Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Birthday to Gregg

Today was a good day. It was my lovely husband's birthday. We were both happy that he was alive and celebrated with presents, pecan pie, and a hike.
We decided to return to the same place that we went on Christmas eve. We really like this hike. It's challenging for a couple of people used to streets and the rather generic path around our neighborhood lake, and is extremely challenging for the blind hound. The path parallels the Bull Run (river) and has steep drop-offs and rocky patches. I brought both of Ray's leashes: the shorter leather leash for navigating over the rocks, and the retractable leash for all the other areas.
Ray was a trooper and managed well. He was rather fascinated with the sound of the river rapids so we managed to get him to the riverside so that he could explore.
To commemorate the event - Gregg's first birthday P.C. (post cancer), and Ray's river expedition, I took a few photos and made a 1 minute video.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

An Unexpected Visitor

I was sitting on the couch in the living room with Ray on my lap. Gregg was across from us in his chair. A black shape appeared in the hallway. Usually when it's a black shape, it's Hugo. But this wasn't Hugo. This was a thinner, younger version of Hugo.
"Uh, Gregg," I said, "there's a cat in our house."
Just then the cat gave a rather compelling MEOW and calmly walked into the living room, past Ray's coffee table, past Gregg's legs, and over to the sliding glass door. He looked out onto the patio, looked at me, gave another MEOW and continued his trip around the coffee table. I tightened my hold on the dog who was literally quivering with curiosity (or maybe something else).
Gregg stood up and went to tell Hugo to come downstairs and defend his property. The cat followed. I stayed put and tried to keep Ray from going crazy.
A minute later I heard a howl of outrage. It wasn't Hugo, it was Gregg.
"He just peed on the cat room door!" he yelled down.
I let Ray go and said "Go get him, Ray."
Ray jumped down off the couch and headed to the stairs. He paused a moment, sniffing, then raced up and to the cat room door where Gregg was finishing up cleaning. I followed the dog.
"Is he in there?" I asked.
"No," replied Gregg, "He went down the hall."
I turned from the cat room and walked the three steps that it takes to traverse our hall. Ray followed. The cat was on our bed. I gingerly picked him up, holding one hand firmly on his back. I knew that with Ray in the mix, the situation could turn ugly fast.
The cat saw the dog and started spitting. Ray was excitedly tossing about trying to find the interloper. As quickly as I could, I took the cat down the stairs. The minute we hit the last stair, the cat launched himself from my grasp and calmly headed to the family room to check it out. Ray, close behind me, obliviously headed for the living room. I grabbed his collar, took him to the bathroom, closed the door, went and picked up the visitor, gently placed him outside the house, then let Ray out of the bathroom.
By the time I walked the length of the house to check on the cat door, the cat was headed back in. Luckily, Ray was following, still looking for the coon that he knew was there somewhere. The cat took one look at the excited dog, turned tail, and headed back outside.
We went back to the living room, Gregg was sitting in his chair.
"Well, that explains why our cat boxes have been filling up so fast," I said. "I wonder how many of the strays have been coming in to use them."
Gregg nodded his head. "I think we've become the public loo," he replied, smiling ruefully.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I wish there was a story to go along with this photo but there isn't. We were walking around the lake and I jogged ahead so that I could get a photo of the 'boys' behind me. When I got far enough ahead, I called Ray. He came running, dragging Gregg along with him.
Gregg thinks it looks like a "find the convict" photo but I think Ray looks much too happy to be chasing convicts.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Where's Waldo?

I know it's a terrible, blurry photo but I think it's funny.

(You would think, judging simply by the number of shoes in this photo, that we have half a dozen kids. We don't, it's just that when I'm working shoes never actually make it up the stairs and into a closet. No excuses, that's just the way it is.)

Find the hidden dog.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

In the spirit of St. Valentine's day, Ray followed me into the cat room, nudged Moonie with his nose, and gave her a couple of quick licks (or tried to, anyway). She was ooged out but didn't run, just tried to get out of tongue range.
Ah, Love.

Ray wishes everyone a nice bellyrub for Valentine's Day. I hope you all get chocolate.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

No, my dog isn't spoiled

It was Saturday morning, Ray was standing at his freshly-filled food dish. Not eating, just standing, head down in sad-dog mode.
"What's wrong Ray?" I asked the sad, blind hound, "Aren't you hungry?"
Ray just stood, head down, not moving, not answering.
I looked at him, perplexed. He had thrown up his dinner the day before and I was worried that maybe he wasn't feeling well.
"Don't you want your breakfast?" I asked.
Ray just stood immobile, his eyebrows doing the dance on his forehead. It was obvious that he was waiting for something.
I went to the fridge and got out my weekend treat, a can of whipped cream. On Saturday or Sunday, I like a shot on my coffee and Ray likes a shot on his dog food. One quick ppfffssshhht later and Ray was eating his breakfast. Not a bad idea, I thought as I ppfffssshhhted my mug o joe. Sometimes dogs have the best ideas.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Morning Musings

Lately, I've put Ray on a new schedule while I go to work. On Monday and Wednesday I take him for a quick trot around the block then drop him at school. On Tuesday and Thursday, we repeat the trot but then he gets to stay home and Halle's mom, Sam, comes over to take him for a walk. I know I can trust Ray enough now to leave him alone all day (I've done it a couple times) but I just think it must be so boring to be stuck home all day, alone in the dark. I realize the cats are around to keep things a little interesting (if I know Ray, he gets up to chase them down the hall at random intervals). But still, I figure I'm just asking for trouble to leave a bored, blind dog home alone day after day. So this seems to be working out just fine.
I've probably said before that Ray doesn't like GOING to school as much as he used to and I'd probably stop taking him except for that whole bored thing. And the fact that he still plays with the other dogs when he's there. And he gets to see his girlfriend, Clover, and his friend from the dogpark, Rolo (a Chocolate Lab). And then there's the fact that the staff love him and miss him when he's not there. And then there's also the fact that they give him special treatment when he is there ("I only had time to give Ray THREE bellyrubs today," Shelly the groomer told me as Ray and I were leaving) ("We let Ray stay behind the counter under a blanket for awhile this morning," said Kristen, "but then he was really kinda in the way so we had to move him.") [the area behind the counter is barely big enough for the staff to stand, and Ray is a biggish dog. I can't imagine how they maneuver at all.] Combine all those facts with the last one which is: Ray is never in a hurry to leave. He always wants to linger in the store, sniffing around, exploring, shopping, greeting new customers, and I always have to force him to the door. So I KNOW that Ray is still enjoying himself. When that stops, I guess I will reassess.
Having said that, it is still tough to get Ray out of the car in the morning. I've stopped using the "Izzy" trick and have something else that, for now, seems to work (until Ray decides otherwise).
In the parking lot of the strip mall where the school abides there are 'islands' with single trees surrounded by a mulched area. They aren't particularly attractive or anything, the only purpose they seem to serve is to take up parking space. But, I found out quite by chance, that Ray loves to sniff around the mulch and pee on those single trees. So in the morning, when we get to daycare, I open the back door of the car and say to my curled-into-a-tight-little-ball dog, "OK Ray, let's go pee on your tree," and Ray thinks about it for a nanosecond (while I hold my breath and think that this is the morning when it's not going to work) and then uncurls himself and jumps out of the car. We saunter on over to his tree where he sniffs around and then pees. Or not. If he doesn't pee on that tree, we head on over to the the next 'island' and he repeats the procedure. As soon as Ray completes his routine, he will happily head on in to school. It's one of those things I can't explain. Exactly how does he know what I'm saying? Because he's known since the very first time I said it.
No school today

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Yesterday Ray had a playdate with his old pal, Murphy. Although they only had two hours to play, they managed to cram a lot in. Here is an abbreviated list of the things they accomplished as well as a really bad one minute video of the two of them:
  1. Destuffed a toy
  2. Played keepaway with multiple bones
  3. Dug a few holes
  4. Took a timeout to chew a couple of bones
  5. Shared a squeaky toy
  6. Tore around the yard
Despite the fact that Rachel had packed all of Murphy's toys and bones into a basket and stashed them under an endtable, the clever dogs managed to empty the toybasket and scatter the toys from one end of Rachel and Josh's house to the other.
Ray also buried a bone in Murphy's yard when she wasn't looking, tried to teach her the Rebel Yell, and came pretty close to getting his mouth around his favorite cat, Izzy.
All in all, a good visit for the blind hound and his best friend.

Are you sure there aren't any more toys?

"You know, I just vacuumed," said Rachel
Who's got the bone?