Thursday, September 29, 2011

Latest Video

I'm a bit late with this, but here is a photo montage of Ray's first two years with us. Thanks to all for following Ray the Blind Dog.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bet ya can't sock me!

Ray was being bad. Over an hour at the dog park just wasn't enough to shake the fidgets out of him. He was following me around, whining, then when I obviously wasn't paying attention, he went to the front hall and made a big show out of eating one of my running shoes; tossing it around, pretending (my interpretation) to chew it up. He knows this ALWAYS gets a reaction and was trying to entice me to take him around the block.
I grabbed the shoe out of his mouth and tapped his butt with it. Ray looked surprised. I usually just take the shoe and throw it back on the pile next to the door but he was on my last nerve. Ray laid down in the hall, his eyebrows doing the dance. I resisted as long as I could, then grabbed the leash and around the block we went. He has trained me ever so much better than I have trained him.
Later in the day, I passed him, again in the front hall. This time he was playing with one of my socks. He had it dangling from his mouth, then went down in the dog-play stance, forelegs down, butt up. I just knew he was taunting me, daring me to tap his butt with a sock.
He's not stupid, my dog. He knows I can't do anything with a sock. I laughed and grabbed his leash....

Friday, September 23, 2011


I was shoving scented, fabric-softener dryer sheets in my running shoes. Ray and I had walked around the lake the day before and they had been covered in mud by the time we got home. I rinsed them off with the hose and put them in the laundry room to dry. The mud had been smelly and now my shoes reeked. I was attempting to un-stink them the lazy-man way.
Ray followed me into the laundry room, snatched one of the dryer sheets out of the shoes, waved it up and down a couple of times then dropped it on the floor. I watched as his front legs started to buckle. He was going down for a roll on the sheet. I grabbed Ray's collar and pulled him out of the room.
Later the same day, I was 'working' in my office. I heard Ray rummaging around the linen closet. I walked out of my office just in time to see him heading for the stairs with a still-wrapped bar of soap in his mouth.
I'm starting to think that Ray is trying to tell me something. Maybe this weekend I'll give him a bath.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Walk in the Dark

Tropical Storm Lee stalled over Northern Virginia last week. The hype surrounding Hurricane Irene's arrival a few weeks ago was intense. In contrast, Lee came in practically unannounced and caused an amazing amount of flooding. The only reason I mention it is because our little lake flooded. Bigtime. The same storm that did this (click this for a short video) to our backyard, made the lake a very inhospitable place for Ray and I to take a walk. It wasn't only the volume of water that caused problems, it was the after affects of the flood that caused Ray the most problems.
Ray and I weren't able to walk any of the trail until Monday when the water had finally receded. Because of the mud, we were only able to navigate a short section. The mud line on the trees along that section of the path was my eye level. On Tuesday we walked another section of the trail. The mud line there was higher, just above my head. Thursday we walked the final section, the mud line on the trees was higher than my arm could reach.
Each time we walked, I noticed something unusual. Ray was weaving along the path like a drunk coming home late from a bar. At first I thought maybe it was just that there were so many new smells that he was trying to get to. But then I realized that it could be because everything smelled the same. Everything was covered with a layer of mud; from the leaves on the trees to the grass on the ground and whatever scents Ray uses to navigate his way around the lake probably weren't there. For a dog totally dependent on his nose to see, it was like taking a walk in the dark
It didn't stop him though. Didn't even slow him down. He just got twice as much exercise with all his weaving.
The trail is on the far side of the shrubs (about 10 feet high) that are 'floating' in the lake. Notice the mud-covered benches (one is still wet, the other dry).

The trail, in this photo, is on the far side of the ball field

Friday, September 9, 2011


I couldn't stop laughing.
I had stopped by the vet to get some more betadine spray for Ray's hot spot (which he will NOT leave alone.) I've been loathe to put a satellite dish (Elizabethan collar) on him because I figure, Blind Dog + Satellite Dish = YIKES. The vet tech there recommended an alternative. "It's like an inflatable donut that goes around the dog's neck," he said. "It might work better for Ray."
"That's right," added the receptionist, "One of our customer's gets it for his Basset Hound. His dog is so low to the ground that the Elizabethan collar acted like a bulldozer and was always scooping up dirt. So he got one of the donuts."
So I ran out to PetSmart, picked one up, brought it home, and blew it up. It was now resting snugly around Ray's neck. Ray acted like I'd glued his feet to the floor. I was laughing.
"What?" said Gregg.
I just laughed more and pointed. Gregg extracted himself from the recliner and came to see.
"Abandon ship, Ray. Save yourself." said Gregg to the miserable dog.

Did we hit an iceberg?

I went to get some treats to see if I could convince my dog to move (and to get my phone so that I could take a picture).
Ray moved a few feet to take the treat but still looked miserable. He climbed up on the couch and tried to curl up.
I laughed some more. I couldn't help myself.
Gregg looked at the unhappy hound.
"Don't worry, Ray, it's only a (lifeboat) drill," he said.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dog Swim Photos

Here are a couple of dog swim photos courtesy of Roxy's mom, Brenda, who lives on the street behind us.

You can lead a dog to water, but you can't make him swim.

Well, I don't know, if it's all the same to you, I think I'll just hang out here with the girls.

How deep is the water?

Never too small to swim (Roxy)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Good Day for a Swim

Sunday was the end-of-summer dog-swim at our local pool. I had debated about going since Gregg couldn't get in the water with Ray, and because it had been raining off and on most of the day. But at the last minute, I decided that since Ray always seems to have such a good time at the dog swim, that I, myself, would don a bathing suit and take him. I convinced Gregg to come along and sit on the sidelines and enjoy the show.
We arrived about 10 minutes early and were the first ones there. I was worried that we would be the only ones at the swim because of the weather, but the pool president assured me that he had received "about 9 phone calls in the last few minutes" asking if the swim was still on. The words were no sooner out of his mouth when the dogs with their people started streaming in.
Ray, as always, was excited. I took him around to meet all the dogs as they arrived then waited by the gate for the grand opening. They slipped the chain and lock off of the gate, and Ray dragged me through. Gregg grabbed a chair far enough away from the action to be out of the way of rampaging dogs and milling people but close enough to still enjoy the view.
Ray was quiet until he heard the first splash. Then all hell broke loose.
I think I've mentioned before that Ray has two yells. One is for everyday and announces things of import like, "I'm here! I've just pooped! My family is home! I think someone is having a party! It's morning! It's night! I think a cat just walked through the yard!" and things of that ilk. This yell, if performed inside the house, raises the roof approximately 6 inches.
Ray's other yell, which comes from somewhere deeeeeeeep within, is for things of much, much, much more importance, like "I'm pretty sure a fox is directly on the other side of this fence!" or "I'm pretty sure a raccoon is directly on the other side of this fence!" or "I think I can give this nervous little dog a heart attack if I yell really, really loud!" It is estimated that this yell can raise the roof on the house by 5-6 feet (he has never actually done this one inside).
The minute Ray heard that first splash, he started yelling. Judging by the urgency of the yell, I think it was, "HELP! A raccoon is drowning! HELP! I think a fox is drowning too! HELP!"
From my perspective, pandemonium reigned. (When I was writing this I asked Gregg what people's reactions were to Ray - I was too busy trying to keep Ray under control to notice - and Gregg said 'bemused.' "Amused?" I asked thinking I hadn't heard correctly. "That too," he replied.)
This was Ray's third dog swim. Sandra (my across the street neighbor who was there with Maddie) and I encouraged Ray from within the pool while a bevy of little girls stood alongside Ray and tried to convince him to go in from the side of the pool. After accidently falling in once, Ray decided that he would take a little dip on his own and took the plunge. It was the first time that he has entered the pool of his own free will. I was so proud of my blind hound that I almost cried.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ray's New Girlfriend

Ray has a new girlfriend. Ray's girlfriends never seem to have anything in common. Murphy is fast, rough, and a ball of energy. Halle is tall, leggy, and calm. The rottweiler next door to my parents in SC is dark, exotic, and menacing. The only thing the girls have in common is that they are totally uninterested in Ray. Sasha is the only girl that is totally infatuated with Ray, and he will have nothing to do with her anymore (it's heartbreaking).
This girl is no different. She's a tiny, chubby Chihuahua with bulging eyes and bow legs. The little spitfire hurls insults through the window at us every time we pass Ken's house where she stays during the day while his daughter is away at work. Ray worships her from afar. Every day as we near the house, Ray's tail starts to wag and he pulls at the leash to get closer to Peanut's window. Peanut pops up, shrilly yips out a few epithets and pops back down. Pops up, yips, pops down. Pops up, yips, pops down. Ray is entranced by the sound of her voice.
Yesterday, as we were walking around the block, we met Ken with his old husky, Miko, on one leash and Peanut on another. Ray was thrilled when he realized Miko was there (he loves this old dog). Then went into sheer ecstasy when he found a Peanut. He totally abased himself for the little girl; got down on his belly and tried to lick her face. Peanut turned a walked away. Ray tried crawling a bit to get closer to her but Peanut would have none of him. Ray, being used to this type of treatment from his girls decided just being in her presence was enough. We turned and joined Ken for the rest of our walk.