Friday, February 26, 2010

NOT a Vegetarian

Ray has a thing about vegetables. He HATES them. I have tried and tried to get a photo of Ray when presented with a vegetable but I just can't capture the look of sheer disgust on his face. I hand him a bean, (he's too polite to refuse it), he curls his lips back so that they don't touch the offensive vegetal matter, and takes it gingerly in his teeth. With the bean extending from his teeth like a stubby cigarette, Ray tiptoes from the kitchen (like I won't notice) and drops the icky thing in the front hall. It is truly the funniest thing. 

Having said that, I thought I was safe yesterday, when I removed some tiny bags of tiny carrots (the kind you put in a lunchbox) and a bag of spinach from the refrigerator and put them on the counter in preparation for making soup. I went upstairs briefly, heard some odd noise coming from downstairs and called, "Ray! Ray!" When there was no response, I descended the stair. There was Ray in the front hall (he owns this area), tearing into one of the tiny bags of tiny carrots. There were carrots scattered everywhere. He must have swung his head after ripping open the bag, making a lovely, orange, eight-foot crescent moon on the rug. 
I removed the bag from his teeth, collected the carrots, then offered him one (Yeah, I know I shouldn't have but I just had to see if this was vegetable that he actually liked). Ray curled his lips back, took the carrot gingerly in his teeth, and dropped in on the rug in the front hall. Definitely NOT a vegetarian.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Link to Snow

Halle's grandma, an extremely creative sort of person, made a photo montage of the big snow we had around here. It features lots and lots of snow, some pics of Halle in her fashionable bee outfit and a shot of Ray. If you want to feel good about not having snow this is the video for you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just another Ray Day

The day started out good for Ray. Moonie came downstairs and wanted the milk remaining in my cereal bowl. I put the bowl on the arm of the couch. Moonie stepped over to lap up the milk but instead knocked the bowl off the couch and onto the floor. Ray, who had been peacefully sleeping by my side, lifted his head to "see" what was going on. Moonie, as usual, evaporated into thin air the second she realized that the dog was awake. At the smell and sound of food hitting the floor, Ray climbed off of the couch to investigate. After watching him for five minutes or so, I decided that if I didn't clean the spot, Ray was going to lick a hole in the rug.
So I scrubbed at the place with a little water then placed my knitting box in front of the table under which the milk had spilled. As you can see, Ray was not deterred.

After breakfast we headed to the dogpark. Ray met up with his old friend Nikki (I use the term loosely, Nikki isn't a year old yet and Ray is only a year and a half). By happy coincidence, someone had left in the snow a hard rubber toy with a large bell in the middle. Ray likes toys that make noise (for obvious reasons) and a lively game of keepaway ensued. Usually Ray can't follow Nikki that closely but the bell made all the difference. He stayed right on her tail (pun alert!) and Nikki was kind enough not to run too fast so that Ray didn't lose her.

Nikki's favorite position, on her back getting her neck chewed.

Nikki with the toy in her mouth, being tailed by Ray.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Random Photos

The backyard. The path that I dug for Ray has completely melted where the sun hits it and he is lying, in this photo, just to the right of the bird bath, trying to get some sun.

Gregg trying to shovel out the mailbox last weekend

I saw this crocus getting ready to bloom just before the big storm. Looks like it made it.

Ray found a better place to sleep than the
path. But even here the ground was a bit too wet and cold. He came back in the house after about 10 minutes.

Ray in a Pickle (part 2)

The last few weekends, after a chilly walk, Ray would come home and search the house for a sunny spot to take a nap. We have three bedrooms that face the sun. The cats occupy one, my office/studio is in the second and the third is the master bedroom. I was in my office working on the computer when Ray came wandering in. I should probably explain that my "office/studio" is a tiny little room jammed full of crap. Two 6' high bookcases, a multi-level workspace/desk, three chairs (mine, the cats, and a wooden chair that I use at my sewing machine), three sewing machines, a three drawer component for office supplies, a drafting table (that is currently disassembled and lying against the wall), a sewing basket (I mention it because it is takes up floor space and is rather substantial in size), and bins and bins and bins full of yarn. There is also a bowl of water, a scratchy pad and a windowsill shelf for the cats. Ray likes the convenience of the waterbowl and finds the scratchy pad and windowsill shelf very interesting smelling. It's about as close as he ever gets to actually smelling a cat up close.
Ray has leaned to enter this room a bit tentatively because nothing is ever in the same place twice. He bumps into chairs and bins, gets hissed at by Hugo, gets tangled in computer cords, it's a very confusing room. But today Ray wanted SUN and he knew it was in there somewhere.
He slowly meandered in and made his way to the corner of the room where the sun was streaming in. There was no place to lay on the floor so he climbed up on top of a bin of yarn and stood where the sun could hit his head. After a minute he realized that it wasn't a particularly comfortable spot and he wanted out. Then he realized that he didn't know how to get off of the bin of yarn. It was just high enough off of the ground, that when he reached out a paw all he hit was air. He stood, whining. I tried to coax him off with sweet talk. Ray TRIED to get off the bin but he was scared. He turned around to see if maybe it was lower on the other side but it wasn't. He whined some more then put a paw out again, his weight shifted just enough for the bin to flip him off and onto the floor. Ray was relieved. I led him out of the office and into our bedroom where I opened the blinds to let the sun in. Ray hopped up onto our bed to lay in the sunny spot. I turned a blind eye and returned to my computer.

Back to the Park

The project I've been working on at work is finally over. I'm looking forward to a little at home time before the next one starts. Ray has been spending long days at daycare and, although he loves it, he comes home so tired that our interaction has been reduced to quick games of keep-away around the coffee table in the morning and evening, and car rides to and from Just Fur Pets. 
The snow we had a couple of weeks ago is slowly starting to melt. There are still huge mountains of it where it was plowed off of streets and parking lots but the yard is down to about a foot of coverage. So, as a way of easing back into our old routine, yesterday I took him to the dog park for an hour. 
Ray was ecstatic to be back. Some of his Saturday friends were there: Ellie Mae, the chubby bloodhound; Chief, the 145 pound Great Dane; Sheba, the old-lady dog that Ray adores (Ray has a thing for old females - they won't give him the time of day though); and one of his good friends from the hard-core group that we used to see everyday, Nikki, an indeterminate mix of some really high-energy dogs. Nikki was thrilled to see him and tried her usual ploy of running underneath him and grabbing his face from below. Ray gave her a quick lick but he was there to run. He did a quick meet-and-greet with everybody then took off after a pack of four or five dogs that I didn't recognize.
Like our yard, the ground was still covered with about a foot of snow but it was uneven and craggy from where the dog's feet had sunk in. Ray was looking particularly spastic as he ran around, yelling, following his group. He couldn't see the terrain and his footing was uncertain. I worried that he was going to pull a muscle or wrench something but he was having a great time so I stood by and chatted with the parents while our kids ran around. 
Chief was being particularly boisterous, bounding around from person to person, then tearing around. Then back to the people. "He's really fast!" I said to his owner. "Yeah," he replied, "Problem is he can't stop. I was out shoveling snow and stopped to talk to a group of neighbors. There were five of us and Chief came running up, tried to stop and couldn't. He  slid into us sideways. We all went down like bowling pins." Chief is a BIG dog. (My mind boggled as I thought of Giant George, the worlds biggest dog, a 245 pound Great Dane doing something similar. I'm sure he could easily take out the full compliment of bowling-pin-people. I found myself thinking that it's a really good thing he lives in a warm climate. If you're curious, check him out on the following links.)
Ray came home with me reluctantly. I had to bribe him with treats to get him to leave. When we got home, I sat down on the couch to read the paper. Ray came over to join me. Usually he just curls into a little ball beside me. This time he climbed up, planted his butt on my lap, braced his front feet against the arm of the couch (kind of like he did to Gregg in the video), and leaned his full weight against my chest. Then he turned his head, laid it over my shoulder and let out a deep sigh. Contentment? Sadness? Exhaustion? Who knows what goes through the mind of a blind hound. I sat there for a long time stroking my dog, wondering how in the world I ever got along without him.  

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thanks for the Votes!

Ray would like to thank everyone that voted for him and to let them know that he is going to donate $10 for every vote that he received to his favorite charities. He decided to split the amount between the two mentioned in our last blog.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Please Vote for Ray

MVP Pet Photo Contest sponsored by BISSELL, maker of pet vacuum cleaners.Being the civic minded dog that he is, Ray decided that he wanted to be entered into this contest so that he can win money for his favorite charity. If he wins he is going to donate his money to either Rolling Dog Ranch or SQ Rescue
(he hasn't decided yet).
So, if you feel like it, vote for Ray. Voting starts tomorrow for this round. Just click on the green button, it should take you right to his photo. If it doesn't, click on this link his entry number is 0606192.

DUCK! and then Bee

The blizzard is over. The new day dawns sunny, windy, and cold. Gregg, Ray, and I settle ourselves in front of the TV to watch the news. We haven't seen a newspaper since last Friday (we're the old fashioned types, we like our news on paper). The Federal Government is closed and the streets in our neighborhood have yet to see a plow.
When I finally get up it's about 10:30. There's no hurry. I wander upstairs to get ready to take Ray for our morning constitutional. Ray follows me to the bathroom and waits in the doorway while I pick up my toothbrush and start to clean my teeth. I bend over to spit. When I straighten up, I see reflected in the mirror, my bra hanging on a hook behind me, stretched to alarming proportions. Ray has grabbed one of the straps and is trying to back out of the bathroom. The bra is stretched at least 5 feet. I turn around to stop him just as he lets fly. The bra zips through the air and smacks into the shower door behind me, missing my head by inches. I laughed 'till I cried then picked up the bra and put it on. It was nice and roomy.
Gregg decided to join us for our snowy stroll. The wind was whipping but the sun felt good. We headed off, talking to neighbors and strangers as we went. Ray, as usual, was having a great time. Any day he gets to meet people is a good day. It gets even better for him when he meets up with his favorite girl, Halle, the fashion model, sporting the latest in outerwear for Greyhounds.

Halle Greeting her Favorite Boyfriend

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ray the Sled Dog

Holy Moly are we getting it today! Sideways snow.
I took the blind dog to daycare yesterday because I knew it was coming (I also had to go to work but that's beside the point). Thank God there was a Boxer for Ray to play with. As they said at the daycare "Boxers are crazy." And Ray loves crazy. He had a great time and came home energized. But after a short game of keep away he was ready for bed.
Ray slept in this morning but I knew it couldn't last. He started to get into things around 10:00. It started with my bathroom rug. He slammed open the bathroom door while I was "occupied," (I gotta get that latch fixed) grabbed it out from under my feet and backed out the door. He moved downstairs and picked up one of the shoes that was in the pile next to the front door. It was Gregg's (a used one this time - not a brand new one), which I quickly removed from his Orca teeth. Then on to the kitchen and into the trash can. I picked it up and put it in the bathroom and closed the door. Then onto the kitchen counter where he grabbed a bag of stale stollen that I had crumbled up and left on the counter briefly while I went to get birdseed before heading out to the birdfeeder. (I'm waiting to see if the few raisins that were in the stollen are going to cause him problems.)
After the stollen Gregg decided that, if we had to take Ray to the vet, he (Gregg not Ray) better get shoveling, so he headed out. I wanted to help but knew that I couldn't leave Ray alone in the house. I decided to take him for a walk in the blizzard. My dog is not a wuss.
Ray helped me get dressed for the elements. He knows that when I get dressed, (if I'm not dressing for work - don't ask me how he knows, but he does) we're going out - so he helps. He nibbles my pants, my socks, and my shoes while I'm putting them on. This time he also nibbled my long johns and mittens. I hooked him up to his leash and we went out.
We headed down the street, the wind whipped the hood off of my head and I turned my back to the wind while I snugged the strings around my neck. Ray was facing into the wind, his nose up sniffing the air, undeterred by the cold, wind, and snow. We made it down the cul-de-sac and around the corner.
The streets still haven't been plowed from the storm last week but people have SUVed it enough that Gregg and I were able to get out of the 'hood yesterday. Today the streets were invisible. Ray and I used the cars parked along the curb as breadcrumbs to show us our path. We turned the next corner, a hill was before us. Ray was pulling me along. I made him stop, and switched the leash from his training collar (a martingale collar) to his regular collar. "MUSH!" I yelled. Ray dragged me up the hill at a run. I was jogging behind him, plowing through the snow, my 10 pound boots weighing me down. "Whoa!" I yelled when we got half way up the hill. I stood trying to catch my breath. But Ray was ready to go again. "MUSH!" Ray rocketed off again. I was doing my best to keep up. He got me to the top of the hill, to the end of the street, to home. I brought him in through the garage and wiped him down with a towel, he was warm to the touch. I turned him lose in the house, gave him a marrow bone and headed outside to help Gregg finish the shoveling. I was proud of my hound and knew that if Ray had just a bit more fur (and could see), he would have made a GREAT sled dog.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

VIDEO ALERT! - Short Attention Span Dog

I've been having a tough time keeping Ray ocupado indoors while we've had a major influx of snow outdoors. Yesterday we went through every toy in his toybox in about 5 minutes. So I brought out the big guns. The Remote Control Cat.
The Remote Control Cat is a totally cool cat toy that my sis-in-law, Angela (Hey, Ang!) bought for Moonie and Hugo last Christmas. Remote Control Cat has a flexible rod (removable) with a dangly mouse attached to it that extends from RCC's back. The flexible rod moves randomly and dangles the mousie for the cats to play with. It also has wheels so that you can remotely move the cat from room to room or around in a circle, or whatever. Hugo likes to play with the dangly mousie but is afraid of the cat when it moves (Hugo is afraid of EVERYTHING). Moonie watches with the jaundiced eye of someone not easily fooled. Ray is an entirely different story. This video was cut to three minutes from about twelve minutes. Remote Control Cat kept Ray occupied for about 1/50th of his waking hours. Let's hear it for Remote Control Cat!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ray gets Cabin Fever

Well. It's Official. Ray is SICK of the snow. He is pacing the house and whining. And pacing. And whining. He has stuck his head in the kitchen trashcan every 30 seconds all day long. He is relentlessly counter surfing. He is bored with all of his toys and has worn me out playing keep away with his bone. He is only happy when we are outside taking walks and, unfortunately, it is truly treacherous around here. And the bad news is we're expecting more snow tomorrow. First they were predicting 3 - 6 inches, then 8 - 10, and now its 10 - 20 inches more. What's a mother to do.
The good news is, Ray has a new friend. A big, 2 year-old yellow lab by the name of Ike, has arrived at a house down-the-street-and-around-the-corner. It was best-friends at first sight. Ike outweighs Ray by 15 or 20 pounds and is a bit taller, but I think they are pretty well matched in exuberance. I'm hoping to set up play dates for the dogs in the near future.
For now though, we are SNOWBOUND. No snowplows in sight.


oh man this sucks....

cold, cold, cold, cold

Shadow Picture - WINTER

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hello from the North Pole!

Well, it's been a busy day here at the north pole. We woke up to a couple feet of snow. I let Ray out and he gamely forged a path to the absolute farthest part of the yard to pee. I gave him breakfast and headed to the couch (if I go back upstairs he whines and wakes everybody (Gregg) up). Ray came in and, as usual, curled up on my feet.
We dozed for another hour or so before we got up and ate breakfast (my first, his second). Our Saturday ritual of scrambled eggies.
Ray Snoozing on My Feet

Gregg and I didn't bother going outside until about 11:00. I headed out back to shovel off the patio a bit and dig a path for Ray, while Gregg started on the driveway. Ray joined me in the backyard.
Ray's Backyard
He loves it when anyone visits him in his domain. He did the spastic cannonball a few times, then grabbed the tip of one of my gloved fingers and snatched the glove off of my hand, slap,slap,slapping it across his face to kill it.
I was laughing and trying to keep him from slamming into the snow shovel. Ray explored for about half an hour while I dug a random path around the backyard. Then he was ready to go inside and get warm. I let him in and gave him a pacifier (frozen marrow bone) to keep him occupied while Gregg and I shoveled. Thank God our neighbor lent us a snowblower or we'd still be out there.
Maddie's mom, Sandra, took these photos of Gregg and me, and Ray visiting the neighbors.


Ray Visits his Neighbor, Kate

Ray and Gregg take the last walk for the day

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary

If you haven't yet, make sure that you check out the Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary website at Ray wants me to remind you to vote for them in the Animal Rescue Site $100,000 Shelter Challenge so that they can win some money for all of their animals.