Monday, October 22, 2012

What Bullet?

"So, whered'yawannago?" I asked my lovely husband.
It was an absolutely gorgeous fall morning and we had a few hours to kill before Ray's date with destiny. His eye appointment was at noon and Gregg had taken the day off to support us in case Ray required surgery. Since Ray had slept all day Sunday because of excessive partying at the autumn Beer and Bonfire on Saturday, he was more than ready to go for a nice long walk. We needed to distract the dog to keep his mind off the fact that he wasn't allowed any food or water until after his potential surgery.
"I don't know," replied Gregg, "Let's check the book."
We spent a few minutes skimming Doggin' Northern Virginia, the 50 Best Places to Hike with your Dog in NoVA and at the end of a short discussion, we decided on the Battlefields of Manassas, a place we hadn't visited in years. It was just far enough away, and the trail was just long enough, that we could kill the requisite amount of time.
Ray was thrilled to be going somewhere new. Every time we stopped at a red light, he would uncurl himself from his usual travel position to hang his head out the window, sniff the air, and whine a bit. Then, when the car would start moving again, he would curl back up until the next red light. By the time we got to the battlefield, Ray was ready to GO; he literally hit the ground running.
Be careful of what?
I held tight to his leash, and while Gregg went off to see if he could procure a map, Ray and I ran to visit Stonewall Jackson. Then we ran to the first stop of the self-guided tour, and then ran to the second. By the time Gregg was out of the visitor's center and had caught up to us, Ray and I were well along the tour.
The park was virtually deserted. We were watching the clock, trying not to get distracted by the beauty of the day. At exactly 11:30, we were back in the car and headed to the doctor's office.

Let's go. Let's go. Let's GO.
Hey, is it legal to pee on part of a national monument?
Can't you let me off this leash for just a second?
I promise not to go too far.
Ok, I'll pose next to it, but it doesn't mean that I condone in any way,
any act of aggression, on the part of anyone or anything. 

I don't know about you, but I'm having a GREAT time.
When we arrived, the doctor was in surgery.
"What are you here for?"asked the assistant.
We told him that we were here to get Ray's eye pressure checked and then surgery if the pressure was still too high.
"It'll probably be another 30 minutes," the assistant told us. "Do you want to wait outside?"
We nodded our assent, too nervous to engage in idle conversation. We went back through the door and headed towards the adjacent neighborhood. We walked Ray up and down random streets, killing time, meeting no one but an ancient Indian man with a white beard and top-knot. He was wearing a traditional kurta pyjama and had a silver bracelet encircling one thin wrist. As he checked his mailbox, we wished him a good morning. He smiled at Ray, said hello, and asked if Ray was a good dog. We assented. The old man came to pet Ray who's interest was taken by the old man's Pomeranian yapping at Ray through the front door of his house. We told the old man that Ray was blind and that we were waiting for the eye doctor. The old man tsked, shook his head, and asked how Ray became blind.
"He was born that way," I told him.
The old man tsked some more.
"So terrible," he said, real distress in his voice and on his face.
"No," I replied, "He doesn't know."
The old man was still tsking, stroking Ray, then bent down to try to hug him. Ray edged away a bit. The old man persisted. Ray, sensing the man's pain, relented and tried to give him a kiss. Delighted the old man hugged him again. He wished on Ray some of God's blessings and we continued back to the doctor's office.
The doctor came out in her scrubs with mask and hair cover in place. She retrieved her instrument to check Ray's eye pressure, shone it in his eye, looked at the reading, then looked at me.
"It's 10," she said.
"That's good, right?" I replied.
"Yes, that's in the comfortable range," she said, "The meds are working. He can still have the surgery, but if it was my dog, I wouldn't do it. Make an appointment for two months out and we'll check him again. Because he has secondary glaucoma, he may never need the surgery. If it was primary glaucoma, he would have to have the surgery eventually, but this is different. We'll just monitor him and see what happens."
Gregg and I thanked the doctor profusely. We led our dog out of the office, bundled him into the car, and headed home. The old man's blessings had obviously worked. The blind dog had dodged a bullet and we were thrilled.


  1. Yay Ray! I bet you are super relieved!

    I always laugh when I hear about people's reactions to blind or deaf animals. I tell them - hey - the animal doesn't know about it, they aren't feeling sorry for themselves. They adapt. People could learn a lot from them. :)

    1. Interestingly our blind* greyhound Conor seems to assume if he can't see anything, neither can anyone else: Many a time I'll let him out in the garden to "be quick" and he heads for his favourite spot only to fall short & turn around to come back, as if I won't know

      *Fine @birth and went totally blind from a genetic condition erasing his optic nerves

    2. I've always felt that Ray thought the same thing when we first got him. There did not seem to be any other explanation as to why he would counter-surf right in front of us. He couldn't see us, hence we couldn't see him. He learned pretty quickly that he was mistaken. At least now he has the decency to wait until we're out of the kitchen to try to steal things from it.

    3. LOL - same as Conor. Perhaps they've just attuned to us is all? After all, Twiggy (sighted tho' increasingly deaf hound - I'm sensing a quid pro quo partnership here) somehow knows when the clothes/shoes combo I'm putting on doesn't mean a walk even tho' most of the time it does. Go figure :0z

    4. Ray is the same. He knows work clothes from walk clothes. I have no idea how.

  2. Awesome news! Hug the boy for us.

  3. Awwww, that's great news! As long as he's pain-free, you're golden :)

  4. Hooray! That's great news for Ray and his people too!! Here's hoping it stays that way. We agree with Blueberry & human about people's reactions, the "specials" are just dogs who do things a bit differently. We're so happy for Ray!

  5. Oh yeah! Relief. Never underestimate the power of blessings, even when they come from new people. So glad Ray is in the comfortable range for his eyes, they may not work like ours do but they sure are cute in his face. Hope he got a treat for being such a good boy. Hugs. (and ear scratchies for Hugo and Moonie Pie too)

  6. That's wonderful news! A blind hound can never have too many blessings :)

  7. I was literally holding my breath reading this post, phew, what a relief :-):-)

  8. Thanks for all the nice comments. I have passed along all your hugs and pets to Ray who was also suitably rewarded by us for being such a good patient. He was allowed to choose his own rawhide from a plastic bag full of them. And everyone knows there is nothing as exciting as being able to choose your own rawhide.

  9. Arooooosome news, and not just on the realisation as to what doggin' meant in this context ;0P