on the grass to get it off (I didn't really blame him, it looked uncomfortable). Then we walked down the street with Ray. I gotta admit, the Halti worked very well. Ray wasn't pulling at all. Lee showed me some more exercises and we moved back into the house to discuss the cat situation. 

We sat into the family room where we have an L-shaped couch. Lee sat on one side and Ray immediately jumped up, laid down, and went to sleep next to Lee. I sat on the other side. After some discussion, Lee asked me to bring down one of the cats. I went upstairs, wrapped Moonie in a towel and brought her down. Ray didn't stir. I held her as close as I could (she was struggling). Ray didn't move. I let Moonie go and she ran back upstairs. More discussion. Upstairs to get Hugo this time. I made it most of the way down the stairs before he got to be too much and I had to let him go. More discussion. I went back up and wrapped Hugo better this time and brought him down. I held him next to Ray and let Hugo smell his tail. No reaction from Ray (he was VERY tired). He was snoring again. I let Hugo go and he hung around for a minute or two then headed out. Still no reaction from Ray. At this point I started to think that Lee might be seriously thinking he's dealing with someone delusional. 

Lee and I discussed the situation, but without Ray's interaction, Lee couldn't really assess Ray's behavior. He gave me a plan of attack, left me with lots of reading material, instructions, a spray water bottle, a couple other training aides, assigned me some training homework, gave me his phone number, told me to call with questions and updates and left. I put Ray outside (he miraculously came alive right after Lee left) and went to buy a Halti and a slip collar (which I couldn't find). 

When I got back, I put the Halti on Ray and went out to take him for a walk around the block. Ray was like a different dog. He was acting like I beat him on a regular basis. His tail was down, his head was down, he walked like a condemned man heading to the gallows. He made it as far as the corner before he put his head on the grass and with his butt sticking up in the air tried to wipe the Halti off of his face. I laughed and pulled him upright, we continued on but I could hear funeral music in my head as Ray walked along next to me at a perfect heel. We made it another block before Ray did the head-in-the-grass-butt-in-the-air face wipe again. I pulled him up and we did another block. Ray was smoking his last cigarette and refusing a blindfold (after all, he didn't really need one). 

We were only about half a block from home when Ray decided he'd had enough. He laid down on his side and refused to move. I pulled his leash and called "come" authoritatively. Ray didn't move. I did it again. And again. Ray just laid there. I pulled so hard I was actually kind of dragging him in the grass. Ray just "looked" at me with his "good" eye. I was beaten. I got down, unhooked the Halti, and using it as part of the leash, I walked him the rest of the way home. He was at a perfect heel the whole time.

to be continued... 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

T(rainer)-Day Approaches.

Ray looking to get his belly rubbed
Another day of work for me. Another day of daycare for Ray. They all call him RayRay at the daycare center. Ray made another friend, a little dog of indeterminate heritage. Except for Porkchop, Ray really does seem to enjoy the little dogs better. 

After work, but before I picked up Ray, I went to check out another daycare site. I'd like to find something a little closer. Preferably one between work and home. This one was run by a vet, so of course the dogs were in cages and had no interaction with each other. I'm sure it's a sound concept if you're a vet, (don't want dogs to get contaminated by other dogs), but if you're a dog, it's probably not so much fun. I thanked them for showing me the facility and told them my dog needed to run around all day because of a lymph node problem. They explained about how comfy the cages were and I reiterated that my dog needed to move around. They said that they take them out of the cage for 20 minutes of exercise a couple times a day, and I said thanks but my dog needs more exercise than that. Then I got the hell out of there. I'm sure they meant well. 

I had about a half hour before the daycare price went from half-day rates to full-day rates, so I stopped by Tuesday Morning, a store that sells random stuff at discount prices. I always check out the books, and darned if they didn't have four different books on dogs; training, raising, breeds, and health. I bought two books (I figured it couldn't hurt to actually KNOW something about dogs if I was actually going to have one for awhile - or at least for a couple more weeks) and wondered if I could read them before the trainer came so that I didn't seem like a COMPLETE idiot. 

Ray was really tired and thirsty when we got home from daycare. He is a very slobbery dog when he drinks (oh what I would give for a mud-room). During the first few days he was here, I would use paper towels to wipe up his post-drink water trail. Now I just keep a towel on the floor next to his bowl and use my foot to swipe it around. My kitchen floor has never been cleaner. Although, I'm thinking I could use some more towels. 

We had a mostly quiet evening except when Hugo was at the back door waiting for entry. I opened the door for him and of course it woke up Ray who immediately came into the kitchen to see who was going outside and what kind of fun thing they were going to do without him. Hugo took off but Ray had his scent and took off too, his nose to the ground. He is determined to get a good, close-up sniff of that cat, even if it kills him. 
Ray in sleep mode after a hard day at doggie daycare. 
I called to Ray, who came for a moment but then turned back to the scent. He trailed Hugo to the pavers in front of the gate at the far end of the yard. Hugo was lounging on his side, and except for a certain tension in his body, you would think he didn't have a care in the world. The cat acted nonchalant for as long as he could, but when Ray got within about 5 feet, Hugo jumped the fence. Ray tried to do the same but was hindered a bit by not being able to actually see the top of the fence. I made a loud, ACK noise, my noise of choice  to discourage him from getting near the cats, and Ray immediately swerved away. I think he may be catching on, it's hard to tell though since he doesn't get close to the cats often enough for me to use the noise consistently.  

Tomorrow the trainer comes. I'm looking forward to finding out how to give this dog some education. He's a good, smart dog but I am a bad, ignorant teacher. I can't wait to find out what to do.

Gregg told me that George Orwell had an entry in his diary that read "Two eggs." and nothing else. Apparently George had chickens while he was in Africa. So if you see a heading on this blog that says "two eggs" you can probably skip it entirely. 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oranges in the Market

"I'm going upstairs to blog," I told Gregg. 
"What are you going to blog about?" He said. "Nothing happened today."
"That's true," I agreed, "But I gotta write something." 
"When George Orwell was writing his diary while he was living in North Africa," said Gregg, "Some days he would just write something like 'Today there were oranges in the market,' and nothing else."
"Well," I said, "Then I'll write that." 

Today I had to work, so I dropped Ray at daycare. I didn't recognize any of the dogs except Bear and Porkchop but I knew Ray would be happy as long as his favorite piece of meat was there. 

At the end of the day, when I picked him up and took him home, I figured he'd be way too tired for a walk but he immediately wanted to go out. So we walked and then played a game of tug-of-war. The tug-of-war toy is a rope with a knot on either end and a big rubber ball that slides between the knots. While we were in the middle of the game, one of the knots came undone and the ball slid  off. I squatted on the grass to restring the ball and Ray, who was in one of his goofy, run-in-circles-bay-at-nothing-moods, plowed right into me knocking me flat on my back. He looked bemused, bewildered, and extremely contrite. He came over to see if I was OK. I reassured my hound that I was fine and tried to restart the game, but Ray would have none of it. He felt too bad about knocking me down. What a good dog. 
Ray passed out for the rest of the night. I brought Moonie downstairs to join us for awhile. She was purring and lipping (big Black Rhino lip). Hugo was out on the front porch watching us through the window. 
At bedtime, I tried to get Hugo to come in through the front window because when we open the front door, it wakes the dog and we can't get the cat to come in. But Hugo wouldn't come in the window, he thinks it's uncivilized. So Gregg went out, picked up the cat, and brought him to the front door. As soon as the door opened again, Ray woke up, stretched, and fell off of his bed. He was too tired to climb back on it so he just lay there. I sat on the floor beside him, petting him, and blocking Hugo's view of the big dog's head. Everybody knows, dogs are invisible if you can't see their heads.
Gregg dropped Hugo on the floor and closed the door. Panicked, Hugo ran for the stairs. Ray sneezed (wouldn't it be ironic if he was allergic to cats, I thought) then immediately stuck his nose up, sniffing the air. He jumped to his feet, his nose went to the floor. Ray tracked first to the stairs then back to the family room where Moonie was relaxing on the couch. She took off like a shot for the stairs too. Ray, knowing that he had missed out, but not sure of what, nosed around for a little while longer then headed back to the couch where I was lying watching the tableau unfold. He jumped up on the couch, lay down at my feet, and fell asleep. I sighed.

With my cats now gone, I sat up to pet the dog. I ran my hands over his doggy body. Every time I pet him, I find myself a little astonished at how solid he is. It's like petting something made out of wood that breathes and has fur. Hugo is a solid cat but it's more like petting something made out of coiled springs than something solid like wood. Moonie just feels fragile; when I pet her I can feel all of her bones. Like a supermodel, Moonie believes in bingeing and purging to keep her figure. I always handle her like she could break. I sure don't have that feeling with Ray. He feels indestructible under my hands. 

Oh, yeah, and today there were oranges in the market. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I slept in this morning because it was Sunday. I lay in bed listening for Ray's whining. I figured if he wasn't whining, I wasn't getting up. He was whining. I guess I really didn't need that extra sleep anyway. 
When I got up and opened the back door, Ray wouldn't go out. He is just like the cats in that he doesn't like to go outside if you're not with him. They all want company, it's just more fun that way. I escorted him outside and watched him pee, walk 20 feet, take a dump, walk 20 feet and pee again. Good thing I got up when I did.  

Ray felt really good after all that and started tearing around in circles. When Sadie, the Australian Cattle dog lived next door, I would let her through the fence (I cut a doggie door in my fence so she could come over and visit every day) and she would do the same thing, tear around in big circles, running flat out and flying over obstacles. Ray's tearing around is a bit different. He runs kind of hunched up, probably so that if he runs into something it won't hurt as much. Also his front end seems to head in a different direction than his back end. He "saw" me, came gamboling up, tucked up his front legs and hurled himself in my general direction. He kept his paws aimed at the ground and was using his chest as a battering ram. He missed me and started another circle, tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth and flapping in the wind. I could tell he felt good to be alive.  

He came at me again and this time when he lunged, he didn't miss. I caught him and it was kinda like being hit with a spastic cannon ball. He was squirming all over, playing by trying to grab my arms in his mouth. He took off on his crazy flight path, this time behind me. I made the mistake of not turning around to watch him and the cannon ball hit me a glancing blow in the side. (NOTE TO SELF: keep an eye on the blind dog when he is in a playful mood. He can't see if you are facing him or not.) Ray was having a GREAT time. 

I fed Ray and went upstairs to feed the cats. Gregg was up and was in the kitchen making breakfast. I threw a couple of knitted bowls in the washing machine, then picked up my knitting and set it on the arm of the couch. The knitting made me miss the cats. Usually in the morning they sit on either side of me, like bookends, while I knit or read the paper. And weekends are family bonding time; they spend a couple of hours in the morning reading the paper with us. This time Ray climbed up on the couch next to me, doing his best to take their place, but a big goofy dog isn't quite the same. I wished we were at the point where we could all be in the same room at the same time. 

This morning we ate breakfast with Ray. Usually we put him outside so that he isn't hanging in our plates, but I decided if we were ever going to make the decision to keep him, we would have to figure out how to deal with him at mealtimes (at least until the trainer got here and showed us what to do to keep him away). Ray headed for Gregg who had the more interesting breakfast (it involved prosciutto). 
"Nudge him away and ignore him,"  I said, "Treat him like he's one of the cats." 

Moonie is really bad about trying to get what she wants from your plate. Hugo is very polite. He lays down, puts his feet out so they just touch the edge of the table and then waits to be noticed. But, he has food allergies and we aren't allowed to give him anything but his prescription food. It just breaks my heart to see him waiting so patiently for a piece of whatever it is that he wants. 

Gregg nudged Ray away and he walked over to see what I had on my plate (egg and toast). I nudged Ray away and he went back to Gregg. Gregg picked up his newspaper and opened it up in front of Ray's face, between the dog and the breakfast. Ray tunneled under the newspaper with his snout so that he was looking at Gregg again. Gregg nudged him away. Ray headed back to me and laid his head on my lap. I figured I could live with it and ate my breakfast with Ray's eyebrows doing a dance on his forehead every time I picked up my toast. 

I went to check on the washing machine to see if the knitted bowls were appropriately felted and when I got back to my seat on the couch, there was Ray with my ball of yarn in his mouth, a strand of it hanging coyly over one eye. I took it from him but didn't really blame him for picking it up. It's gorgeous stuff made out of silk and merino wool; it must have good mouth-feel.

After breakfast, Gregg took off to do errands and I took Ray for a quick walk around the block. I saw little plastic ziplock baggies on the ground in front of people's driveways and stopped to look. It was a notice from a local company trying to drum up business to paint addresses on curbs in front houses. They had weighted the baggies with small amounts of gravel so that they wouldn't blow away. As we walked, I noticed a crow up on a roof, picking apart a baggie. When he realized it was just gravel he flew off leaving the gravel spilling down the roof. I wondered if he felt like Charlie Brown at Halloween. "I got a rock." 

When Gregg got back from from his errands, he changed into his running clothes and picked up Ray's leash. (This is going to be the best exercised dog, EVER). He took him for a couple miler and said that Ray ran by a guy who was also running with a dog and that Ray had paid no attention. That doesn't happen when Ray is with me. Every time he hears a voice or smells a dog, he goes bonkers. Must be an alpha male thing. 

Ray was tired for the remainder of the day, until we started cooking dinner. Then he miraculously became very interested in what we were doing. I'm sure he must have been a chef in his previous life because I could feel him critiquing the way I boiled potatoes. I told Gregg (who was making a peanut, kale, chicken, and sweet potato soup - an African recipe) to take care of the potatoes while I took Ray for a walk around the block (I'm sensing a theme here). Gregg was happy because he wanted to cut up the chicken and didn't need the extra 'help'. 

We finished making our respective recipes (Gregg was making Monday's dinner, I was making a Salad Nicoise for the current evening) and went to sit on the front porch. Todd was walking up the street with Sasha. When she got even with the house, she laid down and waited with a big grin on her face. I went to get Ray but had a tough time waking him up and getting him off of the couch. All that exercise was working beautifully. He came outside not really knowing why he was there, when all of a sudden his nose went up and he headed straight for his favorite friend. They did their usual doggie dance on the end of their leashes, having a great time for about 10 minutes. 
Hugo, being jealous by nature, came to end of the driveway to watch what was going on. I gave Ray's leash to Gregg and went to pet the big black cat. Ray was oblivious but Sasha was verrrrry interested. Todd kept a tight fist on her leash (she's a good girl, but she is a typical Husky with a high prey drive). Hugo rolled around a bit, teasing the dog, then walked back up the drive. Sasha and Ray resumed their doggie play. It's so nice that he has made a friend in the neighborhood. 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Good Dog Ray

I woke up early to let Ray out so that I could go back to bed and sleep in (does that make sense?). I had to wake Ray to get him to go outside, which is not unusual. Ray is not a morning person. He ambled over to the door and started sneezing. By the time he got outside he was coughing too. A deep hacking cough, like an old man with a couple of packs a day habit. He looked up at me and one of his eyes was all goopy. Oh, crap, I thought, this isn't good. I wondered if it was kennel cough from the doggy daycare, but knowing nothing about it, I really had no idea. Maybe he got a cold from the stress of being in a new home. I know I always get a cold from being stressed. 

I let Ray back inside, and he went right back to his bed and to sleep. I went upstairs to go back to bed too.
"Ray's sick," I said. 
"What's wrong?" asked Gregg. 
I told him and he said, "I wonder if it's from the daycare." 
"I wouldn't be at all suprised," I replied. "I sent Caleb an email and told him not to come today (he was supposed to come and start me on Ray's training). I'll call the vet when it opens." 

I crawled back into bed as Gregg got out of it and headed downstairs. I heard him feed Ray then leave the house. A little while later, I got up, went downstairs, and found both Gregg and Ray gone. I puttered around feeding cats, picking up, doing the etc. that needs to be done every day when Gregg walked in with Ray. 
"Did you guys go for a walk?" I asked. 
"Yeah, we went around the block," said Gregg. 
"How's his cough and his sneezing?" I asked.  
"He didn't cough or sneeze," replied Gregg.
"How's his goopy eye?" I asked. 
"I didn't look at his eye," said Gregg. 
I looked at Ray's eye and it was clear. I swear, he was smirking at me. 
"I think he was faking it so that I'd cancel his training." I said to Gregg. 
Gregg laughed and agreed but told me that he'd read in the morning paper that the mold count was high. 
"Maybe it's just allergies," he said. 

It was too late to call Caleb so we decided to just go ahead and use the trainer that I had made an appointment with on Wednesday. Ray had arranged a four day reprieve for himself. (He is a smart dog.)

We decided to hit a couple of estate sales and locked Ray in the kitchen, being careful to push things to the backs of the counters before we left. When we returned there were no problems. Just a good dog waiting patiently at his doggie gate. 

Gregg went off to do the grocery shopping and I tied on my cross trainers, snapped on Ray's leash and off we went for a couple mile walk.  Ray was sluggish but the weather was wet and steamy and not really pleasant for walking so I was sympathetic. When we reached the street we usually turn up to head home, Ray was rather insistent that we continue on. I was kind of surprised because, up until this point, he seemed more interested in finding a nice soft couch to sleep on. 
There is a small park across the street and I thought perhaps there had been a fox, or some deer, or some other animal through it recently and maybe Ray had caught the scent. So I took him across the street towards the park.  Ray was really pulling at the leash. I followed along at a brisk pace looking through the trees to the park to see what had caught his interest. Nothing. Ray was still pulling, past the park, trying to run and drag me with him. It was then that I caught the scent myself. Barbeque. It smelled really, really good...

Ray, after his two-miler

Later that day, Gregg and I went to an Indian grocery that had recently opened. We decided to leave Ray alone in the house without the doggie gate this time. I looked around to see if there was anything plastic within chewing distance (Ray has an affinity for plastic), didn't see anything, so we left. 

I have to admit I was a bit nervous when we arrived back home. We walked quickly to the door and I peeked in the side windows to see....nothing. Just a good dog waiting for us to get back home. 

Despite the fact that it was five minutes past cocktail hour, I grabbed Ray's leash and told Gregg that I would take him for a quick walk around the block.  The weather had changed drastically from the morning. It was clear, hot, and dry with a nice breeze. This time Ray wanted to run. I kept up as best I could. 
"If the weather is like this tomorrow, please take him running with you. He really wanted to go this evening" I told Gregg when we got home 
Gregg was agreeable. 

When we finished eating dinner, Ray came over to investigate the empty plates. I pushed him away and told him no. He obligingly walked away to the end of couch, put his two front feet on it and stretched way out towards me, in the process laying down, his back legs still on the floor. He put his head down on his front paws and made big, googly, doggie eyes at me. I laughed and scratched his head. Ray smiled and went to sleep, his back legs still on the floor, his front end on the couch, just like an overtired little kid that falls asleep right in the middle of doing something. One minute they're active, the next minute they're OUT. I woke up Ray and led him to his bed. He sank into it and fell asleep instantly. He is such a GOOD dog. 

Half-on the couch and fast asleep
Moonie came halfway downstairs while Ray was sleeping. I picked her up and put her on the couch with us. She purred and purred and purred and got what we refer to as "big black rhino lip." When Moonie is really happy, her bottom lip (which is black) droops like a black rhino's. I think both Gregg and I were rhino-ing a bit ourselves to have one of our cats back with us.

Friday, June 19, 2009

End of Week One

Gregg was up early (0600). He fed Ray and let him out to do his business. Ray is a great dog in that he doesn't like to go to the bathroom anywhere except in his own backyard. It appears that he chooses a different spot each day and goes to that spot all day long. When I go out to clean up, I have to search for the day's designated poop-spot. When I find it, it's like hitting the mother lode. 

I didn't have to go to work, so after Gregg took off, I sat down for a quiet morning of knitting. Ray settled down on the couch next to me but only after he had tried to sit in my lap, (I was trying to be supportive, but really, my lap just isn't that big), raided the yarn bag, and tried to walk off with a skein of yarn. I took the skein away from him. He picked a knitted bowl off of the coffee table, scattered the contents, and tried to carry it away. I took it away from him. Usually he only tries to get away with something like that once (a day - he might try again tomorrow). 

Unlike the cats, Ray has a real love of yarn. My cats never bother the yarn or the knitting, although Hugo likes to bite the ends of knitting needles. Not the bamboo needles like one would expect, but the metal ones. He likes anything metal. One of the first things that Ray did when he walked through our front door last week was raid my knitting bag for a ball of yarn. I thought it was because it had possum fur in it, but Ray seems to like all yarn and has a special affinity for the knitted bowls. I can't blame him. I like yarn and the knitted bowls too. I'd love to make him a toy out of yarn but, boy, wouldn't that be starting down a slippery slope...

As I sat and knitted, a chipmunk came up to the sliding glass door. It was obvious that Hugo hadn't been out much lately. Usually, if we see a chipmunk around, it's dead munk walking. 

Gregg needed some things dropped at the dry cleaners so I got dressed in my training clothes, jammed Gregg's shirts into a backpack, clipped Ray to his leash and we started out. It's only about a mile to the cleaners and Ray wasn't going to daycare so I thought I'd get him started off on the right paw with a two mile (or so) round trip. 

It was a really beautiful morning, 74 degrees and not much humidity. I tried to get Ray to practice his heeling but, truthfully neither one of us was really into it. When we got to the busy street where the cleaners is located, Ray and I both felt a little nervous. Cars were whizzing by at high speed and although there was plenty of room between the street and sidewalk neither one of us liked the sound of cars approaching us from behind. I kept Ray on a short leash and he seemed perfectly satisfied to stay at heel. We reached the shopping plaza without incident, but decided not to go that route again. 

We stopped by the Karate school next to the dry cleaners to visit my old instructor (I use the term loosely, Mr. Jason MIGHT be 30, but I doubt it.) Summer day camp had started and a couple of little girls came out to see Ray. He did his usual wrist grab to see who they were then flopped over on his side. He was a little worn out. The little girls rubbed his belly and talked sweet talk. Ray was falling asleep so I pulled him to his feet, I didn't want to have to carry him home. 

We dropped the dry cleaning and headed home. Ray has already figured out curbs. For the first few days when I would take him for walk, Ray would trip whenever he had to go down or up a curb. Now when we get near one, he picks his feet up really high and does a kind of marching band walk. I can't figure out how he knows they are there. He's a very smart dog. 

As we neared our block, I saw Todd and Sasha on the corner. Sasha immediately lay down facing us, her tail wagging and ears pointed forward. Ray couldn't see her but as we got closer I could tell he knew she was there and got really excited. Sasha was beside herself. Todd still isn't comfortable letting Sasha play with Ray, he's afraid she is going to hurt the blind dog, but I'm convinced that Ray can hold his own. 

I turned Ray loose in the backyard and went in to shower. When I came downstairs, Ray was waiting at the sliding glass door with a rawhide chew in his mouth. It was one that they had given him at the vet's earlier in the week, and he had taken it out and buried it. I hadn't seen it since Tuesday. It was flaccid from all the rain; muddy and disgusting. It was supposed to be good for his teeth but in it's present condition, I had my doubts. 
Ray headed for the couch (newly reupholstered) shaking his head and slapping himself in the face with the nasty thing. I tried to head him to his dog bed but he dodged me, went around the opposite end of the coffee table and tried to get up on the other end of the couch. I slowly walked up to him  and gingerly removed the chew from his mouth. (ewwwwwww). I took it to his bed, placed it there and tried to coax him over. He picked up the chew and headed back to the couch. I took it and put it on a piece of newspaper and left it on the floor. He picked it up and headed back to the couch. I took it and threw it outside.  The end.

Gregg arrived home late and we sat on the front porch with our next door neighbor, Kirsten. Ray was in the backyard whining the whole time.
"I signed up to follow Ray's blog," she said, "I found it really funny that it said 'You are now following Ray the Blind Dog,' like some kind of cult or something. I was thinking of having a t-shirt made up that says 'I follow Ray the Blind Dog.'" 
We were all really laughing. I thought it was a great idea and told her I had some t-shirt transfers and would make one up for myself. It is quite literally true when I take him for a walk.

We went inside to order dinner and let Ray inside. He headed straight for the couch, jumped up and went to sleep. When Ray sleeps he makes sounds like an old man (not that I would know what an old man sleeping sounds like - maybe he sounds like and old man in the movies). He groans and sighs and grunts and farts. I can't imagine what he will sound like when he's an OLD dog. I had thrown an old blanket over the couch and although I could tell that Ray doesn't like it (he tries to paw it off the couch), it doesn't stop him from falling instantly asleep.
"Let's get him off the couch," I said to Gregg.
We each grabbed two corners of the blanket, picked him up hammock style, and moved him to his bed. He never batted an eyelash. That is one relaxed dog. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ray goes to Camp

I woke up tired and missing the cats. I stayed in bed a little longer than usual, petting Hugo and gearing up to go back to work. I dragged myself downstairs and saw Ray curled up on his bed. Gregg had already fed him and let him out and was sitting, finishing up his own breakfast. 
"How ya feelin' today?" I asked. 
"Tired," he replied. 
Must be going around, I thought. 
It was raining. Again. I didn't know how the ground could hold any more water. 

I ate a bowl of cereal then walked upstairs to give the cats the leftover milk. I sat on the floor of the cat room (we used to call it the guest room but it's more accurately called the cat room now) and picked up two brushes. The cats sat about five feet apart, and I was in the middle. I leaned to the right and brushed Moonie a stroke then leaned to the left and brushed Hugo a stroke. Cat yoga, I thought. Between Ray giving me interval training and the cats giving me a yoga workout, I should be the healthiest person around. By the time I was done brushing, we were all purring. 

I changed into my dog jogging clothes and went down and snapped the leash on Ray. I figured since I'd be sitting at a desk all day, I'd take Ray for a slightly longer walk than usual. We went about a mile. I was trying to get Ray to heel, he was trying to get me to jog faster during the intervals. I brought him back and got ready for work. My pants were loose. (Note to Self - next writing project "Ray the Blind Dog Weight Loss Program.")

I packed Ray and one of his tug-of-war toys into the car and we headed to the doggie daycare that we'd checked out the previous day. There were two staff members, neither of which had been there the day before. I explained the situation and turned Ray over to the young woman working the dog enclosure. I looked around at the dogs and didn't see Mary the timid Westie or Porkchop, the young Mastiff mix, I only recognized Bear, the Schnauzer. He was the biggest one there. When they put Ray in the enclosure, he was immediately swarmed by seven or eight LITTLE dogs and the vision of Gulliver surrounded by Lilliputians flashed through my head. The hairdryer, or some other kind of equipment was blasting in the background but Ray seemed to take it alright. He appeared to be briefly overwhelmed by the little dogs (it lasted about 30 seconds), then he opened his mouth wide like he was going to bark, gave a head toss and joined the fray. Seven to one, I figured, he was evenly matched. I watched him for 10 minutes or so just to make sure that everything was ok then left for work.  

When I returned in the afternoon, everything was quiet.
"I'm here for Ray," I said. All hell broke loose. 
The dogs had multiplied and gotten bigger. It must have been naptime when I walked in but that, apparently, was over. The young man that had been there in the morning, rounded up Ray and herded him out of the enclosure. 
"He's kinda tired," he said. 
I asked him how Ray had done and if he had made any friends. 
"Well, he had a really  good time with Porkchop," he said grinning. 
"Oh, yeah," I replied, "Ray realllly liked Porkchop yesterday too." 

Ray was pretty worn out when he got home. I took him for a walk around the block and let him loose in the backyard. Hugo was sitting on the sill of the backdoor waiting to be let in. When he saw Ray he scooted out of the way but didn't run for the hills. Ray snuffled around a bit and every time he got close to Hugo, I made a noise to discourage him. Hugo was watching Ray, his kitty brain processing the fact that Ray wasn't going for him. I hooked Ray back up to the leash, led him to the front door, and let him in the house. Hugo was once again sitting on the backdoor sill waiting for entry.
I slid open the glass door and let the cat in just as Ray followed me into the kitchen. Hugo stopped dead and watched as Ray turned around, went back into the living room, and collapsed into his bed with a sigh. Using his sneak-walk and keeping a close eye on Ray, Hugo crept to the stairs. It had a been a long day and it wasn't even 5:00.

Half an hour later, Ray was pacing, waiting to be fed. I fed him then took a can of cat food from the pantry and headed upstairs to feed the cats. By the time I got back downstairs Ray had ripped a small hole in a plastic bag of Great Northern beans and was chewing one like a piece of gum. I grabbed the bag and closed the pantry door. (Second Note to Self - NEVER leave the pantry door open for even a minute).

By 6:30, Ray was totally SACKED on the couch. Hugo came downstairs and keeping a wary eye on the comatose dog, joined us in the kitchen while we were cooking. I opened a bag of croutons to throw on the salad and Ray, who apparently associates plastic ziplocks with dog treats got up off of the couch and came to investigate (how can he hear this but can't hear someone dropping a pot lid?). Hugo nervously stood his ground. I gently nudged Ray towards his dog bed where he collapsed in a heap. 
Hugo followed us to the family room which is where we eat our dinner. He hissed at Ray as he passed the soundly-sleeping dog, but Ray didn't twitch an eyelid. Hugo spent the next hour with us but could not relax. Finally, unable to take the suspense, he sloooooowwwwwly crept past the dog bed and headed up the stairs to safety.