Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter from the Lot of Us

It was Saturday and we were waiting for Murphy.
Waiting for Godogue
The day before, I had put an emergency call into Rachel, Murphy's mom.
"Hey, can you come over this weekend?" I asked, "Ray is seriously bored. All of his friends' moms are out of town and Ray has no one to walk or play with. He's getting kinda depressed."
"That would work out perfectly," said Rachel, "We're going to Marva's this weekend, I just need to find out which day and let you know."
So, it was Saturday. As soon as I said, "Ray, who's coming?" he ran to the door to wait. He didn't know who he was waiting for, but he knew someone fun was coming.
Rachel and Josh dropped Murphy with us then went to take Marvelous Marva to lunch.
Ray and Murphy played a bit, then we went for a walk around the lake, then they dismembered the Easter Bunny. A good time was had by all.
And the best part? Murphy is coming back today with Josh, Rachel, and Marva for Easter dinner.

Hey Ray, he's behind you.

What do you mean we killed the Easter Bunny?

Well, who knew? Easter Bunny parts taste good.
Uh. Happy Easter.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

She's got a WHAT?

Ray was howling at the door as Moonie and I got in the car and pulled out of the driveway. I had found it necessary to close him up in the dining room while I slipped the cat into her carrier. I was familiar with the drill because it happens whenever I take Moonie to the vet. The minute I bring the carrier inside, Ray gets anxious and jogs nervously around the house while I snag the cat and put her into the travel device. When Moonie starts yowling, Ray whines. When we leave the house, he howls and scratches frantically at the door. I'm not sure what his thought process is, I can't tell if he is worried I won't bring her back, or if he wants to go with her, but it really upsets him when I take his cat away.
I had found a lump on Moonie's abdomen the previous evening when I was giving her a bellyrub. I was pretty sure that it hadn't been there the night before that, and I was very concerned that it might be a tumor of some kind. So we were on our way to see the vet.
It was snowing, so I threw a blanket over Moonie's cage to keep the cold air off of her. As usual, she meowed the whole way there but became quiet when we arrived. We didn't have to wait for long.
"Her weight is maintaining," said Dr. Kim as she looked at Moonie's chart, "That's good. Where is the lump that you felt?"
The vet was running her hands over Moonie's belly as she asked me the question. Her hands stopped and she looked at me.
"Is this what you felt?" she asked.
I reached under Moonie, felt the lump, and nodded.
Dr. Kim said, "It's a hernia."
"Huh?" I said, thinking I had misunderstood.
"It's a hernia," repeated the vet, "Usually kittens have them. I've never seen one on an old cat like this."
"As far as I know she hasn't been moving furniture or anything," I said, "How would she get it?"
"I have no idea," replied the vet.
She told me to monitor it to make sure it doesn't get bigger and told me what great shape Moonie is in for an old cat with kidney disease. Moonie sat on the table and purred. I opened up her cage and the old cat spryly scooted in, ready to go home.
Ray met us at the door happy to have his cat home safely, then ran upstairs to tell Hugo that his sister was home.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Some help please

Do any of Ray's fans speak Russian? I have a problem and I need the help of a Russian-speaker.
Every so often, a rather unusual problem crops up with a blog. Something in it is obviously mistranslated and Russian adult content-seekers* are misdirected to Ray's blog. I know this because the blog's 'Stats' page all of a sudden shows a spike in hits for a particular posting (a couple hundred pageviews instead of the usual 39.5).
"How do you know it's Russian adult-content-seekers?" you ask.
I know because, also on the 'Stats' page, is a list of the referring websites and URLs. I have learned the hard way not to click on any of these referring websites and URLs if they are dot ru (i.e. Russian).
So here's my problem. In the past when this happened, I was able to take a guess at the word or phrase in the blog that was probably causing the misdirection and was able to change it to something else. This time, I have NO idea what it is about this blog that is causing adult-content-seekers to visit Ray's blog.
So here is the link to the posting that is causing the problem.
If any of you have any ideas as to what needs to be changed, please let me know.

* Notice my cagey use of "adult content" instead of the word nrop - you have to read that word backwards - so that more adult-content-seekers aren't misdirected here.

**I edited and re-edited the offending post to take out as many words as possible. Then I changed the title. It was still getting hits from the adult-content-seekers. So I deleted the thing.

Friday, March 22, 2013


For those of you who remember equations from your basic Algebra class, here's some homework to keep your brain firing on all cylinders:

1. Choose the best answer below for the following equation: Moonie + y = cat head in plate; where y is equal to a plate on the table with food item noted.

a. y = beef
b. y = fish
c. y = pork
d. y = all of the above

2. Choose the best answer below for the following equation:  x + Hugo = black cat pawing at food but never really touching it; where x is equal to something Hugo wants.
a. x = salmon
bx = pork
c. x = something, but he's not quite sure what it is, but he's sure that he wants it 
d. x = all of the above

3Choose the best answer below for the following equation:   x + Ray = dog head in lap; where x is equal to a person eating the food item noted.  

a.  x = peanut butter
b.  x = scones
c.  x = bacon
d. x = all of the above

4. Choose the best answer below for the following equation: x + y + z = the total annoyance level of person who's space is being violated. Where x, y, and z are annoyance level, on a ten point scale, caused by Moonie, Hugo, and Ray respectively for the above types of begging.
a. x = 8; y = 2; z = 5
b. x = 5; y = 5; z = 5
c. it doesn't really matter, we don't do anything about it anyway.
d. a and c
e. b and c

1. d
2. d
3. d
4. d

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

There Goes the Neighborhood

Catching some Rays
"This neighborhood is going pot," said my neighbor, Bill, as he walked past my house.
"Why do you say that?" I inquired.
"Used to be when I walked around, I would see girls in bathing suits lying on blankets in the sun," he said, laughing, "Now it's just Ray the hound dog."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Poof, There he is

There are two things that I cannot do without getting the attention of the blind hound. One is pick my shoes out of the pile o' shoes next to the front door (I know I've mentioned that one before) and the other is pick his food dish off of the kitchen floor and put it in the sink to wash. No matter where he is in the house, no matter how soundly he is sleeping, no matter how quietly I perform these tasks; Ray will hear and appear.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

NEWS FLASH -- Ray the Blind Dog Abandons Bone

In an unprecedented display, Ray the Blind Dog, a self-proclaimed rawhide bone lover, abandoned his favorite toy for the newer, more exciting treat-ball
Despite some initial misgivings on the part of Ray's person, the hound has shown himself to be a Genius Dog in the treat-extraction arena. However, treat-enjoyment has presented itself as something of a challenge to the dog because of that 'whole blind thing.' In the thrill of the chase, random treats are passed over and left abandoned on the carpet to be spotted and pointed out by Ray's caddy. The caddy is also responsible for rescuing the stray and stuck ball.
Ray's person, Jean, considers bone-abandonment to be a temporary aberration on the part of the noted rawhide-bone connoisseur.
When questioned, Jean said, "Ray went outside this morning to get his bone, but then he just dropped it on the carpet, left it, and went to play with the treat-ball. I was stunned! I think he'll come back to rawhide, though. I mean, it's not like you can play keep-away around the coffee table with a plastic cube!"
Ray the Blind Dog declined to comment on his recent obsession.

Oh sorry, didn't realize you were right there. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rite of Spring

"C'mon Ray, let's go do yard work," I said to my hound.
Immediately, Ray headed for the back door, then turned to see if I was really coming or if I was trying to trick him. I jammed a hat on my head, put on my gardening gloves and opened the backdoor. Ray took two steps outside, turned, grabbed my hand, ripped off the glove, and ran.
Laughing, I ran after him.
"Don't you put a hole in that!" I warned him as I watched him slap himself silly with it.
Ray stopped for a brief second, then just as I got close enough to snatch my glove, took off again. I chased him down, pried my glove from his jaws, and got to work.
His annual glove-grabbing ritual completed, Ray also got down to work. He dug a few holes. He ate some mud. He lay in the sun until it got cloudy, then he dug some more holes. He yelled at the back fence.
Ray's trajectory 
After a few hours of trimming plants and pulling weeds, I was done. Followed by my trusty dog, I entered the kitchen. Obviously, at some point during his work, Ray had gotten thirsty and had gone inside to get a drink. The trail of mud clods followed his usual route from the dog door, across the kitchen to the far cabinets, then to his water bowl.

I went to get a broom. While I was sweeping up the mud clods, Ray ambled out the dog door with a rawhide bone in his mouth. Obliviously, I went about my chores. Ten minutes later, I was sweeping up more mud.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Animal Intelligence?

Having a deaf cat (Moonie) and a scaredy cat (Hugo) in the same household can be illuminating. This morning I think I learned something. Maybe not, but the occurrence gave me something to think about.

Hugo is, and always has been, alarmed by everything; an awkward movement, a step in his general direction, an unexpected noise. Just about anything will make him run for the stairs. Moonie, on the other hand, is not.

This morning, in the kitchen, I cracked an egg on the counter. Hugo panicked and shot from the room. Moonie, in the same room obliviously enjoying her surroundings, saw her brother flee, stood up in alarm, and headed for the door at a creaky clip. But then she did something smart, she stopped and checked to see if Ray was still sleeping in his chair. He was.
Moonie, only being afraid of Ray because he trips over her every-now-and-again (blind dog+deaf cat = occasional collision), looked over her shoulder to make sure that there were no other bogeymen around, then went back into the kitchen to her little dish of milk.

You are in my power. heh, heh, heh
I have to admit I was a bit surprised at Moonie's show of intelligence. Gregg doesn't like me saying it, he thinks it's mean, but I only recently concluded that Moonie is not the brightest bulb on the tree* or the sharpest tool in the shed. I always thought she looked like she was thinking deep thoughts until I realized there's little in her brainbox but moths.
So this show of smarts was an eye opener for me. Moonie is not as dumb as she makes out, maybe, just maybe, the joke is on me. Maybe she's the genius in the house and we're all just pawns in her game, feeding her whenever she howls, moving a litterbox into her bedroom so she doesn't have to walk down the stairs, and buying her a heated bed so that her old bones are comfortable.
I think I'll test her out on one of those genius dog toys. See what she can do with it.

*for some really hilarious descriptions of intelligence (or lack thereof) check out this page . I can't wait to use "Has a mind like a steel trap: rusty and illegal in 37 states". 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ray's New Toy

Ray has a new toy. I bought it for him because Murphy had brought one over the last time she was here and Ray immediately took to it. So much so, that I had to take it away almost as soon as it hit the floor because Ray became 'overprotective' of it. He was equally entranced with a similar toy of Tucker's.
I'd been looking for one for awhile and when I finally found one, I thought long and hard before buying it. Almost twenty dollars is a lot of money for a dog toy, especially since I couldn't be sure he would play with it, and I didn't know how long it would last. But being the sucker I am for a certain blind hound, I bought the thing and brought it home.
The toy is one of those interactive treat cubes, designed to keep smart dogs busy. I was hoping it would do the same for blind dogs. It's made of hard plastic and has a hole on one side that is an insert that twists out and into which go the treats.
When I got it home and actually read the packaging, I found that the toy was for "Learning Level: Genius." Although my inclination was to immediately take it back, I didn't want to appear like I didn't have confidence in my dog's learning ability or intelligence level, so I filled it with a handful of treats, set it on the easiest setting, and rolled it onto the floor.
There is no doubt that Ray likes his new toy. He is fascinated by the hole out of which treats are dispensed. Unfortunately for Ray, treats are not dispensed unless the cube is rolled over so that the hole faces the floor. I had to get involved to show him how it was done.
I rolled the cube. Three treats fell out. Ray gobbled them up. I rolled the cube again. Another treat fell out. Ray snuffled around, found it, and gobbled IT up.
"Push it," I told the dog.
Ray shoved the cube with his nose a bit. It slid across the carpet.
"Push it, Ray," I encouraged him again.
Ray pushed the cube again, the cube turned over, treats rattled, but nothing came out.
"Good BOY, Ray!" I said.
We played with the cube for fifteen or twenty minutes. Ray was having some success. Mostly he learned that every time I touched the cube, treats magically appeared.
The next day, Ray played with it again by himself. I watched him and used the same words over and over "Push it, Ray" and then "Good BOY, Ray!" every time the cube turned over.
ggghya! I wish I had a tongue like an anteater
Maybe if I bite it....
nnnnggggg, can't quite get my teeth in there... 
How the heck does this thing work???????
 I think eventually he's going to figure it out. Although, he does tend to get stuck whenever that hole faces up.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Beaten by a Nose

It was the day of the snow. Ray and I were walking around the block. As we approached the house around the corner, the one with Ray's favorite baby and favorite little kids, Ray's tail started to wag furiously. I saw a very small snowman, about two feet tall, positioned on the strip of snow-covered grass next to the street. The little snowman was wearing a scarf and hat; a carrot was lying in the snow next to him.
Overjoyed that one of his kids was outside playing, Ray rushed to the snowman fully expecting the usual warm greeting. Instead, he was met with a cold one.
Confused and disappointed, Ray sniffed the snowman up one side and down the other, his tail wagging less and less as he realized that he'd been duped. Again and again, his nose returned to the hat and the scarf. The head of the unstable little snowman plopped at his feet. Ray nibbled the hat sadly.
I pulled the dejected dog away from his faux snow-friend and we continued on our way.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Weather Report

The day before yesterday, the weather was like this:
Weather: sunny and warmish
Yesterday, the weather was like this:
Weather: snowy and slushy

 The problem with having an OCD dog is, no matter what the weather, the schedule must be maintained or the owner will be subjected to pitiful whining. Which tends to be a good thing for an owner that needs her exercise.
So yesterday morning Gregg and I strapped Ray into his foul-weather coat and took him for a walk around the block.
It's in Ray's contract that he gets two walks/day, so we did this twice.
The upside to walking in the horrible weather, we got to see things one normally doesn't, like crocus wearing snow caps.

Would you mind pointing that camera somewhere else?
I need to use the facilities.
Crocus in caps.
And in Ray's view, the downside to the foul weather, it turned out to be a good day to try silly hats on my dog. 
Dog in hat.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Back to the Eye Doctor

Today was Ray's two week checkup after his eye pressure was abnormally high. I have to admit, I was worried. In the two weeks that we'd been "dropping the dog" three times a day, his eye never looked significantly different. It was still a bit weepy and bloodshot looking.
This time, we got right in to see the doctor with no waiting.
She aimed the 'gun' in Ray's eye.
"It's 17," she said.
As usual, I said, "That's good, right?"
"Yes," she replied.
"I gotta say, I was really worried," I said, relieved. "His eye was kinda goopy the whole time."
"That's because he has a blocked tear duct," said the doctor. "We'll take care of that."
She called in an assistant and said, "We need to unblock his tear duct."
I told Ray to sit. The assistant came up behind him to hold him, but Ray sat calmly while the doctor picked up a really long needle. I turned away. He never moved while she performed the one second procedure.
"Look," she said holding up Ray's muzzle, "See the green liquid coming out of his nose? That means his duct is clear now. I put it in his eye, there."
She pointed to the corner of Ray's eye.
Ray sneezed a couple of times to get the dark green stuff out.
"Go back to giving him the drops twice a day, and come back in two weeks to get his pressure checked again," instructed the doctor, "We'll see if that works."
I thanked her, we paid the bill, and headed home to celebrate.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Coincidences Happen

For the past week or two, I've been ripping out closets; doing the demolition, repairing the walls, painting, and installing a new closet "system."
At the same time, in my spare time, I've been editing old blogs.
Which brings me to a strange coincidence.
In order to rip out the closets, I needed to remove everything and put it somewhere else. Clothes went one place, linens went another, and shoes went into big sacks.
But, since Gregg still needed access to his shoes (gotta put something on those feet to go to work), he took a few pair and lined them up in a row in the room he refers to as his 'study.'  Last night after coming home from work, Gregg went upstairs to change out of his suit and to leave his work shoes with their brethren in a row in his study. When he came back down, he had news.
"My tassels are gone," he said calmly.
"You're kidding," I said, laughing.
Ray hadn't touched a shoe in forever.
Here's the coincidence part -
Yesterday, I was editing a blog called Fourth of July Fun where I had pointed out for the first time that Ray had a shoe fetish. Although I haven't gotten yet to the blogs about Ray's preference for Gregg's tasseled loafers, I thought it was a very strange coincidence that I would be editing a blog about Ray's penchant for shoes on the very day he chose to demonstrate it.