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