We were expecting another day of rain. But it was early and sunny so Ray and I leashed up and hit the pavement for a quick two-miler.
As soon as we got back, Tucker's mom (Darlene) called.
"Do you want to get the dogs together today? Tucker has been driving me crazy." she said.
"Sure," I replied, "Let's do it now before it starts to rain again."
"I'll be right there," she said.
The phone clicked off. I turned to my blind dog and told him that Tucker was coming over to play. As he does when he is listening intently, Ray cocked his head to the side and deployed his ears in Dumbo mode.
He walked to front door and stood 'staring' out the glass. I watched him for a minute then went about my business. Ten minutes later he was still there, lying on the floor Sphinx-like, waiting.
"It'll probably take them a little while to get here Ray, but your friend is coming." I told him.
Ray didn't move.
A few minutes later, Tucker was coming up the walk. There was a frantic greeting between the dogs, then both headed to the back door. Ray shot out the dog door. Tucker, who hasn't quite got the hang of it yet, scratched at the back door. We let him out and watched as he cannonballed into Ray over and over again. Ray was scampering a bit, but the ground was wet and muddy (my poor, struggling grass) and he was having problems gaining purchase. Lower-to-the-ground Tucker wasn't having any such problems.
After 10 minutes, Ray was done. He went back into the house through the dog door. Darlene and I were chatting on the back patio when we realized that Ray wasn't coming back out. We peered in the glass and saw the hound standing, 'looking' our way, waiting for his friend to come inside to play.
I opened the back door. "Come on out, Ray. Come on out to play." I cajoled.
Ray didn't move. I closed the door and waited. The flap of the dog door opened an inch. Tucker ran up and tried to convince the nose that was sticking through the flap to come back out and play. The nose retracted.
I sighed. "I don't think he likes the mud," I said to Darlene. "Let me go get some towels and we'll clean Tucker off and let them play inside."
I went and got said towels. Although Tucker was a bit muddy, he was a breeze to clean compared to Pigpen Murphy.
We turned the dogs lose in the house where they resumed their horseplay (dogplay?). But Ray, after his brisk walk in the morning, was tiring quickly. The Cannonball, however, was not. He nipped Ray's ankles and elbows, grabbed his face, ran under and around him, all the while doing the body slam. Ray took it all like a man.
By the end of the hour, poor Ray was too tired to stand. He was stretched out on the carpet in the front hall, his mouth open to grab the little dog if Tucker should happen by. Tucker was obligingly throwing himself on Ray's head and into his open maw. It didn't seem like it would be that much fun, but Tucker was having a ball. Ray was a good sport and humored the little guy. (The term 'little' is purely subjective here. Tucker is little compared to Ray. The Cattle Dog may be small but is pure muscle and more closely resembles the Cannonball nickname given above.)
After watching this for awhile, Darlene took pity on the exhausted hound and took her ball of energy home.