It was about nine o'clock and I was finishing up the dinner dishes when Ray wandered through the kitchen towards his dog door.
He'd been pretty active earlier in the evening. Although I had left him sleeping peacefully on the bed, he wasn't there very long before I heard his paws hit the floor and he barreled down the stairs and into the front hall. He gave two deep-from-the-belly yells, the ones that mean something serious is afoot, and then, when I told him to take it outside, headed at high speed to his dog door. He was yelling the second his nose hit fresh air.
After a bit more yelling along the back fence, then the side fence, then the middle of yard, Gregg went to retrieve the hound ("just trying to avoid getting arrested" he always says as he heads out after Ray). He dragged the protesting dog back inside and closed the dog door. But we were cooking dinner, and Ray's determination to get back outside at whatever-it-was was inhibiting our ability to maneuver around the small kitchen. I opened the back door, grabbed Ray's collar and led him out to the patio to see if I could identify what was making him so antsy.
I watched the blind dog stick his nose in the air and do his Ismellsomething dance but didn't let go of his collar. Faintly, from the direction of the high school, I could hear a disembodied voice announcing something over a loudspeaker. (It was Tuesday night. What could possibly be going on in the middle of the week? Was Ray just vocalizing his support for the home team?)
I let Ray sniff the air a bit more then dragged him back inside and told him to go lay down. He paced the length of the kitchen a few more times but when I went to sit on the couch, he curled up next to me and settled in with a distinct 'harrumph.' Ray eyebrows were doing the dance on his forehead, the only indication that he was alertly keeping track of whatever it was that had him so riled up.
So here we were, hours later, I was just rinsing the last few pots, and Ray was standing calmly at the back door waiting to go out.
"Here, I'll let you out, Ray," said Gregg as he entered the kitchen.
He opened the back door and Ray stepped out onto the patio, then took off like a shot past the kitchen window into the middle of the yard, yelling to wake the dead.
I put the last pot in the drainer and watched as Gregg ran past the window in rapid pursuit of the noisy hound.
I smiled to myself, turned, and headed back to the comfort of the couch.