Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mr. Clean and Pigpen

Why you don't want a short dog with long hair
Notice the difference between the tall dog with short hair and the short dog with long hair.
Doesn't seem to bother her too much, though.

Genius Dog

I've been debating with myself about whether or not I should mention this because it makes me sound kind of stupid, but I just recently realized that Ray is handicapped. I noticed it for the first time when Murphy was staying with us. I think it was the close proximity, over a couple of days, to a dog that can actually see that made me recognize exactly how disabled (otherwise enabled?) Ray is.
Murphy is one of those dogs that tracks your every move with her eyes. She is constantly looking at your face and reading expressions. Murphy is a very bright dog and is so trainable it's almost laughable. But I noticed while she was here how much she picks up her cues from body language and facial expressions. She gets a worried look on her face if you frown. Ray doesn't have that option.
Which brings me to my next observation. Ray is practically a genius. He is the Helen Keller of dogs. Although I have not been able to train him to heel (I think it is a lack of skill on the trainer's end - and maybe a bit of the hound dog stubborness) or teach him to not eat shoes, or keep him out of trash, Ray has learned (almost) everything else I've tried to teach him. Well, I guess there's the thing with leaving the cats alone, and not jumping up on small children, or trying to eat my mom everytime he sees her, but he's learned just about everything else.
Okay, so he can sit, and shake, and flop (sometimes, when he feels like it). And he can navigate in the dark. And he can make people happy just by being Ray.
Like I said. A genius.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nope, Not Amazed.

The day after Thanksgiving, I dropped Ray at daycare. I didn't really want to, but the crew was coming to work; Felipe to install the backsplash, and Al to work on some more electrical stuff. Gregg and I had errands to run, so Ray had to go to school. When I picked him up that afternoon, we headed over to PetCo so that I could buy him a bag of rawhide bones. Ray's consumption of rawhide has dramatically decreased. But his burying of rawhide has not. I try to keep him well supplied because it makes him so happy to dig holes all over hell and gone, and my garden, although it suffers in one respect, seems to like the constant supply of rawhide to its soil. Or maybe it's the aeration it likes.
In any event, Ray and I went shopping. When we left the store, I opened the bag of bones and gave one to Ray. He likes to carry his own purchases to the car. Ray took the bone in his jaws and carefully carried it through the parking lot to his lair in the back seat of my car.
When we got home, I gave Ray his bone again to carry into the house (he had dropped it in the back seat when he laid down for a quick nap). The guys were still working but didn't take too much longer to wrap things up. Ray left his bone in the front hall and we went into the laundry room to prepare his dinner. I fed the dog in the living room and went to talk to Al about the never ending dog door project. I heard Ray in the front hall licking something but in my subconscious, thought it was his new rawhide.
Al and I finished talking and walked into the front hall. There was Ray with the can of dog food that I had conveniently (for Ray) left on top of the washing machine. He had found the can, removed the lid (no tooth marks, clever dog), and was licking the contents out of the can. It's hard to get the food out without a fork or a spoon, but he was making good progress with just his tongue. I removed the can from his nose, replaced the lid, and said to Al, "It constantly amazes me how much trouble a blind dog can get into." But, truthfully, I'm not amazed any more.

Thanksgiving 2010

Happy Thanksgiving From Gregg

Thanksgiving was good.
We had spent most of the previous evening in the dark while Al and Carlos worked on replacing the electrical panel. I was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper by flashlight. Gregg and Ray were both snoozing when Sandra, our good neighbor from across the street, knocked on our door. She had a large spool in her hands, around which was wrapped enough heavy duty extension cord to reach from her house to our house. We plugged a lamp into the extension cord and spent the next hour sitting in the soft glow of our one lamp while the crew worked to restore to us the miracle of heat and Monk reruns. Sandra invited us to join her and Dick for pizza. We gratefully accepted.
For Thanksgiving Gregg smoked a nice piece of salmon for dinner while Ray hovered. I made crockpot potatoes and kept a wary eye on the dog in the back yard to make sure he didn't burn his nose on the smoker. Ray has a definite penchant for salmon. It is one of the few meals we make that he won't sleep through. His nose has to be right there until he gets some. But, as soon as I put some in his food bowl, he's good. He eats his salmon, tries to cadge a little bit more, and when that doesn't work (or sometimes when it does), he goes to bed. He is such a good dog. And I am thankful.
Is it ready yet?
Please drop some.Please drop some.Please drop some.Please drop some.Please drop some.
Can I have some PLEEEEEEEZE. I promise I'll never eat your shoe again.
Mmmmm, Dessert.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Did Someone Call an Electrician?

Yesterday, Ray was good. I was trying to get the kitchen painted before today when the countertop gets installed. I painted and Ray slept on the chair outside the kitchen door. Carlos and Al arrived and were doing electrical things. Ray was extremely happy to see Carlos (as usual) but still, he was as good as an extremely happy hound can be. While the guys worked in the kitchen, I went upstairs to work on the computer, Ray followed me up and laid down on the landing for a snooze. He was good.
At the end of the day, I went into the kitchen to talk to Carlos and Al about the remaining tasks. Carlos had a bunch of stuff spread around the floor, light switches, electrical tape, a big pile of screws and other hardware, screwdrivers, small boxes with unidentified things in them. While I listened to Al explain things, Ray picked up a role of electrical tape and took it to his office (the front hall), dropped it there, then came back to the kitchen. He picked up a box with a lightswitch in it, took it to his office, dropped it and came back. He picked up a screwdriver, walked to his office, dropped it and returned once more. Carlos and Al were watching with big smiles on their faces. They hadn't seen Ray in action before. Every time Ray came into the kitchen Carlos would say "Careful, Rrrrray!" and guide him around the pile of hardware. But no one stopped him from taking things. When we were finished talking, the things that Ray had lifted were scattered all over. Al gathered them up. He was shaking his head, still a big smile on his face.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fox and Hound

Lately, when Ray goes out to pee in the early morning or late evening, he yells. Not just a single yell like he used to do, but a continuous string of excited yells. Nose to the ground, he runs frantically around the yard, stopping every couple of feet to yell. Or he will stand still with his nose pointed up, his flues flapping, as he takes in deeeeeep breaths and then yells to curl your hair.
I've decided that the fox that lives somewhere around here is toying with my dog. Fox jumps the fence (or walks the top rail) and runs back and forth through the yard just to drive Ray crazy. It appears to be working magnificently.
The yelling probably wouldn't be that big of a deal except that it occurs at 4, 5, or 6 in the morning and 11 or later at night. So Gregg reminded me that if someone calls the police on Ray, first time we get a warning, second time we get a fine, and third time we go to jail. And he pointed out kindly, it wasn't going to be him that was going to go to jail.
So I decided that we needed to take action. One of the good things about Ray is that he has an off switch. It's called his leash. The minute I grab his collar and clip on his leash, the yelling stops (of course, now that I've said it, it will never happen again. Ray loves to prove me wrong. It's his hobby). It's like magic. Sometimes I put his leash on while we're at the dogpark just to give everyone's ears a rest.
So now when Ray goes out in the morning and evening, it's on the end of a leash. At least until Fox decides it's not so much fun to taunt a blind dog. Or until Ray realizes that he can't just run around yelling whenever he wants to. Or until we get tired of walking around in the cold and dark with a dog in the middle of the night.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Ray at the door, BW (before William)
Well, as you can tell from Rachel's email, the dog door has been installed. It looks amazing, doesn't let any cold air in, doesn't let any warm air out, is secure, and works great. The crew even installed a concrete step, just for Ray, right outside his door so that the dropoff wouldn't be too far down. So he could feel that there was ground when he put a paw out. There's just one teeny, tiny problem. Ray was afraid to use it.
So, in order to make the door more palatable to the blind dog, I brought out my secret weapon. I called William. Steve, Williams grandpa answered the phone. "Hey Steve," I said, "Can you send William over. Ray won't use his new dog door" Steve never even questioned why. He knows. I think everyone knows. Ray will do ANYTHING for William.
So this afternoon, William showed up at my door. I gave him a handful of treats (not that he needed them), positioned William on the outside of the door and told him to call Ray. William called, Ray went out.
I brought William in. William called, Ray came in. Every time. Without thinking twice. We didn't even have to hold the plastic doors aside. Ray just went through.

So of course, I got the camera and recorded the historic event.

Email from Murphy's Mom

So Murphy and I were strolling along, when suddenly she pulled me over and dragged my lifeless body to your front door. We knocked and all I saw was Ray's sad face staring back at me. " Sorry Murphy, nobody is here!" I told her. Murphy whined. She pulled me over to the the gate. "Murphy you will just have to play by yourself back there!" I said. A lightbulb went off over my head, "There's a dog door!!!"
Being clever, I let Murphy into the backyard. I walked over to the dog door and hollered at Ray. Murphy slipped right through my legs and into the house..."Craaaaap!" Realizing that I didn't have my phone or your house keys, I started to dance in front of the sliding doors to convince them that it was more fun outside. Finally, they stopped playing and stared at me. I ran over to the dog door and shouted to Murphy. " Come hereeeeee Murphy!!!!" She ran right out the door. Ray's head stopped dead in front of it. I called, "Come on Ray! You can do it!"
I pulled back the plastic; Ray ran out.
After about 20 minutes, I said, "We gotta go Murph before we get caught!" I put her on her leash and I called Ray over to get him through the door. He stopped inches from where I could reach him. It's like he knew I was going to grab him and push him inside. He looked at me like " I'm not done with her yet!!!" and then ran away. " Okay, fine!" I said. I let Murphy back off the leash ..... They continued to pay for about 15 minutes. Then Murphy came over and I said " Okay, let's go."
We walked over to the gate and I put her collar on. Ray of course, thinking we were leaving, ran over to me and I grabbed him! We walked over to the door, which he told me he'd rather die than go through, and with two hands on his butt, I pusssshhheeeddd him through the door. Quickly we ran to the front door and knocked so Ray wouldn't run back into the yard.... Whew! The perfect escape.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sleepover - Day 3 part 2

I fed the dogs then went to the laundry room to prepare food dishes for the cats. I heard something behind me and looked over my shoulder to see Ray's head in the trash. He extracted a red, plastic cup (one of the large ones that we've been using while we are under construction) and tiptoed from the room headed for the front hallway and his friend Murphy. I know that he thinks because he can't see me that I can't see him. Sometimes I have to dissuade him of this, like when he makes a beeline for the catfood dishes. This time I let him go. How much damage can you do with one empty cup?
By the time I fed the cats and got back downstairs, Ray and Murphy had shredded half the cup and were working on the other half. It made a nice crinkly noise as they tore into it and the dogs were having a blast. Thin red strips of plastic were flying everywhere. I sat down on the couch to enjoy the show.
The minute I sat down, Murphy came over to visit; obliviously, Ray continued to shred his piece of the cup. Murphy's mouth was open and she was panting. I had a moment of panic when I saw red in the area of her mouth. I thought maybe she had cut herself on the plastic of the cup but something was odd. Something was protruding from her mouth. She grinned at me and as she breathed out the thing made a fffpt sound. A long, thin, red piece of cup had been pierced by one of her lower canines and was stuck on the tooth. The plastic strip was sticking out of her mouth about 3 inches giving her a doggy-serpentine look. The snake effect was reinforced with her panting. Every time she breathed out, the piece of plastic made the weird fffpt sound. I started laughing. Murph was smiling at me totally unconscious about the thing on her tooth.
When she stopped panting and closed her mouth, Murphy noticed something in her mouth that wasn't supposed to be there. She started smacking her lips together and flapping her head, trying to get a hold of the thing. The piece of cup came loose and fluttered to the ground. Murphy rejoined her friend to finish off the rest of the cup but there was nothing left but tiny little cup particles. It looked like I'd had a parade in my front hall and someone had thrown red confetti. The dogs moved on to their next project, extracting the squeaker from the fleece lamb. There had been two, but only one remained. By the time they were done, nothing remained but a strip of fabric that resembled a sheep about as much as a strip of fabric can (it was fuzzy).
As usual, Ray was the first to bed. Murphy sacked out until it was time to head home. Rachel and Josh were due back about 10:00 so Gregg clipped a leash onto the good girl at 9:30 to walk her to Marva's. As they were leaving the house, I heard Gregg say to the dog, "Murphy, you're a good guest."
I'm pretty sure the dogs had a good time but I know that I had a blast. I love sleepovers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sleepover - Day 3 part 1

Tuesday morning it was raining. I left Ray sleeping on the futon and went to collect Murphy from Marva's. Murphy was raring to go.
Ray was waiting at the front door. When he realized that his friend was back, he raced to the sliding glass door, closely trailed by Murphy. I slid open the door and watched them race off. I knew they wouldn't want to play for long in the rain.
They reappeared after about 10 minutes. I let them in and grabbed both of their collars so that I could dry them and wipe the mud off of their paws with a towel that I had strategically placed by the door. Ray wasn't that bad, a few quick swipes and he was clean. Murphy was another story. Her longer coat and little legs had collected bit more mud and water. I cleaned her off as well then let them both go play while I went to get their breakfasts.
While they were eating I noticed that there was quite a lot of construction dust and dog dirt on the living room floor. I grabbed the handy swiffer vac and got ready to deploy it. Murphy was watching me with a wary eye. I turned it on and she attacked, growling and snapping at the noisemaker. I quickly turned it off. Murphy immediately went back to her bowl to finish breakfast.
When both of the dogs were done, I turned the vac on again. Murphy attacked again, snarling, growling, and barking. She grabbed the handle and pulled, surprising me with her anti-cleaning stance (although, being a liberated woman, I can understand it). "Hey!" I shouted, "Murphy, NO." Ray's protective instincts kicked in. That was HIS swiffer that was being attacked, dang it! so he attacked the attacker and quickly pinned her to the ground. I grabbed his neck and pulled him off, then held both dogs until everyone had calmed down. The minute I turned them loose, they started playing again. Obviously a pair of short-attention-span-dogs.
That evening, when I picked them up from school, it was still raining. We walked in the house and Felipe was finishing up some trim work in the kitchen. I let the dogs out in the backyard thinking that they would probably just go and pee and come back in. Still in my work clothes, I stood and chatted with Felipe about the project. Ray reappeared at the back door followed by a bouncing ball of mud that turned out to be Murphy. Without much thought, I went to grab a couple of towels before I let them into the kitchen.
I should have taken the time to think it through. The minute I let the dogs in, Ray took off in one direction around me and Murphy the other. I snagged the dirtier dog first, then dragged her with me as I chased Ray down. He had gotten as far as putting one muddy paw on the carpet before I tackled him. Felipe was still standing where he had been all along, a look of shock on his face. All he could say, over and over again was, "Oh my God. Oooh my God. Oooooooh my God." I had an insane urge to laugh.
I dragged them both back into the kitchen and took a moment to appreciate my choice of dirt-colored porcelain tile for the kitchen floor. It was definitely living up to expectations. There were wet muddy footprints and clods of mud everywhere but it didn't actually look that bad.
I held Murphy's collar with one hand and Ray's with the other, then looked around for the leashes. I didn't see them anywhere. "Hey Felipe, can you hold Murphy's collar? I asked. "Sure," he replied looking at her mud-caked feet, "Oooh my God," he said again. I let Ray go. "Stay," I commanded. Ray stayed. I went to fetch the leashes, clipped them on both of the dogs, and knelt on the leashes while I cleaned Ray's feet with the towel. There's something to be said for a tall dog with short hair. He wasn't that dirty.
I let Ray loose and turned my attention to Murphy. The minute I started wiping her with the towel I knew it wasn't going to be enough. She was CAKED with mud up to her hula skirt. The towel was now a mud-spreading mechanism. I wrapped her in it and picked her up, feet forward. I started for the stairs.
Again, I should have thought things through. By this time it was dark and I didn't have a spare hand to turn on a light. Felipe had returned to work and I wasn't going to bother him again. I'd been up the stairs a million times before, I knew how to get where I was going. We hit the wall a couple of times on the way up but made it up, followed closely by the blind hound, without major incident. I carried Murph to Gregg's bathroom, dropped her into the tub, stripped off my socks and followed her in. I closed the sliding shower door and turned on the water to warm it up (it takes forever). Murphy was panting but compliant. I told her what a good girl she was
As soon as the water warmed enough, I tried to drag Murphy towards the faucet. She turned tail and scrabbled to get out. I held her tightly and continued to murmur sweet nothings. I took one of her rear paws and held it under the tap. She seemed to relax when the warm water hit her and stood still, the water streaming over her foot . The tub was filling up with muddy water. Crap. The bathtub stopper was closed. I didn't stop holding Murphy's foot until it was clean. By then the muddy water had completely covered the bottom of the tub. I let that foot go, undid the stopper, and grabbed her other back foot. Rinse. Repeat.
When I tried to turn Murphy around to face the faucet she started to struggle a bit. I upped my flow of nonsense baby talk. "Don't worry, everything's ok. Good girllll." Ray standing outside of the tub this whole time, must have sensed Murphy's resistance and decided to add to the general mayhem by yelling frantically over and over again. The good dog was trying desperately to help his friend in need.
Murphy quickly decided that the warm water on her front feet wasn't as bad as she thought it was going to be. She stood docilely while I finished rinsing her off. I then took my wet hands and used them to get the rest of the mud off of her belly and backside. Murphy didn't seem to mind at all. Ray, however, was still trying to use his voice to blow the shower door down.
When Murphy was clean (enough), I turned off the water, slid open the door and grabbed Gregg's towel to dry off the dog. A touching reunion ensued. Ray was thrilled that I hadn't drowned his best friend as he had feared. I turned Murphy loose and both dogs raced downstairs to play.
I quickly swabbed out Gregg's bathtub, then entered the hall and turned on the light. There were long streaks of mud on the walls, pointing out the direction we had come up the stairs. I wadded up some paper towels, did some commando cleaning, then headed down to the kitchen to clean up the new tile. Felipe had kindly taken the floor in hand, cleaned up the muddy footprints, and was getting ready to leave. I thanked him profusely for his help. He lingered awhile to talk about dogs and to tell me about a blind guy that he had seen on TV that could ride a bike. Then he took his leave, obviously not anxious to face the two hour trip home.
I found myself wondering what he thought about the mayhem in my house.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sleepover - Day 2

Day 2 of the sleepover was easy. I got up and let Ray and Murphy into the back yard. They didn't come back for an hour. Enough time for me to feed the cats, clean the catbox, make coffee (and drink a cup), eat breakfast, do the dishes, and read the comics. I finally had to fetch the dogs out of the yard so that I could feed them. They both had to go to school before the crew arrived, and I had to get to work.
That afternoon, I stopped by Marva's house and told her that I would drop Murphy off that night so that she could sleep in Rachel and Josh's bed (Rachel had suggested that I do this if Murphy was going to be barky). I told Marva that I would pick Murphy up the next morning and take her to school then bring her back to our house and drop her at Marva's again that night before Rachel and Josh returned home from their trip. Marva was agreeable.
Hey, wanna play?
When I picked the dogs up from school, Kristen was there.
"Ray slept all day," she said grinning, "He was really tired."
I wasn't surprised. I was tired too just from watching him and Murphy play all day.
When the dogs got home. it was like a repeat of Day 1 - WWF, doggy porn, and nonstop play. A quick tear around the back yard (too dark), then into the house to go through Ray's toybox. They were picking things out to keep-away from each other or play tug-of-war with. Most of the action took place in the front hall and it was littered with the bits and pieces of destroyed and dismembered toys.
As usual, Ray was the first to collapse. He curled up at the foot of the couch. Murphy didn't take long to follow. She crawled up next to him, then, at some point, got down and laid on the rug for awhile.
When she came back, she crawled up and over Ray's head, shimmied up his body (Ray never moved) and stretched out next to me, curving her neck over the back of mine like a furry, hot, panting, feather boa. The combined heat of our two necks was a bit too much for her so she stretched out over the back of the cool leather couch and fell asleep until it was time for her walk home.

Sleepover - Day 1

Kinetic Energy

Rachel's sister, Sarah, dropped Murphy at our house around noon on Sunday. Seven hours of non-stop play ensued. It was like watching a Worldwide Wrestling Federation marathon interspersed with doggy porn as Murphy tried to establish her alpha dog presence in our house by (trying to) mount Ray (she's waaay to short for it to work).
They played outside. They played inside. They played while we walked them around the lake. They played in our across-the-street neighbor's backyard while Gregg and I raked leaves and ground them up in the chipper/shredder. By 7 o'clock Ray was tired but he wasn't stopping. They played tug-of-war, both of them lying on the ground (by this time I think Ray was too tired to stand).
Lazy man's Tug-of-War
There was a 10 minute intermission before both started up again.
Gregg asked, "Aren't they ever going to go to sleep?"
"Did you ever sleep at a sleepover?" I asked in response.

By 8 Ray couldn't take it anymore and curled up on the sofa at my feet. Murphy jumped up also. I scrunched into a little ball at the end of the couch in order to accommodate the extra dog.
I was in bed by 10. But before I went I told Gregg, "Put Ray in his usual bed and see if Murphy will go to sleep on her couch. If not, bring her upstairs and put her on the futon." When Gregg came to bed, Murphy stayed downstairs with Ray. But then, Murphy, who apparently has ears like a bat, woke up at 11:00, barking at an unknown, unheard (by us), and unseen assailant. Her fierce, piercing bark roused Ray into raising the roof with his equally fierce but ever-so-much louder hound dog yell. Gregg went to calm everyone down and peace again descended on the house.
Until 12. Then again until 1:30. I took the 12 and 1:30 shifts, bringing Murphy upstairs to the futon, thinking maybe she couldn't hear anything if she was sleeping upstairs. (I was wrong.)
At 4:15, the unthinkable happened. Ray woke me up because he had to go out to pee. Murphy, not wanting to be left behind, joined us for the early morning potty patrol. The second the dogs returned to the house, the WWF was back. I tried to tame the action by grabbing Ray's collar and leading him to his bed but Murphy was tagging along grabbing at his face. Ray was responding with the crab claw, trying to grab Murphy by hooking a front leg around her every time she got in close enough. Ray was NOT interested in getting into his bed. I led him upstairs, Murphy nipping at him the whole way and Ray responding in kind. I put Ray's front paws on the futon and hoisted his butt up behind. He stood uncertainly for a minute then collapsed with his usual moan, curled into his usual tiny ball, and fell instantly asleep. Murphy stood looking at me, panting, a grin on her face. I stared back at her a second, thinking, then headed back downstairs, retrieved her couch, carried it up and plopped it next to Ray's futon. Murphy looked at me a second, then headed back down the stairs. Someone had to protect the house and it obviously wasn't going to the be the sleeping blind dog.
The rest of the night was quiet.
No, I'm Not Tired
Well, Maybe I'm a Little Tired

Guard Dog

Friday, November 12, 2010


Well, Rachel and Josh, Murphy's mom and dad are going to be in Vegas for a convention through Tuesday. Murphy is going to stay with Rachel's sister on Friday and Saturday then come to stay with us on Sunday and Monday (and part of Tuesday). So today, before they left, Josh and Rachel dropped off Murphy's bed and breakfast.
I put Murphy's bed on the floor next to Ray's and Ray immediately went over to check it out. There was probably enough Murphy-hair in the bed to build another dog but Ray was more interested in redecorating. He sniffed for awhile then picked the bed up in his mouth and flapped it a bit (not a small feat - it is shaped like a couch and is rather dense), then got in and dug around a bit (was he looking for his friend in the couch cushion? Not too sure what he was doing), then got out and pushed it a bit with his nose, and finally, satisfied with his re-model, Ray wandered away.
I looked at the final placement of the beds. The few inches that had separated them was now gone. They were plastered against each other. Ray was ready for his sleepover.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Where's Ray?

Some days you just gotta pull the covers over your head and go to sleep.

We Need Your Input

I see a lot of people at the dogpark that look a WHOLE LOT like their dogs. It has really made me wonder about Ray and I. Do we look alike?

So this weekend, when Ray was feeling neglected, I pulled him up onto my lap for a little quality time. I snapped a few photos of us while he was in his quiet reflective mood. But I can't tell. I think I'm too close to the subject. Do we look alike? What do you think?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Milestone? Or Sarcasm?

The other day when Rachel and Josh delivered Ray to my front door, he jumped up to greet me, tail wagging (then he did the same thing to Carlos which kind of ruined the affect, but still...). This may not sound like much to people with dogs, but it was a big deal to me because Ray NEVER greets me this way.
I had just been jokingly complaining to the staff at Just Fur Pets that it's kind of embarrassing, the way Ray greets me when I go to pick him up at daycare. He briefly acknowledges my presence, then goes shopping. This is in direct contrast to any other dog that is being picked up by its owner. Usually there is a frantic, emotional scene of unconditional love when dog and owner are reunited after an entire day of separation. It's extremely touching. With Ray it's more of a "Hey, howya doin'. Say, WHAT'S THIS? A BONE? WHAT'S THIS? DOG FOOD? WHAT'S THIS? ANOTHER BONE? WOW, THERE'S STUFF EVERYWHERE!!!!!!" kind of thing
So, the day after I had complained to the staff, Ray came home from 'school' and actually seemed happy to see me. I was thrilled, (even if it was only for the benefit of Carlos).
But then, the next morning when I went out to collect the paper from the bottom of the driveway and re-entered the house, Ray greeted me at the door. He turned an enthusiastic circle, tail wagging. Now, I have the sneaking suspicion that it was all just doggy sarcasm.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Turn that Thing OFF

Someone was standing at my bedroom door, whining. It was 5:45 a.m. I got out of bed, blundered into my robe and sweatpants (it was COLD) and stumbled down the stairs with a rubbery nose pressed into the back of my thigh. I slid opened the door to let Ray out, pausing to make sure that he didn't start yelling (sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't). I was sliding the door closed when the blind hound fooled me once again and yelled, then took off across the yard into the treed area of the back, yelling like crazy. I ran to get my shoes and bolted out the door to try to shut him up before he woke the whole neighborhood.
Ray was excited, bumping into trees, and pacing the fence that separated our yard from the neighbor's. I called to him. He started to come to me and was almost within arms reach when he turned and took off again to the far side of the yard, yelling the whole way, followed by me, yelling at him (in what I like to think of as a whisper). I grabbed his collar and led him into the house.
I went back to bed putting the hook on the bedroom door to keep Ray at bay. He whined briefly then curled up on the futon with a deep sigh. A minute later, my alarm went off. I slapped it off. Two minutes later the arrrrrooooo alarm went off. I spoke soothingly to Ray and told him that everything was fine. He growled and grumbled a bit but settled back down. Five minutes later the arrrrooooo alarm went off again. I wondered where the off button was.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rrrray the Blind Dog

Yesterday, Rachel and Josh bought a bone for Ray when they picked the dogs up at daycare. They left it with me when they dropped him off home. It was late in the day and Javier and Carlos were just finishing up. The dogs were wrestling around the front hall.
After everyone left, I fed Ray and the cats but decided to give Ray the bone later. He was ready for bed anyway, and if it turned out that it didn't agree with him, I didn't want to get up in the middle of the night to let him out.
So today when I got home from work after picking up the dogs, even though the crew was still here working, I gave Ray his bone. I left him in the house because there was still construction material on the patio and went to join Javier and Carlos outside. The kitchen cabinets had arrived and the guys were moving them into the garage for the night. One big box remained but there was no room for it with the others so I started to shift things around on the front porch. All of sudden, there was a yell from Carlos. "Rrrray!" he said, (roll your 'R' when you read that in you head) and pointed to my clever dog who had managed to escape from the house by maneuvering through the minefield that was the garage, and was prancing gaily through the front yard, bone held high. He was headed for the backyard, smiling broadly around his prize.
I chased him down, grabbed his collar, led him through the gate past the equipment on the patio, and turned him lose. Rrrray took off to look for the perfect place to bury his treasure and the guys finished clearing things up. We were all one day closer to finishing up the (large undisclosed amount of money) dog door project.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ray, Protector

Ever since the construction started, Ray hasn't been sleeping in the kitchen. We were really wondering what we were going to do with him at night, but the issue kind of resolved itself.
When it's not in the kitchen, Ray's bed takes up an amazing amount of floorspace in front of the fireplace. P.C. (pre-construction), Gregg would let Ray out for a mid-night pee, drag the bed into the kitchen, put up a dog gate to close one door opening and slide the pocket door shut for the other, just before he, himself, headed upstairs to bed. When the construction started, we closed off the kitchen to all dogs and cats. So now Gregg just leads Ray back to his bed in front of the fireplace and Ray goes to sleep. He could come upstairs if he wanted, but he doesn't. He just sinks into his bed with his usual groan, curls himself into a little ball, and falls immediately and deeply asleep.
But a new wrinkle has emerged since Ray started sleeping in his new spot. In the middle of the night he wakes up and howl/barks. This is Ray's noise when someone is approaching the front door, or when he hears something that we don't (like a dog coming down the street), or if something startles him. It is accompanied by raised hair on his back and his deep menacing growl. At one, two, three, or four in the morning, it is a noise that really gets our attention.
At first, Gregg or I headed downstairs to see if everything was OK and to make sure that there were no marauding pirates or zombies trying to gain access to the house. But now we just head downstairs to reassure our blind guardian who is sitting up in bed, staring into the darkness, hackles raised, that everything is fine. We give him a pat or two and tell him that he can go back to sleep. We've got his back.
Gregg is convinced that Ray has nightmares but I think that maybe Ray hears noises that waft down the chimney and into his subconscious. I'm hoping that when he moves back into the kitchen (and onto the heated floor) that things will go back to normal. Until then, we'll just have to get used to the midnight howl of our loyal protector.