I was standing on the front stoop with my hand on the doorknob. I had been gone five whole days. I hesitated a moment wondering what kind of greeting the blind dog had in store for me. The standard Ray-greet for me consists of him standing stock-still just inside the door as I carefully open it so as to not bean him in the head. When I enter, I say "Hell-oooo dog" and give him a quick pat as he tries to rummage through my bags to see if I bought him anything. Although I wasn't sure what to expect this time, I was hoping for more.
I slowly opened the door. Ray was standing just inside, his head tilted to one side, ears deployed in Dumbo mode. For a moment he didn't move at all. I tried not to feel disappointed.
Then, the Ray-greet kicked-in. The one reserved strictly for guests. The one with the spinning and the jumping and the ecstatic tail-wagging. I had only seen it once before for myself, and that was when Ray was being sarcastic. I stood, basking in the warm glow of doggy-affection as Ray picked up his bone and headed around the coffee table, overjoyed that I was back to play keepaway with him. I laughed and followed him a few times watched jealously by Hugo crouched on the stair landing. I took a few steps up, gave the big, black cat a quick scratch behind the ears, then headed back down to tell Gregg about my trip. Ray crawled up on the couch next to me and curled into his usual tightlittle ball. He gave a deep, contented sigh and fell instantly asleep. I vainly wondered if he had been sleeping with one ear open the whole time I was gone, listening for my return.
I gave Gregg an exhaustive account of my travels then, followed by my trusty hound, headed up the stairs for a shower. Ray stood just outside of the bathroom door until he heard the water running, then knowing that I was safely ensconced and couldn't easily escape, Ray jumped up on the bed for a quick nap.
For the rest of the day, Ray stuck to me like a giant, furry leach. By late afternoon, my travels had caught up with me and I was ready for a nap. But Ray was ready for this walk. He stood by his leash and nosed it a couple of times to make sure that someone noticed. Gregg offered to take the dog out while I hit the hay. I watched as they headed out the door and down the drive and was still watching as Ray got to the end of the driveway, stopped dead, and tried to back out of his collar. Gregg was tugging at the leash and encouraging the dog to come but Ray was determined to do no such thing.
I exited the house, ran across the lawn, and started down the sidewalk calling to the dog. Ray immediately ran after me, jumping up, joyfully trying to grab my arm in his teeth, then happily trotting out to the end of retractable leash, prancing his way down the block. I stopped, turned, and tiptoed back towards the house. Not fooled, Ray turned and anxiously jogged after me. Gregg called to the dog and pulled at the leash. Ray strained against the restraint, trying to follow me. I laughed and went to get my shoes. By the time I reappeared, Ray was laying down on the sidewalk. He was pulling a Gandhi*. Just for me.
It felt GREAT to be home.
*using Gandhi's method of passive resistance to get what he wants.