Thursday, July 29, 2010

Poop Bag. Poop Bag. Poop Bag.

I was taking Ray for a quick walk around the block before dinner. As I neared home, 4 of the kids that live on the corner (there's five of them), and a fifth little girl that lives somewhere nearby, were walking down the cul-de-sac with their nanny. They are truly the cutest kids I've ever seen and range in age from a girl who is maybe 6 or 7 to the littlest boy who is about 1.
Ray, of course, loves them. He heard their voices and immediately started lunging. All the kids backed away in fear and one of the little girls gave a little scream. "Sit," I said authoritatively. Ray sat, then flopped. The kids approached slowly. "Does he bite?" "What's his name?" asked the girls in rapid succession. "No," I said, "He loves kids. He just wants to lick your face and hands and arms and legs and neck, and his name is Ray." The kids laughed. Ray stood up and strained at the leash, he loves laughing kids. The kids retreated again but not so much. "Ray, sit!" I said. All the kids (well, all the one's that could talk) helped me out by saying "Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit, Ray."
Ray sat again and flopped over in the grass exposing his belly for a bellyrub, a big sloppy grin on his face, his tongue hanging out of the corner of his mouth. It was hot. He was panting. "Can we pet him?" asked the girl. "Of course!" I said. The nanny was grinning, she had met Ray before with some of the little ones and the same scenario had ensued.
The little girls knelt down and gingerly touched Ray's belly. Ray squirmed a little in delight and the girls got up and backed away a little, then, when he didn't move again, knelt back down to touch his belly again.
One of the girls pointed at Ray's male part and asked "What's that?" "Oh, that's his peepee," I said. "That's what boy dogs have." The littlest boy nodded his head knowingly and said "Peepee." Another of the little girls was looking interestedly at the Bagbag that I have attached to Ray's leash. "What's that?" she asked. "Oh, that's a bag that holds poop bags so when Ray goes poop I can pick it up." I replied "Does he poop in people's yards?" she asked. "Well, mostly he poops in the backyard but sometimes he poops when I take him for a walk and I have these bags so that I can pick it up and take it home and throw it away," I elaborated. The littlest boy nodded his head knowingly again. "Poop bag," he said, "Poop bag. Poop bag."
Wow, I thought, he sure picks things up quickly. And then I thought of how proud his mom was going to be when she arrives home from work and hears "Poop bag. Poop bag. Poop bag," all night long. I found myself hoping it wasn't one of his first words (peepee being the first).
I collected my dog and we skedaddled.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hmmmm, now why do I know that smell?

Ray has been spending a lot of time in daycare lately because I've been spending a lot of time in work. He doesn't like it as much as he used to. I think it's because he's discovered that the dog park, Murphy (, and hanging out at home can be more fun. I'm glad that he likes being home, but now I feel bad dropping him at daycare in the morning. Especially because it's obvious that Ray is not so much of a morning person.
However, today I didn't feel so bad about dropping him off because I knew that Murphy was going to be there.
So when I picked Ray up this afternoon, I asked Kristen, "Was Murphy here? Did Ray have fun with her?" Kristen replied, "It was the weirdest thing, when Murphy got here, we brought Ray up to her and he just turned away. We put them nose to nose and he acted like he didn't even know her. Then about an hour later, Ray "discovered" that she was there and got all excited. They played a lot."
I thought of first time that I saw the lunch lady at work (she works one of the cash registers in the cafeteria) shopping at the local grocery store. She said hello to me and I said hello back but my mind was racing. I knew that I knew her but I just couldn't place her because she wasn't in the right setting. I thought maybe it was like that for Ray. Maybe it took him an hour to place Murphy. He was thinking the whole time "I know that smell. I know that smell. But where do I know it from." And then it hit him. And it was MURPHY! Oh my God! What are you doing here!
I'm hoping that Ray will start looking forward to daycare again when he realizes that Murphy is going to be there everyday.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What a Timesaver!

My hound is so smart that when I say "Ray do you want a treat?," I don't have to say "Sit," "Flop," or "Shake." I just say, "Do all of your tricks," and he sits. He flops. He raises a paw to be shook. Sometimes he mixes up the order just to keep things interesting. He really is a remarkable dog.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fun video that doesn't have Ray in it

I wish Ray had cool friends like this, although I got the feeling that when the dog was licking the deer she might have been thinking, "Mmmmmmm. Venison.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kappy and Ray the Blind Dog

Ray's girlfriend, Kappy, left to go home to California today.He is desolate. But at least they got to spend a little quality time together before she left. Notice the hair color and freckles.The resemblance between Kappy and Ray is amazing. If you didn't know better, you'd think they were from the same litter.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hey! I was Watching That!

Today I sat down to eat a late lunch and turned on the Dog Whisperer. Ray followed me to the couch to check out my sandwich. When he realized that he wasn't going to get any, he picked up the remote control in his mouth and changed that channel.
What do think was on there that he didn't want me to see?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Today I took Ray to the vet. Nothing major, as far as I know. Just a weird bump on his snout where I figured he got scratched or bit or something.
Anyway, we were waiting in the little room when the vet walked in. She's a rover that works at veterinary clinics in the area when they need substitutes, as in this case, when a vet is out on maternity leave. She glanced at Ray and got a puzzled look on her face. She looked at the file in her hand and said "I've seen this dog before, right?" I thought about it briefly and responded, "No, I don't think so." "Ray Ray," she said, "He's blind, right? You rescued him. Where did you get him?" I know that people call him Ray Ray but I've never called him that and I know it's not in his file that way but I said "Yeah, his name is Ray and he's blind. I got him from a rescue in South Carolina." "You mean that the rescue brought him up here from South Carolina," she said with certainty in her voice and then she named a local rescue. "No," I replied, "I was on vacation with my mom and sisters and got him while I was down there."
"That is so weird," she said staring at Ray with an incredulous smile on her face. "I've seen a blind dog that looks exactly like this. His name is Ray Ray, which is not unusual for a blind dog." (That is too true. I think there's a law that all blind dogs have to be named Ray or Stevie.) "Was it a Redtick Coonhound?" I asked. "Yes," she replied, "He looked exactly like this and was rescued from (and she named the local rescue again).
I have a burning desire to get the two, blind, Redtick Rays together for a photo op.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ray 'Sees' a Deer

Friday, Lisa, Patch, Ray and I were walking along the power lines path. Ahead of us were two deer; they had stopped and were looking at us, tails twitching (not our tails, their tails). At first Patch didn't see them, but then he did. He was standing at attention, straining at his leash. Ray was oblivious for a minute but then he too was standing at attention. I couldn't decide if he sensed what Patch was doing or if he could smell the deer.
We continued down the path and the deer took off into the woods. When we neared the place where they had stood, the hair on Ray's back went up. He cautiously approached the exact spot where one of the deer had stood, jerking back every so often as if he was afraid of being attacked. He squatted down on his forelimbs, his butt in the air, his nose pressed against the ground, his back legs quivering in fear. I found myself wondering if he could smell size. Did he know that the things he was smelling were really large? If he could see them, would he have known that he could chase them away? As it was, he was afraid, ready to spring back on his haunches and run if needed. I talked to him and told him everything was OK. Ray cautiously continued to sniff for a bit longer, then we headed on down the path.
The brown dot in distance on the left is the deer. Ray is "looking" in totally the wrong direction.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Random Ray Photos

Ray and Geese (notice his ears in dumbo mode)

Ray and Gregg on the trail around the lake

Ray, Worn out after Playing with Murphy

Ray in the Vet's Office Waiting for the Vet

Ray Riding Shotgun
Not Ray, A Picnic Table at the Park (I just like this one)

Sasha and Ray (revisited)

Today when we went walking, Ray pulled me across the street to Sasha's house (see Sasha at Normally, Ray will just walk on by. But every once-in-awhile, Ray wants to go see Sasha.
Todd tells me that when Sasha sees a dog walk by her house, she wrrroooo wroooos. But when Sasha sees Ray walking by, she goes crazy. She wrrroooo wroooos and then she goes to get Todd and wrrroooo wrooos at him and runs back to the door until Todd gets up to see what's going on.
By now Todd knows what's going on. Ray is going on. So Todd gets Sasha's leash and comes out to walk with us. Usually he's in the middle of some household renovation, but Todd is a good dog dad so he drops everything and brings Sasha out to walk out with her blind boyfriend. It's a beautiful relationship.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dog for Sale. CHEAP.

Ok, I admit it. I asked for it. I never should have written that Ray was a good dog. I knew there would be repercussions the minute I wrote it. I just didn't think it would happen so soon. Yesterday, Ray was horrible. It wasn't that he got into things. He was just whiney. He's always been a bit of a whiney baby but geez, he was awful.
We went to the dog park in the morning and got there late. Only a couple of Ray's usual friends were there so he didn't run as much. After about 30 or 40 minutes, we left with our friends, Lisa and Patch, and went for a couple mile walk. Then Ray and I returned to the dog park (I had left my water jug) and Ray ran with some new friends for another 30 or 40 minutes. Then we went home.
As usual, Ray sacked out. But he didn't stay sacked out. When he woke up, Ray started to pace. And whine. And pace. And whine. I thought maybe he had to go out, but that wasn't it. I tried to ignore it. I tried hard.
At about 1:30 or 2:00, I hooked Ray up to his leash for a walk down the street to get Murphy. I had told Rachel, Murphy's mom, that I would take Murph for a walk in the afternoon if I wasn't working. When we left the house, I saw Kappy, who was home visiting her mom and dad, across the street. Even though Ray has only met Kappy a couple of times, he loves her. He goes gaga whenever she is around. (I think it's because they look alike. They have the same coloring and freckles.) So Ray and I headed over to say hi to his friend and get some much-needed attention for the hound dog.
We then continued on down to Murphy's house, retrieved the dog, and walked around the block together. When we got back, I turned them lose in the backyard where they raced around for 10 or 15 minutes. It was hot and muggy. The dogs were really winded and panting, so we took Murphy to her home and Ray and I returned to ours. Ray paced and whined. And paced. And whined. And whined and whined and whined. And paced. I could tell he wanted Murphy back.
After an hour or so of this, I put Ray out in the backyard and watched as he tried to tunnel through the back gate. When he realized that he wasn't making any progress he started to whine again. He finally laid down against the gate just in case it magically opened and Murphy appeared.
At about 4:30, I took Ray for his preprandial walk. He tried to drag me up the street to get Murphy but with much pulling and cajoling, I convinced Ray to go in the opposite direction. We toured the block and returned home where I fed Ray. He finished dinner and curled up on a chair. Relieved, I started to clean the kitchen prior to Gregg's arrival home from work.
The minute Gregg got home, Ray got up and started his pacing again. And his whining.
Gregg and I left Ray in the house and retired to the porch for a cocktail. Kappy and her mom came over, and Ray, hearing Kappy's voice, started a tunneling operation on the inside of the front door. I have a couple of baby gates across the front porch so I can let the pooch out in the evening while we sit outside. I figured I might as well let him out to visit with his girlfriend again. Ray came out the front door, barreled through the baby gates and headed down the street, tail swinging, toward Murphy's house with me, barefoot, in hot pursuit. He made a slight detour toward William's house, but decided at the last minute to stick to his original plan and go for Murphy. I gotta give the dog credit for stick-to-itive-ness. He wasn't giving up.
I trotted down the street after him but wasn't having a lot of luck catching him. He never comes when called (at least not when called by Gregg or I) but I was calling, nonetheless. Ray made it to Murphy's front door and knocked (scratched) a couple of times (Murphy was going crazy inside), then, when I got close, took off around the side of the house. He realized that he didn't know where he was going so he started back towards the street.
At this point, thank God, my neighbor Charlotte, hearing me calling, got involved and started calling "Ray! Ray!" Ray hearing another sweet voice that he loves, headed for Charlotte. She snabbled him and I gratefully took his collar and led him home. Ray was smiling from ear to ear. I went home and looked up "Gypsies" in the Yellow Pages but didn't find any listings.

A Really Great Dog

I've been pondering lately how much Ray has changed since we took him in. He has morphed into a truly excellent hound. Not that he wasn't always, but now that some of the puppy has left him and now that he has a bit of training under his belt, he has really become a wonderful dog.
I mean, he does have relapses now and then, like the day he ate a mirror, a pair of glasses, and a shoe, and the other day when he ate another one of my lip balms, and the night before last when I put a couple of salads on the coffee table in the family room and came back to find him picking through one (He wasn't eating it just picking things out of it and leaving them on the table. He hates vegetable matter which is why I figured it was safe. My bad.). But, for the most part, Ray has become a really good dog.
Then I start to think, has he become a good dog? Or have we become better dog parents? I look at the things we do to make sure that Ray has the opportunity to be good: gates across the laundry room, hook and eye on the cat room door, screen protector on the front door, kitchen trash in the bathroom, lots and lots and lots of exercise, lots and lots of interaction with people and other dogs, the kabuki dance we go through every night putting dinner on the table so that no food is left unattended (the other-night's salad notwithstanding), daycare so that he's not left alone for too long; and I think there's no reason for Ray not to be all that he can be.
Ray is a great dog. And although we started from scratch, and although we had many, many moments of complete idiocy, we have become much better dog parents (so far) (knock on wood) (I hope I haven't jinxed it) (uh oh, maybe I shouldn't have said anything) (I take it back - Ray has become a great dog all on his own.) (Oh no, what have I done....)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh, Why Do I Even Bother

Today I washed the kitchen floor. Ray wasn't in and out so it was staying pretty clean and I was happy.
About 4 o'clock this afternoon, Ray's alarm went off and he started whining and pacing. We'd already been for a walk at 2:30 so I thought maybe he'd give me a little slack but no such luck. I looked out my office/studio window to see if our neighbor, Rachel, was home from work and we could go get Murphy for a run around the backyard. It looked like her car was there so I said, "Hey Ray, let's go see if Murphy is home." I didn't think he would know what I was talking about, but as usual, Ray surprised me. He jumped his front feet up on my sewing machine (where I was sitting) and "looked" out the window, his tail wagging wildly and his ears deployed in dumbo mode. "She's not out there, Ray. We have to go see if she's home." Ray dashed to the door, ready. I slid his collar over his ears and we headed out the door. Ray immediately turned up the street and did his best impression of a husky, dragging me to Murphy's house.
Murphy was more than ready to come play. Both of them tore madly around the backyard playing catch-me-if-you-can. After about 5 or 10 minutes of this, Ray wanted in. It was HOT and he was panting so I figured he needed a drink. I let him into the kitchen and watched as he wandered over to his water dish. I turned to see if Murphy also wanted a drink and when I turned back to look in the kitchen at Ray, there were wet, muddy pools of footprints EVERYWHERE. Ray had obviously stepped into, or tripped over, his dish and the rest was history. I sighed.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I'd picked Ray up from daycare and followed him into the backyard. He ran around yelling a bit to let people know we were home. I bent over to look at a branch on a Japanese maple. I was thinking of removing it and was trying to imagine what the tree would look like without it. Still bent over, I looked up to see the spastic cannonball headed my way at top speed. I obviously hadn't been making enough noise for Ray to know where I was and it looked like it was going to be a direct hit. I'm not ashamed to admit that I screamed. My life flashed before my eyes and I could see the anachronistic headline on my obit "Woman Dies after being Hit by Cannonball." The cannonball passed so close that he stepped full on my foot and my clothing moved in the breeze caused by his wake.

When it was all over, I laughed from sheer relief that I had once again escaped death by a hairsbreadth from the spastic cannonball.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dog Park Dust

I think dog park dust would be a good name for a band. Here is a photo of one of the semi-regulars, Brady, a Great Dane, modeling the latest dog park accessory, a fine coating of dog park dust.

Hugo Comes Back

This morning Hugo came in to sit on my lap while Ray was sleeping in Gregg's chair. He didn't stay long, I think he was testing the waters to see how the hound would react. It's the first time in MONTHS that that has happened. I've been really, really trying to get Ray to calm down around Hugo and I think maybe (fingers crossed) it's paying off.

Ray in Gregg's Chair

Hugo Getting a Bellyrub

My Lapdog

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Amber, Ray's foster mom, sent me more photos of Jack who is still in need of a home. So if anyone out there has a need for a personable, handsome, Jack Russell Terrier, please contact Amber at

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

A lot of the time, when I've been out and about and have returned home, Ray will show that he is excited to see me by greeting me a the door with a rawhide in his mouth. He wants to play keepaway. I'm never sure if that's just his way to show me that he is happy or if it's his way to show me that I'm missing all the fun when I leave. If I stayed home I would get to play games. A kind of reminder, "See, if you were here, we could do this ALL the time."
Yesterday, when I returned home after meeting my BFF for a spot of impromptu shopping, Ray ran outside all excited and came to the back door with this in his mouth. It's a rawhide bone AND a rhododendron branch. I'm not sure if he thought he was bringing me flowers but I appreciated the thought, so I chased him around the yard for awhile. When a dog is right, he's right. I was missing out on some fun.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's Official...

...Ray doesn't like fireworks. They were going off everywhere last night. Big displays on the corner of our street, the street behind us, all around. Gregg and I made sure we were home before things started heating up. I settled in on the couch with Ray laying on my feet.
The first big salvo of firecrackers brought Ray off the couch in a bound, yelling. I petted him and talked calmly and told him everything was all right. Back to the couch. For the next explosion, Ray raised his head and gave a menacing growl and a woof. Pet, talk calmly, everything is all right. After that, Ray didn't bother to raise his head, just lay there on my feet, growling whenever a boom disturbed him. Like an old man grumbling that the noise was keeping him awake. I continued my regimen of petting and talking calmly.
When I finally headed upstairs to bed (9:30 - I was tired from getting up at 4:00 three mornings in a row), Ray followed me. He jumped up on the bed and continued to growl a bit here and there. Gregg came up to get him after the fireworks had calmed down. When I went downstairs at 10:30 to get some water, Ray was sprawled out in his bed, as usual, sound asleep. Obviously worn out from keeping the house safe from democracy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Guard Dog is Born on the 4th

The 4th started with a bang, so to speak. At 4:45 a.m., Gregg and I were levitated out of our bed by Ray barking. I was so disoriented after being woken out of a deep sleep, that for a moment, I thought the bark came from outside. But it was so loud! But it sounded like it was coming from outside! Maybe the noise had traveled out a window downstairs and come in our window upstairs. Maybe Ray was throwing his voice like a voice thrower. Maybe I was just delirious from lack of sleep...
Gregg rolled out of bed and headed downstairs. I heard him say "Ray! Quiet!" but I could hear Ray growling and then another ear-splitting bark followed by more growls. I followed Gregg downstairs. He opened the sliding back door and Ray went out. AAAAAarrooOOOOOOO. I saw a flashing light out of the corner of my eye and saw a work truck with a cherry-picker kind of arm attached to it, idling in front of our house. "There's a truck in front of our house," I said to Gregg. He went to have a look. "It's the cable guy," said Gregg. AAAArroooooOOOOO. Ray went off again. "It's alright, Ray," I said. Ray growled one more time and went off to pee. "I'll wait for him," I said to Gregg, "Go back to bed." Gregg yawned and dragged himself back upstairs. I waited for the hound, listening to the cable guy working at the box in the front yard. There was a faint sound of some kind of electronic device, while the guy worked. What a job, I thought to myself.
I looked for my shoes, ready to take off outside at the first hint of another bark, but Ray, satisfied that we were alert to the danger of pre-dawn raids by cable technicians, had moved on to other things. He meandered around the yard sniffing, while I waited, yawing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Dirt on Dogs

I'm always amazed at how much dirt a dog drags into the house. Today I swept the kitchen floor in preparation to wash it. I went to the garage to get the dustpan and brush to sweep up the hill (small mountain) of dirt that I had collected. By the time I got back to the kitchen, Ray had come in from outside and was splayed out in the middle of the kitchen floor, panting. I was grateful that he had not, as is to be expected, laid in my pile of dirt. There was, however, a rather substantial trail of leaf debris and other yard oddments leading from the sliding glass door to where he was laying in the kitchen.
I swept up my dirt pile, dumped it in the trash, then used the brush to gently sweep bits of leaves and sticks off of my dog. Ray, disgusted at being disturbed, got up, walked into the living room, and collapsed with his usual put-upon groan. I grabbed my bucket and mop and quickly washed the kitchen floor. By the time the floor was dry, it needed to be swept again.