Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Rude Awakening

This morning Ray was scratching at the kitchen door at 4:08 a.m. I didn't even grab my robe, I just sprinted down the stairs to let him out before he woke up Gregg. Ray trotted out the back door and headed for the fence.
"Aarrrrrroooooooo. Aarrrrrroooooooooo." Ray yelled at the top of his lungs. It sounded like the blast of a foghorn, only louder since there was no competing noise from birds, lawn mowers, or string trimmers. I slipped on my flip flops and ran outside. It was warm and steamy and there wasn't a peep of noise. "Aaaarrrrrrooooooooo." I clapped my hands and said sharply, "NO. Ray, COME." Ray stopped briefly and looked at me then paced a bit at the fence. "Aaaaarrrrroooooo." I clapped my hands again, "Ray, NO." I started toward him and Ray took off across the yard and stopped at a bush to pee then came trotting back, "looking" around him. I waited, on alert, as he headed towards me, ready to grab his collar and drag him in the house at the first hint of an aaarrrroooo.
Ray, apparently satisfied that whatever-it-was was gone, came and we entered the kitchen together.
I let him follow me upstairs, threw his scratchy blankie on the foot of the bed and went back to bed. [Usually when he wakes me up early, I just sack out on the couch with Ray on my feet so that he doesn't scratch the kitchen door down (once he knows I'm "awake," he's relentless)]. It wasn't even 4:30 and I wanted to go back to sleep. Ray came into the room, jumped up on the foot of the bed and settled into a ball on his blankie. He raised his head briefly and growled, I sat up and put my hand on him - usually his growls are followed by a single, deep, menacing bark. He laid down again and went to sleep.
I woke up at 7:00 to a strange noise; no dog was on the bed. I rolled out of bed and stumbled into the hallway, I was groggy from oversleep, and saw Ray shredding a brown paper bag. He was happy that I had gotten up to join him in his game. I went to grab my robe and saw Gregg laying sideways on the bed, his legs dangling off the side. He had woken up at the noise, sat on the side of the bed, then briefly laid back down for a nap. "What was that noise?" he asked, still half asleep. "Ray was shredding a bag," I replied.
I headed downstairs followed my my faithful hound. I fed him and made coffee. Gregg came down and settled in with the paper. I sat sipping my coffee, thinking of the morning's events. I wondered how many neighbors Ray had disturbed. Should I make some flyers apologizing for the rude awakening and put them on my neighbor's doors? How many blocks would I have to cover. At least our cul-de-sac and the street behind us and the one across from that mind boggled. I had a nagging feeling that I shouldn't have let Ray sleep on the foot of our bed. I should have just slept on the couch with the dog as usual. To prove that I was right, Ray walked over to his bed where some of the velcro had come undone and started shredding the hi-density foam stuffing. I could just see what he was thinking... "Guess I won't be needing THIS anymore."

Friday, May 28, 2010

So, The Blog Dies...

...or not. Well, even though Ray has only five, wonderful, diehard fans (eight if you count my mom and my two sisters), we have decided to continue his blog for a while longer. The decision was reached when the payment came due to re-up his blog site. It didn't feel quite right to let it lapse yet. So for those of you who wrote in requesting us to keep posting, thank you for following Ray the Blind Dog.

Here are some photos just for you, loyal five. This is Ray, sporting his new Hawaiian print summer collar, trying to find a comfortable way to sleep while riding shotgun on his way home from the dogpark this morning.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mmmmmm Goood

The other day, Gregg and I were in the living room reading the paper and drinking our tea and coffee (respectively) when Ray ambled into the room, sniffing. He went over to the table next to Gregg's chair, laid down and jammed his head under the table. "Whatcha smell, Ray?" I asked. I got to my feet and went over to have a look but didn't see anything. Ray got up and wandered away then came back and did the same thing. This time I got up and moved the table to see what had captivated Ray's interest. There was a daddy-longlegs-kind-of-thingy on the floor, it's legs curled up into the signature dead-bug posture. Probably the same one that had been pinging into the window a few days before which had made Ray dance on his back legs trying to catch it. At the time, I thought maybe Ray had heard buzzing or the ticking noise the bug made whenever it hit the window. Now I realized that it was more likely that Ray had smelled the thing as it flew its crazy path around the room.
Now that the table was out of Ray's way, he was able to do what he wanted to all along. He ate the bug.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just Another Ray Day

Yesterday was an all Ray day, both directly and indirectly. We went to the dog park then came home and I cleaned my car. How does that relate to Ray? Well, every nanometer of my car was covered in dog park dust and dog slobber. It took me four hours to just clean the inside. It occurred to me last weekend when someone actually had to sit in the back seat, that my car was disgusting and I hadn't cleaned it since I adopted Ray last June. My car never really got dirty before. I mean, how much dirt does one person generate driving to-and-fro to work on an irregular basis.
So I left Ray in the house with the back door open and spent a large part of my day in the driveway. Occasionally, I would pop back in the house to throw in a load of laundry. I was washing dog bedding and dog blankets (the ones I use to throw over furniture and the back seat of my car), and dog towels. And I would check on Ray who was sleeping in Gregg's chair.
At the end of four hours, Ray was up. I walked into the house to see muddy footprints on the carpet in the front hall and clods of mud scattered around. Ray was standing in the living room with a giant pig ear in his mouth, a grin on his face, and his tail wagging like mad. It was freshly dug up and after being a good boy for so long, he was ready for a game of keepaway. It was obvious that the mud clods scattered in the front hall were from him trying to kill his pig ear (by madly slapping his face with it) after unearthing it. I chased him outside, "trying" to grab his pig ear (you couldn't pay me to actually touch the thing. Even when we were at the store, Ray shoplifted it and I bought it for him because I didn't want to touch it to take it away. We drove home from the pet store with Ray's head hanging out the window, the pig ear dangling out of his mouth and me hoping that he'd drop it on the road somewhere.) After a quick game of keepaway, I returned to the front hall to clean the muddy footprints and pick up clods of dirt before vacuuming.
By the time all that was done it was time for Ray's afternoon walk. We were half way 'round the block when we met up with Ray's youngest girlfriend, Roxie. Last summer, she had been a 4 pound puppy with a thing for older, blind dogs. Now she was a whopping 12 pounds and as tall as Ray's ankle, still carrying a torch for the coonhound. She jumped up, trying to give him kisses but Ray just turned his head away in embarrassment. He likes some age on his women.
When we got home, I fed Ray and the cats then started getting stuff ready for dinner. Ray finished eating then ran to the front door and started yelling. I looked out to see his friend, Ike, tearing down the street. I slipped on my flipflops and headed for the back gate, calling, "IKE! IKE!" Ike turned and dashed into the backyard. He and Ray were ripping around, Ike bodyslamming Ray and rolling him over, then both frantically wrestling. Mayhem ensued while I went to the gate to see if anyone was looking for Ike. I saw Ike's mom slowly cruising down the street, concernedly peering this way and that out the window. I called and waved to her. She pulled into the driveway and got out of the car carrying Ike's leash. We rounded up Ray's friend and he left with longing looks back at his boyfriend. Ray walked into the kitchen and collapsed on the floor, panting.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Attention Ray's Fans

We're approaching the anniversary of Ray's first year with us and I'm thinking of retiring the blog.
So IF you want the blog to continue, please let me know. Just leave a comment in the comment box. If enough people are interested I'll keep writing if I can find something to write about.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Pavarotti of Hounds

At the dog park, today, was a Redbone Coonhound. I'd never seen one before, and it was beautiful. We've met Bluetick Coonhounds, Bloodhounds, Beagles, Foxhounds, Black and Tan Coonhounds, Basset Hounds, and now a Redbone. I've heard them all yell and I have to say, when it comes to yelling, Ray blows them all out of the water. I don't know if they were trying to breed a hound dog that could yell louder than any other dog on the face of the earth, but I think they did it with him. He has an AMAZING voice. He is the Pavarotti of hounds. He makes all other hounds seem like Justin Bieber. I found myself thinking that if I were a raccoon in a tree and had a pack of Ray's under me, no hunter would be necessary. I would die of a heart attack. Maybe that's what they were trying to do when they bred Ray, save money on bullets. There was just that one teeny, tiny problem....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Top Fives

When I'm out and about with Ray, I tend to get asked the same questions over and over again. I don't mind because, like everyone else, I love to talk about my dog. But I started thinking about some of the usual and unusual questions that I've had about him. So here are two lists, the top five questions that I get asked about Ray and the top five weirdest questions that I've had about Ray,

Top Five Questions People Ask About Ray
  1. "What kind of dog is that?" or "What kind of hound is that?"
  2. "Is he TOTALLY blind?" (in the interests of full disclosure, I always give the long answer. Fully detached retina in one eye, mostly detached retina in the other. The one that is still attached in one spot is deformed. Judging from what I've seen at home and at the dog park, Ray can see dark shapes best, especially if they are moving and if they don't get any farther than 4 or 5 feet from him. If they aren't moving or get too far away, he doesn't do so well.)
  3. "Has he ALWAYS been blind?" (this one gets an "awwwww" or a "well, at least he doesn't know any better." I reply to the latter, "That's right, he doesn't know he's blind and we don't tell him."
  4. "How old is he?" (the answer to this one always gets an "awwwww," when they find out that he's a young dog and not an old geez that has gone blind. In my estimation the old dog that's going blind is a sadder case because they don't know what's happening to them.)
  5. "Does he make that noise at home?" (this one always gets asked with a look of horror on their faces. Thankfully, I am able to answer in the negative.)
Top Five Funniest/Weirdest Questions People have Asked About Ray
  1. "Is he NORMAL?" I blogged about this one a couple weeks ago so it is still fresh in my mind and, I think, my favorite because it seemed so random at the time. (blog link )
  2. "Does he have brain damage?" (asked by someone at the dog park who had been watching Ray run randomly around. When I told them he was blind they said "That was my second guess.)
  3. "How do you take him for a walk?" (answer: "I hook a leash to his collar, and he leads me outside and down the street." The reply, "He LEADS????? My response, "Well, I tried for the first 8 months to get him to heel but it didn't work out so well, so NOW he leads. I got tired."
  4. "Does he skateboard?" (asked by someone who saw his lymph node impaired leg, noticed the swelling and thought maybe his muscles were bigger in that leg. I think they were joking.)
  5. "Do you think he's faking it?" (asked about his blindness by my friend, Joanne, when I was complaining about him finding and stealing my yarn, no matter where I put it down. She was joking, of course, but it really got me thinking....)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ray and JoJo

I haven't had much to blog about lately despite the fact that Ray was so bad one day last week that I was ready to sell him to gypsies. It was just one of those days when he wouldn't settle down even after two hours of running at the dog park and a one mile walk later in the afternoon. Every time I started to do anything, I would hear rummaging and have to check to see what he was into. The day culminated with him eating half a package of ground pork that was sitting on the counter defrosting (Ray was in the backyard playing with Sergio and William. I took the opportunity to run upstairs to feed the cats. I was gone about 10 seconds when I heard William say, "What are you DOING?" and then Sergio say, "Dude, why did you let him do that?" By the time I got downstairs, half the pork was gone. It did not agree with Ray's delicate constitution.)
But this weekend he was sweet and cute so I cancelled the gypsies and decided to keep him. Yesterday and today it was raining. But when the rain stopped this morning for a bit, I decided to run him to the dog park and see if anyone was there. None of the regulars were there but Ray had the opportunity to make a new friend named JoJo who was kind enough to let Ray maul him about.
Here are a few shots of Ray and JoJo playing and a couple of videos that were sent to me by JoJo's friend, Gail (thanks Gail!).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Oh, Ray

Ray must have slept with his mouth open last night and woke up with chapped lips because he ate my lip balm this morning. Good thing I have a backup.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hmmm, what's THIS?

One thing about Ray that I just haven't been able to figure out is why he will ignore something for 9 months, then one day randomly decide that it is something to be chomped on or played with. It's hard to dog-proof a house when I can't anticipate.
For example, I have one of those foldy knitting things that are supposed to hold a current knitting project. Mine holds knitting needles (I have LOTS of knitting needles), including a pair of custom-made rosewood knitting needles that I bartered a scarf for. (I liked them because they weren't exactly the same size which made them unique.) Well, those knitting needles sat in exactly the same spot sticking out of that foldy thing for 6 months. One day, Ray ambles over and CHOMP. Takes the end clean off (thank God I know a kind wood-worker who made me a new one.) He did the same thing with a Niddy Noddy (look it up) that I had made out of PVC. One day, amble over, CHOMP.
Today, Ray found my beading supplies. I found him with a spool of wire and a plastic tube of beads. Maybe he was thinking of spiffing up his collar or making something for his girlfriend Halle. Then he started in on the sewing machine drawer again (as seen in the video Ray is Bored). He walked off with a tiny flashlight, a spool of thread, a small brush with a squeeze thing on the end to blow dirt and thread out of the bobbin case. He chomped a board that I use for my easel. All of this stuff has been around since day one. Today it is play-worthy.
Finally, he found his favorite toy of all, a swiffer duster that I had left lying around. He settled down to rip it to shreds. I settled down to blog...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

GoD an DoG

Someone sent me the link to this video and I thought it was sweet. Enjoy. ( you might actually want to look at this one on youtube. Seems the blog format cuts off a bit.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ray Makes a Discovery

I was taking Ray to "school" on the way to work but had to swing by the post office to mail my mother's day present. The P.O. wasn't open yet but I knew I could use the automated teller and be in and out in five minutes. I opened up the car widows and the sun roof, told Ray to "stay" and zipped into the post office.
When I came back out, Ray was curled up in the drivers seat, ripping at something. I realized that I had left his "lunch" (a baggie with treats in it) on the passenger seat with his leash (am I EVER going to learn?????). He hadn't had time to eat the treats, only time enough to destroy the bag. "Oh, Ray," I said, as I grabbed his collar and made him jump out so that he could get back into the back seat, "You know you're too young to drive." I figured he was like his namesake and just wanted to take a short drive to prove that he could do it. But first he needed a snack to fortify himself for the trip.
I started off again but Ray knew those treats were still in the front. He put his front paws on the center console and tried to climb over the seat (it's a good thing we were on a back road). I kept one hand on his chest and one hand on the wheel as I drove slowly down the street. All of a sudden Ray realized that the roof was gone and the sun was shining on his head. Treats forgotten, Ray stuck his head out the sun roof. All I could think of was every T.V. show or movie I'd ever seen where the vacationer/visitor/rube has to sit hanging out of the sunroof of the limousine as it tools around Las Vegas or Los Angeles or New York (or wherever). Ray was having a great time. I wondered what it looked like from the few cars that drove by as we eased on down the road.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is He NORMAL??????

A woman was trying to enter the dog park with three little dogs hooked troika-style to one leash. Her dogs were all barking like crazy and had attracted all the dogs in the park to the gate (there were only six or seven). Mayhem ensued.
I went to grab Ray's collar to try to shut him up. Usually, it's like an off switch, the minute you put a hand on his collar he stops his noise. But because all of the other dogs were still barking, Ray was too. The woman looked at me and shouted (with a strong east european accent) over the din of dogs, "Is he normal?"
I know I must have looked confused for a moment before I shouted back, "Yes, he's normal."
I knew she couldn't possibly have had time to determine that Ray was blind. She made a motion with her hand to her throat, like someone ripping out an esophagus.
"Has he had his vocal cords cut?" she yelled.
I laughed outloud, thinking to myself that if someone had cut his vocal cords, they sure didn't do a very good job.
"No," I said, "He's a coonhound. He's SUPPOSED to sound like that."
The woman looked relieved then opened the gate to let her dogs through.

Ray and Max

Ray has a new friend at the dog park. Max is a four-month-old Boxer puppy and is just as sweet and cute as can be.
At first, Ray was his usual hound-self and yelled at the scared little guy. So I put Ray on leash. Max came over and jumped all over him, chewing on his neck and face. I took Ray off leash and he yelled. Max scurried. I put Ray on leash and Max came back to play.
Ray is realllly good with Max as long as he is on a leash. He gets a bit rough when he's off it.
Max prefers to play with dogs his own size and age until I put Ray on leash. Then Ray is the toy of choice.
Here are a few photos of Ray rolling over for Max to play with.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ray has Sweet Dreams

Last night we were watching TV. Ray was curled up at my feet, sleeping. He was snoring and dreaming when all of a sudden his tail started wagging, thumping hard against the leather couch. It was as loud as a beating drum. Not long after that, he was running, his feet and legs going, the muscles in his shoulders twitching.
I've seen him run before in his dreams but the tail wag was a new one. I found myself thinking about it most of the night. What was he so happy about? I had a few ideas:
  • Meeting his girlfriend, Halle
  • Meeting his girlfriend, Clover
  • Meeting his girlfriend, Sasha (Sash asked that she be added to this list, she was very upset that I had forgotten to include her)
  • Getting a frozen marrow bone
  • William coming to visit
Maybe all of the above all at once. I wondered if he remembered his dream when he woke up and if it still made him feel good. I sure hope so. It makes me feel good just thinking about it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Just Playing with the Mac

It's called Photo Booth. And I found that I could take four photos in quick succession. And do special effects. I thought Ray might look good in black and white. He does! (last sequence of 4)

A Word about Dog Poop

If you have a dog, there is no ignoring poop. It's there and you have to deal with it. I've been avoiding writing about it because of the subject matter. But no matter how hard I tried to avoid it, I just couldn't escape the fact that I wanted to write a word or two about poop.
If I'm working, I wait until the weekend to scoop the poops. If I'm not working, I scoop poop a couple times a week. But that's neither here nor there. Scooping in the winter is easy, the poop freezes solid and it's mostly easy to find because the ground is bare. Spring and summer are a bit trickier. You really gotta be focused. You gotta put on your poop goggles and really LOOK for poop. Especially if you have a blind dog that leaves poop in weird places. Or maybe they're not weird. I've never had a dog before, I don't know where they usually leave poop.
I find poop nestled like bird eggs in the middle of bunches of grape hyacinth. I find it hidden under low clumps of ornamental grass like forgotten Easter eggs. I find Daliesque poop, artistically draped over the branches of an azalea bush. I find poop up against the fence, on top of large rocks, and on stepping stones. And more often than not I find myself thinking "How in the world did he get it THERE?"
Fall poop is probably the hardest to find. Once the leaves are on the ground, poop becomes like landmines, hidden and waiting, but without the deadly consequences. No matter how gingerly you step and how carefully you creep around, at some point you are going to step on poop. You smell it before you see it, but only AFTER you have stepped in it. It's inevitable.
I'm done. That's my word on poop.