Thursday, June 28, 2012

Something to Look at

Two weekends ago, when we were at Leesylvania State Park, a man took a photo of Ray yelling at the beach. If you look closely at the video from that day, you can see the man in the background on the pier with his camera equipment.
As we walked away from the beach, the man approached us and gave us his business card. He told us  that on the card was a web address and that if we checked the website later, we would see Ray's photo.
The next day I checked the website, and as promised, Ray's photo appeared in a file of pets labeled "Friendly." The photo representing the "Friendly" file was of a Husky staring straight into the camera looking very wolf-like.
I left a comment for the photographer thanking him for taking Ray's photo and telling him that he could see himself on the pier in Ray's video from that day (well, a mighty small video of himself) if he searched youtube for Ray the Blind Dog goes to the beach.
The next time I checked his website (he has lots of really nice photos, I've been looking through all of his files), the Husky had been replaced by Ray the Amazing. His photo is currently (I don't know for how long) the representative photo for the "Friendly" file. If you click on any of the photos displayed on the linked page, a file opens up with dozens of photos of each subject. Ray's photo appears twice in the "Friendly" file which is photos of dogs and cats. Click on any of the photos to enlarge them into crystal clear shots of the subject.
It's fun.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Neighborly Visit

I had just finished working in the backyard. I went through the side gate, closed it behind me, and headed to the front porch. I needed to water the hanging baskets before the start of the predicted heatwave so I grabbed the hose and turned on the faucet. Just then the mail truck stopped in front of the house and the mailman climbed out with a package. I put down the hose and started around the porch railing to meet him halfway through the yard.
I hadn't taken more than a step or two when I saw my next-door neighbor, Karen (William's grandmother), walking across the grass leading a dog. MY dog.
"Where did you get that dog?" the mailman asked Karen.
"It's hers," said Karen.
"Oh my GOD. How did he get out?" I said, my mouth hanging open.
The mailman handed me my package. I took it and put it on the porch.
"I was on the phone with my mom," Karen was telling the mailman, "and the doorbell rang. So I got up and I saw Ray. I thought it was you," she turned to me as she said this, "but it was just Ray. So I told my mom, 'I'll talk to you later, there's a dog at the door.' She thinks I'm crazy now."
The mailman was laughing as he turned and headed back to his truck.
"Ray rang the doorbell," said Karen, "He probably wanted to come over and play with Max." (Max is their eensy beensy Bichon. He had followed Karen over and was sniffing around the yard.)
I took Ray by the collar.
"I have no idea how he got out," I said. "Thank you so much for catching him."
Karen was still marveling at the doorbell-ringing blind dog as I turned to let him in the front door. It was locked so Ray and I headed for the side gate. It was closed. I got to the gate and pulled it open.
"He must have gotten out this way." I yelled over to Karen. "The gate is closed but not completely latched!"
Which means that, in the three minutes that Ray was unsupervised, he had to KNOW that the gate wasn't latched, open it, and close it again, before trotting over to the neighbors to ring their doorbell.
My dog has superpowers.

I did a bad, bad thing

I was working in the front yard. I decided, since it was an absolutely gorgeous day, that I would let Ray out front with me. This decision was based partly on the fact that he stands at the front door, knocking, if he knows I'm outside doing somethin' without him, and partly on the fact that I would be out front and could keep an eye on him while I worked. Sometimes I hook him to the retractable leash and wind it around the front porch railing and sometimes not. Since Ray had been for a two mile walk AND played with Tucker for an hour and a half in the morning, I thought he was probably too tired to try anything funky.
So Ray came outside, wandered to the middle of the yard, and passed out on the grass. I returned to  trimming perennials, watering potted plants, and bagging up plant remnants. I had been working for fifteen minutes or so, when all of a sudden I realized that I had completely forgotten about the dog. I looked at the spot in the yard where Ray had been lying, comatose. NO DOG.
My heart stopped. My breath caught in my throat. I felt the blood draining from my face.
I looked up the cul-de-sac toward William's house and down the street toward certain escape. No Ray.
Panicked, I started toward the front door to get my car keys and grab my cell phone. I had only taken a couple of steps when I saw Ray stretched out on the front porch in the shade. He had gotten a bit hot and had moved out of the sun and out of my line of sight. Relief flooded me. Then guilt.
I'm a bad parent. For fifteen minutes, I forgot my dog. Anything could have happened to him. Thank God he's a lazy, lazy hound.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guess What?

Yep.  Monkey Butt. Again. This weekend Ray started in on his right butt cheek. Almost one year after his first outbreak of monkey butt, he has another. So yesterday I took him to see his favorite vet, Dr. Copp (all Ray's vets are his favorites). She gave him a shave and gave me the requisite spray and ointment.
"Sorry, Ray, but we're going to have to shave it."
"Ray, I like your after-shave."
Last evening when I was spritzing his hot zone and applying the unguent, Moonie and Hugo came to watch. Ray was splayed out on the rug, Moonie was six inches away from his butt, concernedly watching the procedure. (Ray does the same thing when Moonie gets her treatment, although Ray is not allowed in the room, he jams his head through the gap in the door or lays on the floor outside and waits to make sure his favorite cat is alright. The first few times he whined sympathetically through the whole process. Now he just waits patiently until it's all over).

Hugo sat nearby, sniggering at the dog's suffering.

Exhausted after his ordeal.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Amazing Blind Dog

Lately, after Tucker comes over to harass Ray for an hour or two in the morning, I will hook Ray to his leash and we will walk with Darlene and Tucker to their house. Sometimes, Darlene and I will turn the dogs loose in Darlene's yard before Ray and I continue on home.
The first time we did this was a bit of a disaster. Tucker wanted to play with Ray some more, but Ray needed time to memorize the yard. Ray tried to pace while being bombarded by the cannonball (Tucker) and was getting a bit disgruntled with the youngster, until Darlene and I snagged the little guy and took turns holding him on our laps. After that first time, Tucker has been occupying himself with a largish, hard-plastic ball that he kicks and chases back and forth along the back fence line. Ray has been able to pace in peace.
It has taken a lot of pacing. Darlene's yard is a maze of low walls, not-so-low walls, walkways, drop-offs, fences, shrubbery, trees, perennials, grills, patio furniture, firepits, and other extraneous other words a blind dog's worst nightmare. But I can tell that Ray relishes the challenge. And he's almost got it memorized, too. He paces faster, and as he nears low walls, his feet start to do his marching band routine. And the most obvious sign that he thinks he's got it down -  Ray stands outside the back door of Darlene's house. He wants to go inside. He's ready for his next challenge. Amazing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bye Hal

Today is a dark day for Ray the Blind Dog, but being a dog, he doesn't know it. (ok, I guess technically every day is a dark day for a blind dog, but you get my drift).
Today Ray's beautiful, serene, supermodel of a girlfriend, Halle, moves with her mom to the West Coast.
We saw Halle yesterday afternoon when we took a walk around the block. Ray got his final bellyrubs from Halle's mom, Sam, and I gave Halle pets and kisses.

Then, last evening, Deborah came by with Halle as I was preparing dinner. As usual, Halle gave a little skip when she saw Ray and me. She danced into the house and Ray picked up his rawhide bone to  tempt her into a game of keepaway. But this supermodel doesn't play games. She went straight to Ray's toy basket to find something else. She came out with a rawhide chip and settled down for a companionable chew. A final drink with a good friend, as it were. Ray lay down nearby with his rawhide resting on his front feet. He knew something was up but just couldn't put a paw on it.
Deborah and I watched for awhile, both of us choked-up. I pretended to be strong for Deborah's sake and kept the conversation away from the impending departure of her daughter and favorite dog. Ray is going to miss his girlfriend, but Deborah is going to have a huge hole in her house.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

VIDEO ALERT - A Ray at the Beach

For Father's Day, Gregg, Ray, and I went to hike at Leesylvania State Park, located on the Potomac River. We had never been there before and didn't really know what to expect so we were totally surprised to find out that there was a beach.
Although only a river, the Potomac has waves. Not the 'grab your surfboard' kind of waves but the kind that make a blind hounddog use his special yell, the one usually reserved for coons, foxes, extremely nervous little dogs, and the mad pee-er.
I'm not exactly sure what Ray thought those waves were doing but he was quite determined that they weren't going to do it unannounced.
So here is a video (taken with my phone, so the quality isn't great) of Ray using his insides-liquifying voice at the beach.


There are three things about Ray that have not changed in the three years that we've had him.

  1. He still likes to play keepaway around the coffee table.
  2. He still buries and reburies his bones in the backyard.
  3. He still likes a nice cup of joe in the morning (if I'm stupid enough to leave one within nose-reach).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Today, I am a cat.

Gregg and I had just finished giving Moonie her fluids. Gregg left the cat room and I stayed behind to brush Moonie. She loves to be brushed, and this is her after-needle-sticking treat. (I want her to associate being needle-stuck with something good.)
Ray put his head through the crack in the door to the cat room (I can't remember the last time I posted a picture of how we have that rigged so here is the link to that posting). I walked over and unhooked the hook so that he could come in. Ray ambled on over to say hi to his favorite cat. He gave her a lick or two, then tried to get up on the bed without the superman leap. I watched him struggle to get a good grip with one back paw on the sheet covering the bed, then heave himself up. He gave Moonie another lick, turned a few circles and settled down on one of the little summer-quarters beds (winter-quarters are the tents).
I could see his thought process.
These cats have it good. They have good food. They have a toilet right in the room. They have fun toys to play with. They have beds all over the place. The mean one isn't here at the moment.  I think I'll move in.
Man, this is cushy

You guys have it so good in here.

This is where the mean one sleeps, isn't it.

Not anymore! Heh heh heh (laughs evilly)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Visit from his Family

Yesterday, Ray's foster mom, Amber, and foster sister, Jordan, visited us. Jordan had moved to the Greater Washington, DC area last year, and although Amber had tried to arrange a visit to see us previously when she had been visiting her daughter, the timing wasn't quite right on this end.
So yesterday morning at 10:00, sharp, Amber and Jordan arrived. Ray was waiting, stretched out Sphinx-style, on the rug in the front hall, "looking" out the door.
Ray knew someone was coming to see him because I had told him. Or, more accurately, I said "Who's coming, Ray?" This is Ray's cue that someone is coming to the house. (Usually it's Tucker or Murphy.) When Ray hears his cue, he goes to the front door and waits. He is an extremely patient dog and will stay at the door until someone actually does arrive (I've seen him wait for up to 30 minutes - he hasn't been tested longer than that).
So when Amber and Jordan arrived, Ray was ready.
As always, it was a touching reunion. Although Amber doesn't think that Ray remembers her, he does. I can tell by his greeting. Ray is always happy to see everyone but he has extra-fast spins for Amber and more of them. It always makes me choke up just a bit when I see Ray with his mom.

After quick introductions, Amber said "Can we see the kitchen?"
I laughed. (The large-undisclosed-amount-of-money dog door project had provided months of blogs.) We walked through the kitchen and out into the backyard, Ray demonstrating the use of his own, private entrance
"Oh, wow!" exclaimed Amber, "The yard is much bigger than I thought." 
(I made a mental note to ask our British friends if they had the same reaction. Does our yard look smaller in photos?)
Ya gotta love people who will sit in the dirt to visit a dog.
Ray ran into the far back, then realized that no one was following and came back to flop on the struggling grass. Amber and Jordan joined him.
Ray enjoyed the adulation for awhile then hopped to his feet and headed back to the fence. 
"Give us a yell, Ray!" I called out. 
Ray obliged. Amber and Jordan were smiling and laughing.
"Can you imagine having a pack of those?" said Amber.
"No," I said shaking my head. "No, I can't."
"Did he do that a lot when you had him." Gregg asked Amber.
Amber laughed ruefully. "Somebody called the police. It's one of the reasons he had to go back to the rescue."
We all trooped back into the house.
Jordan pointed at the chairs and couch in the family room, "I recognize those," she said laughing a little.
I joined her laughter, pointed at the couch and said "...and there's Ray's favorite pillow on his favorite couch," giving her the same five cent tour I had given to Niki and Jez. 
"Can we see the cats?" asked one of our guests.
We all went upstairs to visit Moonie and Hugo. They both got a brief glimpse of our scaredy cat before he disappeared under the bed. The invalid stayed put, curled up in her summer quarters. 
I opened the cat door. Ray dashed in and grabbed a few mouthfuls of catfood before I could drag him away. Amber and Jordan watched, amazed, as Ray leapt onto the one section of bed not occupied by cat beds and sniffed around for his favorite cat. He located her, gave her a quick lick on the top of her head and sniffed around trying to find the elusive thing that always growls at him. 
"Wow. Looks like things have really improved," said Jordan about the household cat/dog dynamics.
I watched a little nervously as Ray started to move around the bed. 
"Careful, Ray, don't step on Moonie," I said keeping my eye on the frail little cat still curled in her bed. 
I guided the big dog to the floor. He immediately headed back to the cat food. 
Amber and Jordan cooed over Moonie a bit more, then we all headed back downstairs. 
After a few more minutes of quality floor time with their old friend, Amber and Jordan were gone.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Slow Learner*

Does my nose look funny? It feels kinda funny.

Is this gonna hurt?

Wait, what are you gonna do with that?

Are you SURE this is going to work?

Ok. Do what you have to.

Mmmmppph mmmphy mummmph.

Thanks for loosening that, it was a bit tight.

How does it look?

They got my ear too

Don't put this on my blog. I don't want anyone to see me like this.

*Half an hour later, I found him back at the hive. He is now locked inside. The bees will be meeting their maker tonight.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Just another quiet morning....NOT

Ray was full of beans. Not literally, figuratively. Gregg and I were standing on the patio watching as the dog single-mindedly tried to dig his way through a patch of pachysandra. It was a small patch, maybe 2 x 5 feet situated right next to a low brick wall. By the time Ray was through, it was noticeably smaller. He would dig, grab some of the spaghetti-like vines in his mouth and tuuuug them to get them out of the way, then dig some more. The pachysandra was being obstinate and the dog didn't like the taste of the vegetation in his mouth (maybe he has Lachanophobia) but he was determined to get through it to the earth below. Gregg and I never did find out why. Because in the middle of all the digging, Ray discovered the ground-based hive for the carpenter bees (if you don't know - carpenter bees are BIG bees).
The hive wasn't in the pachysandra, it was a couple feet away, separated from the patch of green by a  brick path and in the ground abutting a support beam for the pergola (or as Gregg calls it, the argola - half arbor, half pergola). Ray positioned himself just above the hole-in-the-ground, ears ultra-deployed in Dumbo mode, brow furrowed with the exertion of trying to figure out the logistics of the hive.
Bees were coming and going right under Ray's nose. He would toss his head and open his mouth trying to catch the buzzers as they flew by.
Gregg and I retreated inside.
"Hey Gregg, do carpenter bees* sting?" I asked my all-knowing husband while envisioning a rush to the emergency vet clinic.
Gregg retreated to do a quick search on wikipedia which revealed that the males do not, but the females will, if provoked.
Just then Ray rushed by the glass door of the kitchen and into the grassy area of the backyard. I looked out the window and saw a battle royal going on between my dog and one, lone, carpenter bee. Ray was being dive bombed. The bee would zoom in at Ray's head, then away, then in again. Ray was trying to avoid the bee while at the same time trying to catch it.
I stuck my head out the door, "RAY, COME." I yelled at the big dummy.
Ray, still engaged in battle, ignored me.
"RAY, komen sie hier! Viens a moi, Ray!" Nothing. It was a battle to the death.
I went outside, grabbed Goliath by the collar, and pursued by David, dragged the dog inside, slamming the door, and then the dog door, shut behind us.
This morning, first thing, Ray was back at the hive. I was on the couch enjoying my morning cup of coffee when I saw him run past the sliding glass door, again pursued by a bee (probably the same one).
I slapped my cuppa joe onto the end table and rushed outside, grabbed Ray, and dragged the struggling dog in.
But something was seriously amiss. The sound of angry bee filled the kitchen. Ray was flailing around trying to find his nemesis. I looked but didn't see the bee. Ray came toward me, nose to the ground. I went to the door of the kitchen and looked back so that I could see the entire room at once. Nothing. Ray followed me. The sound did too. I looked to see if maybe the bee was attached to him but didn't see anything. I entered the hallway. Ray excitedly followed me. The sound did too.
The awful truth dawned. The bee was in my clothes somewhere.
I screamed.
In less time than it takes to tell, I stripped off my jammies and sweatshirt, and naked except for my t-shirt, ran for the stairs. Ray was in full-on treeing mode, yelling at the pile of clothes I'd left on the floor.
Maniacally laughing, I ran upstairs, threw on some jeans and a heavier sweatshirt, and returned to the fray. The sound of ANGRY bee filled the air. Ray was laying on the floor in the living room with his head jammed under an end table. As I went over to retrieve my dog, the bee flew out and over to the front door, pinging against the glass storm door trying to exit. Ray followed. I snagged him by the collar and opened the door a crack for the bee to escape.
Animals make our lives so much more interesting.

*turns out they were bumblebees. Bumblebees sting when provoked.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Three Years

It's been three years this month since we got Ray. Three. YEARS.
So, like my friend, Niki, who has been reading the old blogs and leaving me comments on them, I've been doing the same thing. She leaves a comment, I go back and read the blog to see what the heck she's commenting on.
Well, I came across this blog from Ray's three month anniversary and decided an update was a good way to celebrate his three years with us.  So here we go, a list of important things we've learned in the last THREE years (I still can't get over it. THREE!!!!):

  • These people don't seem to be going anywhere so I guess I'd better start to mind.
  • Cat food is still way more tasty than dog food. I think it's totally wasted on cats.
  • Cats aren't that bad but they taste kinda funny when you lick one.
  • Dog toys are fun and they last a long time - until Murphy comes over. Then they're even more fun but they don't last very long.
  • Daycare is ok but playdates are more fun and I get to sleep on the couch, or the bed, or on dad's chair when I'm done.
  • There is nothing I can't do - unless someone tells me no.
  • When someone yells "CAREFUL" it's a good idea to listen.
  • Being an international superstar is nice because people give you lots of belly-rubs and free food.
  • Sometimes, when you're walking along minding your own business, the ground disappears out from under you.
  • There is no way to open a door,  put on a pair of shoes, jingle car keys, or touch a leash (even by accident) without a dog showing up to see if he can go too.
  • Just when you think you can trust Ray around yarn or knitting needles, you can't.
  • Two years, six months is about how long it takes before cats become used to a blind dog in the house. If one of the cats is Hugo, it takes longer.
  • Never turn your back on a blind dog when he's in a frisky mood (still a very important lesson).
  • Meeting people is ridiculously easy with Ray around (still true).
  • A dog door is the best invention since the cat door.
  • You can save years of time if you have a mud-colored kitchen floor and dirt-colored carpet.
  • Having a slide-out-thingy for kitchen trash is ESSENTIAL and worth every minute of a renovation. 
  • Blogs and dogs (and a blog about a dog) make you friends in unexpected places.
  • Rawhide bones make gardens grow better (or maybe it's the constant aeration the garden gets from all the hole-digging).
  • Sometimes, when you're walking along minding your own business, the ground disappears out from under you.
  • Being licked by a dog is ooogie but it doesn't really hurt.
  • Dogs are strange but also strangely fascinating.
  • You can run right through a dog's legs and up the stairs without him even coming close to catching you.
  • I can't make this dog go away, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
  • Dogs are smelly annoyances that shouldn't be allowed in the house, never mind allowed into my room to eat my food.
  • It's a good idea to eat all of the food in the room as fast as it's put in the dishes so that the dog can't have any of it.


  • Dogs do indeed calm down after a few years.
  • Nietzsche was right - what doesn't kill you (dog-wise) does make you stronger.
  • A blind dog can become a minor celebrity, if he has a good press agent.
  • Walking a dog gives you the opportunity to enjoy new and different places.
  • Some cats (Moonie) can't resist smelling dog feet for just a few seconds; it's like bad Limburger.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


It's been awhile since we've gone to the dogpark. One by one, Ray's friends have either stopped going or are going later in the day so that we miss them. Also, in their great wisdom, the park authority has installed some blind-dog obstacles at the park. They call them dog agility training ramps and walls but Ray and I know better. It was a nice cool morning, so Ray and I decided to give it a go and see if he could find a nice dog to play with.
When we arrived, I was surprised at the number of dogs. There were even two of Ray's old friends running around. We went through the gate and a bunch of dogs rushed to greet us, including a large, brindle Boxer. Usually, when there are a bunch of dogs, Ray becomes instantly submissive until all the dogs get a sniff and then wander away. But this time, as soon as the Boxer got near Ray, the hair went up on Ray's back and he started to growl.
My immediate thought was 'uh oh.' Since I had NEVER, EVER seen that reaction from Ray, EVER, I was on high alert. I started after him and tried to snag his collar.
The Boxer had swerved out of Ray's way, the other dog didn't seem to want to tangle with mine, but Ray was tracking the Boxer's smell and was aggressively trying to follow the dog, hair up, growling. I didn't want to run after Ray and make him feel like I was helping, so I calmly walked after him, looking for a way to get ahold of him. Ray still had some dogs around him, but he was ignoring them, hair still up on his back, looking for that Boxer. An Airedale puppy (probably about a year old) got up in Ray's face trying to play with him. Ray snarled at the puppy then started yelling, intent on tracking the boxer. The Boxer, interested in the sound, made the mistake of coming to see what the hoohaw was all about. Ray went for him.
The scuffle brought the dogs toward me. I made a grab for Ray's collar and dragged him off the big Boxer who was giving Ray a run for his money. Ray was bellowing and struggling to get back at the dog who still was not interested in a fight and was staying well away. I dragged Ray back to the gate, struggled to get the latch open with one hand (it's tough to open even with two hands), shot open the gate and threw Ray through into the holding pen (there are two gates with an area between where you can take your dog off-leash). Unfortunately, the Airedale puppy followed, still wanting to play with the interesting stranger. Ray turned his pent-up frustration, at not being able to tear-apart the Boxer, on the poor dog. The puppy's owner came running. I once again entered the fray and dragged my vicious brute off of the smaller dog. The other woman took her dog out of the holding pen, I slammed the gate closed, and stood there looking at my dog, stunned. The one thought in my head was 'WTF???????????'
One of my friends came to the gate, the stunned look on her face must have mirrored the look on mine.
"What the heck was that all about?" she said. "I've NEVER, EVER seen Ray do anything like that before."
"Me either," I replied. "For some reason Ray did not like that Boxer. At ALL. I think the Airedale just got in his way."
The Airedale's owner came over.
"What kind of dog is that?" she asked. She didn't seem mad, just curious as to why Ray was attacking all the dogs in the park.
"He's a coonhound," I replied
"Oh," she said, "Maybe he's just used to hunting and that's why he did that."
"Ray has never hunted before. He's been blind since birth," I explained.
"Oh. Poor thing," she said as she turned away to go back to her group of friends.
I didn't try to dissuade her. Always play the blind card when your dog is in trouble.
I stood outside the fence and chatted with my friend awhile. Ray stood with his nose pressed through a hole in the chain-link. He was calm, the hair on his back was in it's usual position. There was no way in hell he was going back in that park. I said goodbye to my friend and we turned to leave.
Ray knew he'd been bad. He stayed right at heel as we walked the path back to the parking lot. I bundled Ray into the back seat of the car, my mind going a mile a minute.
I could only surmise that there was some bad blood between my dog and the Boxer (who I decided was probably named Lefty). Since I was pretty sure that I'd never met Lefty before, I assumed that Ray had met the Boxer before I adopted Ray. I presumed that, since Ray mysteriously speaks foreign languages, he must have met Lefty overseas somewhere. Because Ray seems extremely comfortable with the French language, I deduced that Ray must have met Lefty while they were in the French Foreign Legion together. Something must have happened between them that Ray is still angry about. I'm not sure what, but I'm sure that Ray had a good reason for going after that dog.
Now, about that Airedale puppy....

This comic appeared in the paper today - the day AFTER I posted this blog. I think I must be psychic (and that my dog isn't the only one that was in the French Foreign Legion.) (click the comic to get a bigger picture).

*The title of this blog has been changed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Top Ten Reasons why I Love my Dog

  1. He knows how to relax.
  2. He makes kids smile.
  3. He protects hearth and home even though he can't see what from.
  4. He is friends with man and beast (except for the Phantom Pee-er).
  5. He has a good sense of humor (keep-away is a very funny game).
  6. He knows how to share with other dogs.
  7. He takes food from my hand so gently that most of time he doesn't even touch my fingers.
  8. He's cute as can be especially when the eyebrows start doin' the dance.
  9. He is a connoisseur of fine wool and good coffee (even though he's not allowed to have either.)
  10. He has learned to love a cat even though it's not in his nature.
Relaxing with the master relaxer.
(If any of Ray's fans would like to post their own list of why they love their dogs, the comments section  awaits!)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Un Chat, une Abeille, et une Nouveau Langue*

"Look," said Gregg, pointing out the front door.
I looked. The phantom pee-er, and Moonie's and Hugo's nemesis, was back, strolling across the front porch.
"C'mon Ray," I said urgently.
The blind dog hurried over, his body tense, his head up, every fiber of his being alert. I slipped his collar over his ears and opened the front door. Ray shot out and seemed to go in two directions at once.
"This way, Ray," I said as I moved towards our back gate. I gave the retractable leash a little tug. Ray took his cue and rocketed toward the fence
The black cat easily leapt to the top rail of the gate and stood, his back arched and his tail puffy, looking down at the dog. Ray reached the fence, stuck his nose in the air, and pranced back and forth yelling his heart out.
The infuriating cat did nothing; his back went down, his tail un-puffed. He was giving Ray the classic cat look that says "Really? That's all ya got?"
As I got closer to him, he casually walked along the top rail of the fence, following it to the far backyard.
Ray stopped his dancing and furiously scratched at the gate, eager to follow. I unclipped his leash and flung open the gate. Ray took off, narrowly missing obstacles that are usually not a problem for him. The cat was still on the fence at the end of the yard, waiting for the dog to catch up.
Ray hit the grassy part of the yard and took a wrong turn.
"Other way, Ray," I said, as I headed toward the cat.
Ray corrected his path and raced past me to the fence and the cat. He started yelling. The cat just stood and watched. Ray was beyond yelling. He danced and bellowed. And bellowed. And bellowed. He was using his insides-liquifying-noise. The cat stood and watched him for a while longer, then, bored, leapt onto the roof of the shed in the yard behind ours and disappeared from sight. Ray continued bellowing.
I left him to his job and went inside, then five minutes or so later, went to retrieve the still-bellowing dog who by now was at the opposite end of the yard.
I called to him to come. Ray ignored me. I called to him in German to come. Ray ignored me.
"Hey, Gregg, can you come and call Ray to see if you can get him to come," I asked my lovely husband who was in the kitchen cooking dinner.
Gregg stepped outside and called to Ray using a few short German sentences (I think one of them was about blowing up bridges - as Gregg said in a previous comment, he gets all of his German from WWII movies). Ray stopped yelling, obviously wondering if explosives would be an effective measure against the intruder, and looked over but didn't come.
Gregg went back into the kitchen.
"Try using a different language," he said to me as he entered the house.
"Viens a moi, Ray, vite!"** I yelled across the yard.
Ray came, quickly. (Don't ask me. I have no explanation).
I led him into the house and closed the dog door. Ray was charged-up; pacing and scratching at his newly-closed exit. After a couple of minutes, I relented and opened the dog door again (it was still pre-curfew); Ray was through it and at the back fence before I had finished sliding the panel out of it's track.
Gregg and I retreated to the family room to eat our dinner. Not even five minutes later, Ray was back. He dropped something on the carpet and started playing with it, his tail wagging and his head tossing.
I got up to look to make sure it wasn't a live animal. It was, of a sort, Ray had caught himself a large carpenter bee.***  His prey had escaped so Ray had to make do with a bee. Kinda sad really but just one more example of this blind dog's adaptability.
(And who knew he was trilingual?)

*A Cat, a Bee, and a New Language
**Come, Ray, quickly
***The bee was immediately rescued and returned to its native habitat by my lovely husband.