Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Friendship-Building 101

Another day, another attempt to win over the cats.
Ray followed me into the cat room. His tail started to wag the minute he realized that Moonie was on the edge of the bed. He gave her a friendly little shove with his snout. Moonie retreated with a look of outrage on her face but didn't panic (too much) because, as usual, Ray had moved on to the cat food.
So, since Ray has decided that Moonie is now his good friend, he is focusing all his efforts on Hugo. Every time Hugo comes downstairs, Ray feels obligated to get up from wherever he is soundly sleeping and rush frantically to meet the black cat. Strangely enough, this tactic is not working. Even stranger still, it seems to be having the opposite effect.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


We had another breakthrough the other day. Moonie intentionally touched Ray's nose with her nose.
Moonie was crouched close to the edge of the bed when I went into the cat room to feed the cats. As usual Ray was following me and as usual, he went right up to the bed and stood, ears fully deployed in Dumbo mode. Moonie was inches from his nose. She crouched motionless for a moment then stretched her neck way out, touched Ray's nose with hers for a nanosecond, and then retracted her neck. I watched Ray to see if he would try to grab her, or jump up on the bed after her, or do any of the things that he usually does, but he just stood still, with a surprised look on his face, and did nothing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Where O where has my little lamb gone...

Yesterday while I was out and about, I bought Ray a new bag of rawhide. I buy them by the mixed 10 pack; flips, rolls, small knotted bones, a pretzel, and a doughnut. Ray doesn't chew them anymore, but they are one of his favorite toys because he likes to bury them.
I knew it was time to get a new bag when I saw him headed outside with his Lamby. He had a certain focused look on his face, the one he gets when he's going to bury a bone and I had an inkling that, since we were out of rawhides, Lamby was in for it. Sure enough, Ray found a nice place to park Lamby for all eternity and came back inside with the tale-tale spot of dirt on his nose.
He got me up in the middle of night to check on Lamby, she was still in her cosy resting place, but the next morning, Lamby had been disentombed (probably the fox - I think he comes here in the middle of the night just to play with Ray's toys.) Ray picked Lamby up and shook her violently a couple of times, (like he does when he unburies a rawhide) flung all the extraneous clumps of dirt off of her, and carried her away.
So yesterday, I bought a new bag of rawhide. I opened it up when I got home and gave Ray a flip (a flat chip). He immediately started a game of keepaway around the coffee table, but it wasn't long before he headed outside to bury his new prize. Unfortunately for Ray, it was raining, cold, windy, and getting dark out so it was only a matter of moments before Ray was back inside the nice cozy house and enthusiastically digging a hole for his rawhide in the couch. He gently placed the flip behind the cushions, nosed the throw over the hidey hole, then went to sleep on top of it.
Problem solved. Nothing was going to going to get to this one.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Choose One: A, B, or C

Every single day my dog does things that;
A. Make me laugh
B. Drive me to distraction
C. Move me
I find it a conundrum that he can do each one of these things every single day.
Usually, in the 'make me laugh' category, Ray will do something funny with his toys. It can be as simple as picking one up in his mouth and giving me a look of expectancy. An "I know you want to play with this but you can't have it" look. This usually results in a game of keepaway.
The 'drive me to distraction' category usually involves incessant whining (for no apparent reason) or my shoes, or Gregg's shoes, or nicknacks, or paper, or anything else that Ray can fit in his mouth.
The 'move me' category is a bit trickier and more unpredictable. I find myself unexpectedly moved at simple things. Like the other day, when I had just come home from running errands and was squating in the front hall petting Ray. My back was against the wall. Ray's head was down and pressed into my chest. I couldn't move. I laid my face on the back of his neck and he pressed against me harder. It was funny and moving at the same time. A two-fer. It's things like this that make the 'drive me to distraction' category insignificant. Until, of course, he starts whining or eating my shoes, or Gregg's shoes, or nicknacks, or paper, or anything else he can fit in his mouth.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Can Cats Read?

The answer to this question will solve a little mystery.
The other day I was working in the cat room where I keep a trunk of fabric. I opened the trunk, removed the top tray which holds a pillow, some large fabric pieces, and a pattern that I made and upon which I had neatly printed "DOG COAT." I left the tray on the floor and rummaged through the trunk, leaving bits and pieces of fabric scattered throughout the room.
The cat room remained like this for several days. When I returned to finally finish the project, I noticed that the "DOG COAT" pattern had been peed on. Nothing else had been thus defiled. Not the stacks of fabric, not the pillow, not the fluffy piles of fabric scraps scattered about, just this one thing.
SO, since Ray does not have access to the cat room, and Gregg tends to use the bathroom when he pees, this leaves only two viable suspects in the case. Hugo, who hates dogs with a white-hot passion, and Moonie, who has gotten a bit loopy in her old age.
IF the answer to the title question is "No, of course cats can't read," then I have to consider Moonie as the main suspect in this case.
IF the answer to the title question is "Yes, of COURSE cats can read," (which I have always suspected) then I have to look at Hugo as perpetrator of the abominable act. I'll even go so far as to say he was probably smiling while he did it.

(Be sure to look again at the "Relaxed Dog" posting. I added a photo sent to me by Ray's foster mom, Amber, of her own pillow hog - I mean, pillow dog. If anyone else sends a photo of their pillow pet, I'll be glad to add them to the posting. j)

A day in the life

"I'm going to bed," said Gregg. He got out of his chair and headed for the kitchen. Ray - - who had been in bed since four o'clock - - got out of his bed, stretched, and headed to the kitchen also.
I was comfily stretched out on the recliner with Hugo curled up between my knees. He growled at Ray as the dog went by but didn't give up his prized position. I was thrilled.
"I'll take Ray out," said Gregg, getting Ray's leash off of its hook.
"Thanks," I replied.
Ray was exhausted from his hard day working in the yard. I had been redesigning one of the beds out back. It had gone to the dogs in the past couple of years so I was digging out flowers that had seeded beyond my wildest expectations, pulling out masses of thyme, moving some bulbs and planting others. Ray was with me every step of the way; one minute relaxing in a pile of leaf mulch, the next digging holes in various places where he thought I should plant bones. There was even time for a jail break.
(I had headed out front to relocate some of the thyme and hadn't fully latched the gate. When I returned to the backyard, the gate was suspiciously ajar. I quickly ascertained that the dog, which had been peacefully sleeping in his leaf mulch bed, was no longer there. [-HOW DOES HE KNOW-] I ran to the front and called out a few times, "RAY, RAY."
No dog.
I ran to the kitchen where Gregg was standing.
"Did Ray come in?" I inquired anxiously. "No," replied Gregg.
I ran back out front, yelling, "RAY, RAY."
Sergio came out of his house across the street and pointed to William's house next door.
"I saw Ray go that way," he yelled to me.
"Thanks," I called back as I headed over to William's.
Ray was headed off of the front porch, a big grin on his doggy face, his usual expression when he gets away with something. I gathered my dog and returned to gardening).
So getting back to later that night, Gregg took Ray out to pee, came back inside, turned the dog loose, and went to bed.
Ray started to head back to bed also but when he got alongside my recliner, Hugo growled and hissed. Ray's head shot up, his ears deployed in dumbo mode. Hugo nervously held his ground for a brief moment then retreated behind the couch. I grabbed Ray's collar and held him while Hugo ran for the stairs. Ray interestedly sniffed the afghan covering my lap, decided that this was the place to be, and hopped his front legs onto the footrest of the recliner which was still outstretched. I watched interestedly to see how the blind dog was going to navigate this particular minefield.
Ray managed to get all four feet on the chair, most of them on some part of my body. He stood uncomfortably for a moment, thinking, then turned his backside to me and perilously sat it on the arm of the chair, closest to my head. He awkwardly stretched his body out and laid his head on my ankles, the rest of his 68 pounds squashing the rest of me into the chair. He let go a deep sigh and fell instantly asleep. I stayed squashed until the end of my TV show, then lowered the footrest, extricated my body from beneath the dog, and went to bed. Ray readjusted himself to get more comfortable but stayed put.
This morning Gregg walked past the chair, took one look, and headed for the vacuum cleaner.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Uh oh

Last night I forgot to close the dog door. At 5:20 this morning something roused me from my sleep. I didn't at first know what it was. When I realized what it was, I jumped out of bed, scrambled into some clothes and shoes and ran for the stairs. I fumbled for the flashlight, shot open the deadbolt on the door, and raced outside just as my trumpeter-of-the-dawn was heading back to the house. I had a brief moment of panic when I saw him turn in my direction and his ears and tail go up. I thought he was going to announce my presence to the neighborhood as well but he just trotted on over with a triumphant little jig in his step as if he knew he'd pulled a fast one. I grabbed his collar and we finished the jog together.
At the last second, Ray reached down and, without breaking stride, snatched from the ground a sheep toy that he had abandoned outside the day before. (I found myself wondering for the millionth and a half time; HOW does he know it's there?) He dropped the sheep on the kitchen floor and headed back to bed.
Hmmm, this looks vaguely familiar

Oh, yeah

So to all of my neighbors who awoke to the sound of a hound baying in the dark, I apologize. I will try to do better in the future and remember to close the dog door before I retire at night. But if it happens again and you feel the need for a little retribution, just come knock on my door in the middle of the night. I'll understand.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It was interesting on Halloween how many kids and parents knew Ray. One little boy standing on the stoop very seriously said to another, "Ray is my best friend." I have no idea who they were since they were in costume, but Ray knew. He got up off of his chair to come greet them. I also heard one of the parents standing out on the sidewalk yell to her kids, "Hey, Ray lives here!"
One of my "neighbors" (who lives down the street and around the corner) was following her two kids around and brought her baby boy up to see Ray. "I just had to bring him to see Ray," she told me, grinning, the placid little guy balanced on her knee as she crouched outside the door. Ray strenuously tried to climb through the opening and managed to get in a few licks (we removed the glass in the storm door to make it easier to hand out candy) before they continued on. My neighbor will sometimes let Ray lick the baby's feet or hands when we see them on our walks around the block, and as I've mentioned before, Ray remembers things like this. He LOVES baby boys and, in particular, this baby boy.
So, despite the costume that Ray had to wear for 10 minutes, he had a very good Halloween. He got to see his best friend and lick his favorite baby. A very good day indeed.

Bess, Beverly, and Blanche

Remember Bess and Beverly, the vision-impaired Cocker Spaniels adopted by a co-worker of my sister, Kathy? (If not click on the link to see the posting). Well, Cheryl, who adopted Bess and Beverly, was contacted by the rescue society when Blanche, a sibling of Bess and Beverly needed a foster home while her owner recovers from a medical problem.
For those of you who have been wondering about Bess and Beverly (I know I'm always asking my sister about them), here's an update from Cheryl about the dogs.

Bess, Beverly and Blanche are sisters that were rescued from a puppy-mill in Kansas in Oct 2009. Blanche was adopted soon after because she had no health issues at the time. My husband and I adopted Bess and Beverly in April 2010. Since they both have health issues; cataracts for both, glaucoma and blindness in one eye for Bess, and occasional seizures for Beverly, they were harder to adopt. We got them and have loved every day with them!

A couple of weeks ago the rescue contacted to us regarding Blanche. Her owner had suffered a stroke and the rescue had agreed to foster Blanche. They were having a hard time finding someone to foster Blanche because she now has health issues – cataracts, partial blindness and an occasional seizures. No problem for us! We have had Blanche now for a week and have come to love her as much as our other two. More than likely we will end up being her forever home also!

The reason they are posted here; their adoption was inspired by Ray the Blind Dog.
Cheryl is my hero.

Bess, Blanche, and Beverly

The Visual Definition of the Word "Dogpile"


I Feel like Lamb for Dinner

I have to say, that I have always been appalled at people who dress their dogs (and cats) in humiliating costumes. So it really pains me to admit that I have become such a person. I can't help myself. The minute the air starts to get a little cooler, my thoughts turn to Halloween and what I can do to my wonderfully-passive, 4-legged mannequin, Ray.
He is such a good dog. He will stand stock still while I fit and pin and mark whatever fabric I'm using to make him into whatever alter ego I have chosen for the year, and will goodnaturedly wear it to the neighbors to show off.
But this year, even I have to admit that maybe I went a little too far. Turning Ray into a...
Well, see for yourself.