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.


  1. Did Ray get a bite of anyone? Daisy does the same thing - snarling and fussing like she's going to kill someone - but she never, ever bites. My crew has become used to it. The younger dogs will submit (mostly to humor her, I think) and the seniors don't pay her any attention.


    1. I don't think so. He was sure trying though. It was just so bizarre. He has NEVER done anything like that before. And it was just so pointed and all directed at that Boxer (until the puppy got in the way). There were a bunch of other dogs swarming about and Ray didn't pay any attention to any of them. Just the Boxer.

    2. I've told you the story about my late, great border terrier Jack. He never, ever met a stranger, meaning he LOVED everyone who came his way - men, women, boys, girls, his brother cats, and other dogs. Everyone that is until a seemingly nice, well-dressed elderly gentleman came to the door one afternoon with a petition. To my surprise, my sweet, good boy Jack turned into a hellhound! He barked, he growled, he snarled and bared his teeth, and threw himself at the storm door trying to get a piece of the seemingly nice elderly gentleman. I apologized for Jack's impolite behavior, excused myself, shut and locked the front door, and called to my son Alex to quickly close and lock the door between the garage and the house. To this day, I don't know why Jack had that reaction to our visitor, but I know he sensed something that I did not. I truly believe that Jack protected his family from harm that day. I'm not suggesting that the boxer was a serial killer in disguise, but Ray obviously sensed something that we, as mere humans, could not. Keep up the good work, Ray!

    3. The writer Dean Koontz told a story about his beloved dog Trixie: she was the best-behaved and sweetest dog ever, but took an immediate dislike to one person who visited their home - not in a violent way, with barking or snapping, but she would refuse to enter the room where this person was, and if forced to, would cower and try to retreat. Once she even peed, and Trixie NEVER did anything in the house. Dean was embarrassed and puzzled by her behavior and was apologetic to this visitor, because Trixie was famous (he's written books about her) for being so smart and friendly. Well, long story short, over time, this person turned out to be a no-good, scary user and stalker-type. Dean always said that after that he trusted Trixie's judgement of people implicitly!

  2. I guess the old guy in McDonald's parking lot was correct about what vicious dogs those red tick coon hounds are. It took Ray awhile to live up to that reputation. At least you know he has it in him.

    1. It's true. I've been so used to seeing him do the submissive thing when he greets dog that it was kind of a shock that he could be any other way. I've seen him defend himself when attacked, but for him to be the aggressor was totally new. Just goes to show, a blind dog can do anything any other dog can do. Including being an attack dog.
      And the old guy in McDonalds' parking lot said redticks were "ill natured." I still say he's wrong about THAT.

  3. Feel for you - remember how my foster Jack Russell got along so famously with my dogs - never a single growl or snap - but then tried to kill Jordan's BF's sweet-natured, gentle young Golden on a couple of occasions?? He just hated him. Go figure... With no sight, you figure with Ray it had to be a smell thing - hormones, testosterone, pheromones - who knows? Also, that's how I broke a finger laat Fall, trying to prevent a dogfight before it started. I was pulling a stray dog I had corralled, hoping to find it's owner, away from Josey who was acting a little belligerent, threw my hand back to slam the gate shut behind me, hit it wrong and snapped a finger...

    1. wow all sounds a bit scary, just goes to show even the most trusted dog can switch if something triggers them, hope you were not too shaken up Jean.

    2. I was amazingly calm considering the event. It was a bit embarrassing though. A dogpark full of people, most of whom I don't know, and my dog chooses that day to become a killer. I'm starting to think it was because of the posting of the previous day where I said that Ray was 'friends with man and beast.' You know how Ray LOVES to prove me wrong.
      I do find myself wondering what kind of smell that dog had that triggered Ray's aggression. I can't wait for science to catch up a dog's senses.

    3. Reply to Amber,
      What the heck are you doing up at 3:55 a.m. (the timestamp on your comment)?
      It's funny but I thought of Jack the Jack Russell when it happened. You gotta wonder about what happens in previous lives. It was like Ray had a tractor-beam on that dog, he was so single-mindedly focused. I didn't even bother to try to call him or make a distracting noise. I knew there was nothing I could do, other than collar him.
      Hope your finger is ok)

    4. Well, I probably WAS awake at 3:55 am - I don't sleep worth a darn anymore - but I left the comment at 6:55 am, I think; computer must be on Pacific time! Yes, it's shocking when that behavior comes out of nowhere - you can hardly believe it. And even after surgery and pins, I have a crooked finger for life :( Oh well...

  4. Oh he is pretty consistent with the proving you wrong thing....I am liking the Lefty theory a lot though. By the way I sent you an fb chat message regarding a package received today ;-)

  5. Geezz that's no good :( I'm sorry Ray had some trouble at the park. Every once and awhile Murphy really scares the daylights out of me. You trust your dog 100% and then they do something that you just can't believe. Most of the time, I figure out that it was human error- aka, me not watching murphy's body language and responding....oy...