Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ray the Blind Dog does Christmas 2010.m4v

I uploaded a higher resolution video so you can see Ray better. After it starts to play, make sure you change the resolution setting at the bottom from 240 to 480. Just put your cursor on the number 240 and click, then select 480.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Christmas Ray

See what I got for Christmas
Christmas eve was hard. Ray stood in front of the front door, his head hanging down to his ankles, almost all day. I just knew he was waiting for Santa to come (or maybe Murphy). He didn't whine or anything. He just stood. It was hard not to feel bad for him. But, he had to wait just like every other kid on the planet for the actual DAY to arrive.

Christmas with Ray was fun. It's like what I imagine Christmas to be like when you have little kids but without the crying jags and sugar induced frenzy.

We started our day off with scrambled eggies and bacon (Moonie and Hugo just had bacon and a little whipped cream) then headed to the tree to open presents. As per last year, Ray was EXCITED. He is very adept at opening presents (it must be a hound dog thing), and even likes to use his teeth to pick off the plastic shrink-wrap around things. Gregg was good about taking the toys away and removing the plastic before Ray could actually swallow any of it. It didn't look like he had any intention of doing so, but I also thought the glass ornaments were safe, until last night when he nipped off a rather gorgeous blown-glass partridge with a feather tail. We found it crunched up outside on the patio.
I took videos while Ray opened all his presents. If it was something particularly exciting, Ray would start a game of keepaway. The same as last year, Ray took one of his presents outside and buried it. We're not exactly sure what it was. He ripped off one end of the wrapping paper and immediately took off for a couple laps around the coffee table, then tried to head outside. Unfortunately, the present was a bit bigger than the dog door opening. He tried twice to get it through before we opened the kitchen door to let him out. Ray joyfully ran around the backyard with it a couple of times, the green christmas wrapping paper flapping about his face, then buried it good and deep next to the compost bin.
After Gregg and I opened our presents, Ray and I headed off around the cul-de-sac to deliver homemade dog biscuits to some of his friends, then back to the house to collect Gregg so that we could go for a walk around the lake. Then off to Just Fur Pets to drop off some gift cards for the great young people that take such good care of Ray while I'm at work. (It must be hard to leave your family on Christmas to take care of other people's dogs.) Then back home to hang out for awhile before Murphy came over to run with the big dog. They played until it was time for Gregg and I to go meet friends for dinner. (yeah, I know, beautiful new kitchen and they go OUT for dinner? we just ran out of time this year. the construction set us back with decorating, shopping, cleaning, and everything else). One by one, all the presents that Ray got for Christmas headed through the dog door and out into the dusty wasteland that used to be the backlawn. Ray was trying to get Murphy to play tug-of-war or keepaway but she was much more interested in catching squirrels. So Gregg got involved and showed her how to do it.

See Murphy, you take the rope and pull

Later in the evening, after we returned from dinner, Josh came over with Murphy and his (step) father-in-law, Brian, in tow. While we sat and had cocktails, the dogs ran and played in the backyard, then in the living room and front hall. Murphy became an impromptu Christmas tree when she reached under our tree and retrieved an empty cat food can. (It had mysteriously disappeared from the counter after I had fed the cats earlier in the evening.) When she backed out from under the tree, she was festively sporting an ornament, its hook firmly caught in her shoulder fur.
Ray became extra cautious and protective of his rawhide bone while Murphy was in the house. Her favorite game is to grab it and keep it away from him. So Ray uncomfortably and anxiously stood guard while she paced around. He wouldn't leave his post until I dragged Murphy up on the couch next to me. She settled down with a sly grin on her face. Only then did Ray come over and climb up on the couch next to Josh. Murphy gave him a few minutes of quiet then jumped down and headed for the bone. Ray spastically ejected himself from his comfy spot to try to intecept the little marauder. Josh got Murphy to come back to her spot and I convinced Ray to do the same. As he walked by Josh's empty glass of Scotch, Ray took a few quick swipes of the inside of Josh's glass with his tongue. Later in the evening, he did the same thing to Brian's glass of Scotch. Ray was apparently in an extremely festive mood.

I hope all of Ray's fans have a happy and safe holiday season. We look forward to seeing your comments in the coming year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Random Photos - December 2010 (and one from November)

Rachel and Ray
The lake, November 15th
The lake, December 4
The lake December 19th
December 8th
Can we go now?
Stream running to lake, December 10
Ray and Gregg, Dec 10th

December 19th

Lakeside, Dec. 19th
I think they went this way.

Roving Lumberjack?
or Beaver?

Visiting Sandra and Maddie
Maddie, Sandra, and Ray

Why did you let the dog in my room?
And more importantly, why is my food dish empty?
If looks could kill
Shackelton (Moonie)

Babysitting Murphy
Asleep on Gregg's hand

Rachel, Ray, and Murphy




Into the woods

Friday, December 17, 2010

shhhhhhh, don't tell Gregg

Despite his best intentions, this morning Ray slid from Santa's NICE to NAUGHTY list.
I was in the bedroom getting ready for work when it became strangely quiet. After ignoring it for a couple of minutes because it was, well, quiet, I heard a little noise that was vaguely familiar. I called "Ray. Ray. What are you doing Ray?" No response. No jingle of dog tags. No happy, good dog walking in to the room. That familiar feeling of Oh No-ness started to creep over me.
I was fastening the back onto my earring when I walked into the upstairs hallway. Ray was lying down with his back end toward me, his front end was picking at something. I got close enough to see.
Gasp. (giggle).
Ray had Gregg's hapless black, tasseled loafer between his paws (there are two links there to Ray's other run-ins with loafers). The loafer was, once again, de-tasseled. I picked up the shoe and removed the tassel from Ray's mouth (y'know, they just must have good mouth feel or be fun to chew on). It didn't look too bad. I figured I could find a cobbler's near the meeting I had to attend and see if they could re-attach the tassel while I waited.
When I got out of the meeting I called my BFF, Joanne and asked her to Google cobblers in the area (what did we ever do before the advent of cellphones and the internet). She helpfully provided me with multiple listings for shoe reparists. I went to the closest. I explained the situation to the man working the front desk, showed him a picture of Ray, and asked if he could re-attach the tassel while I waited. The man showed me pictures of the litter of shih tzu puppies that his dog had just had and retired to the back to pass the shoe on to little old shoemaker. Ten minutes later he handed me Gregg's shoe wrapped in a plastic bag. "Whoever fixed it before didn't do it right," he said, "Now, it's like new, he'll never know." I paid the man and thanked him profusely
I'm sure Ray thought he was doing Gregg a favor by pulling that faulty tassel off of his loafer. But just in case Gregg doesn't see it that way, I think I'll just keep this under my hat.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas is Coming

Today, Al and Carlos returned to finish up a few minor details on the large-undisclosed-amount-of-money-dog-door-project. As always, Ray was absolutely thrilled to see them. He followed Al around and helped him to open a few packages of hardware then wandered off.
After a few too many moments of silence, I went to see what Ray was up to. Ray was lying, with an innocent look on his face, in the front hallway next to the Christmas tree. I glanced around to see if the mousie was on the floor but saw nothing.
"Ray are you being a good boy?" I asked. Ray's eyebrows were doing the eyebrow dance on his forehead but he remained in place, lounging peacefully in the hallway, as if he was always good and always lounging peacefully. Al came walking up behind me.
"I can't believe he's being so good," I said to Al. "It's Christmas," replied Al in a tone of voice that implied "of course".
I realized he was right. Santa was set to arrive in ten days and Ray didn't want to jeopardize his chances of getting presents. He was going to be good. And I was going to enjoy having a good dog for ten whole days.
Ray and his good friends Al (left) and Carlos (right)

In This Corner...

Yesterday, when I brought the dogs home from daycare, I realized something. The Christmas tree was taking up valuable wrestling real estate in the front hall. Last year we located it there so that we didn't have to move any furniture that would entail Ray learning a new layout. But last year there was no Murphy.
This year, there's a Murphy. And every time she comes over, the WWF comes with her. So yesterday, in order to keep the ornaments safe from body slams and Ray's signature crab claw move, I shifted the action to our tiny little living room. I pushed the coffee table from the center of the room to along the sliding glass door then brought Ray in and showed him where it was. The available space still wasn't as big as the front hall but it had the advantage of upholstered furniture around the edges so when Ray gets thrown out of the ring, he'll hit something soft. It works pretty well. The table is easy to slide across the slippery rug so I think this will be a good alternative for the Christmas season. I hope the dogs think so too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

OK, We're Up.

Levitation by foghorn is how I tend to think of it. This is how Ray woke us up at 4:30 this morning. He was directly outside of our bedroom door, the only thing keeping him there was the hook and eye holding the door open just enough for the cats to come and go. Hugo was snuggled up next to me under the brown, fleecy throw that I keep on top of our bedspread. Gregg and I had been snoozing peacefully ('tis the season). One yell was all it took.
I scrambled out of bed and to the bathroom to grab some clothes. If Ray was actually yelling, he must have to go out pretty badly. He's never yelled outside our door before. I wondered if he'd been whining there for awhile and we had been sleeping so soundly that we hadn't heard him. I heard Gregg head down the hallway to the other bathroom. I walked back through the dark bedroom to the hall where Ray was presumably standing with legs crossed only to be met by... nothing. I turned around and headed back to the bedroom.
Ray was standing in the middle of the bed, his head down and his ears deployed in full dumbo mode. He was "staring" at a brown lump on the bed that was hissing and growling. Hugo had been caught unawares by the big dog and was still under the fleecy throw. Ray was intrigued and mystified; he'd never had the bed growl and hiss at him and he'd slept there many times before. I reached across the bed to grab his collar and pull him down before he decided that the hissy thing needed to be investigated further. We headed down the stairs to the back door. Ray went out into the cold, cold, windy night while I stood by the back door, shivering. I was really hoping that there wasn't going to be any yelling going on in the back yard that would make me dash outside. Ray, good dog that he is, quietly came inside and we headed back upstairs. Me to my bed, and Ray to his futon.

What's That Noise?

Gregg and I have a 20 year old washing machine. The agitator has become disengaged from the rest of the machine so that more-often-than-not, whenever the machine hits the spin cycle, the agitator flies off and thumpity, thump, thumps the washing machine door. It makes a God-awful noise. The first time it happened, I had no idea what was wrong. I raced into the laundry room, opened the washing machine door, and nearly got beaned as the agitator shot out of the machine and flew into the wall behind me. Now, whenever it happens, I race into the laundry room, hold my hand on the washing machine door, turn the machine off, and when it stops thumping, I open the door, reseat the agitator and start the machine up again.
I only mention this because I recently noticed that Ray now knows the drill. Whenever he hears the thumpity, thump, thump, he races to the laundry room and stands at the dog gate 'looking' over his shoulder for me with a "can't you go any faster" look on his face until I get there to fix the problem. I think it must be time for a new washing machine.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tree Trimming Help

Where do you want this one?

Ray loves Christmas. He loves decorating. He loves trimming the tree. He loves getting presents. And he loves shopping (but only for himself). So I knew that when I started decorating the tree that it was going to be a problem.
As we did last year, we put the tree up in the front hall. I started decorating Sunday night while Ray slept on the couch and Gregg cooked dinner, but I didn't quite finish. So this morning, after a trip to the frozen tundra that is the dog park, I continued with my tree-trimming and decorating. Like last year, I was hanging the glass ornaments high and the 'other' ornaments low. I didn't think Ray was stupid enough to eat another glass ornament but I didn't want to take any chances.
As I was trimming the tree, it became obvious pretty quickly that Ray was determined to help. He was particularly taken with a santa mouse ornament made of something organic. I decided that, instead of taking it away from him every ten seconds, the mouse was going to have to take a bullet for the team.
So while Ray was 'occupied' with the mousie, I continued with decorating the tree. Unfortunately, his interest lasted only as long as it took to dismember the poor little thing. Then he moved on to other ornaments. Still, he didn't keep me more than marginally occupied with curbing his more enthusiastic foraging into the lower tree branches, and I was able to finish the tree-trimming. I took the dismembered mouse, fixed the hangy thing so that I could put him back on the tree within nose range of the hound, and hung him back up. Throughout the day, every time I passed the tree, I had to rehang the mangled mousie. Obviously, a fave of Ray the blind dog.
OK, if I have to take a bullet for the team....
He's not praying, he's dismembering.
The aftermath. Two feet, a tail, and an ear.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Before and After

I have a confession to make. I haven't washed my kitchen floor since the construction started at the beginning of October. Now granted, most of that time I didn't have a kitchen floor but I know that there's been one for probably a month or so. And there definitely has been one for the entire last week after the crew finished up last Thursday. But I didn't wash it then because I was painting and moving dirty dropcloths around. And it was raining and the dogs were tracking in mud.
Although the floor felt a bit gritty underfoot, I still didn't think it looked that bad. So today I started washing it. After emptying the second bucket of muddy water and filling it again for a third pass, I knew that I had chosen the PERFECT dog floor. It's a gift, really. I can pick flooring to disguise the presence of animal dirt. I picked a carpet so that it wouldn't show cat barf and it worked so well that both Gregg and I have stepped in cat barf on more that one occasion. (Although hearing him tell his mother, God rest her soul, that we were going to get carpet the color of cat barf made me think I had to chose my descriptors more carefully in the future).
So for any of Ray's fans that are interested in what Ray's kitchen looks like now, here are some before and afters.


The Magic Mud-Colored Floor
Ray's Stoop
Ray and Murphy after a hard day's play