It was hour seven of the eight hour trip to South Carolina. Ray, who had been sleeping peacefully in the reconfigured back seat with his head on a pillow that was resting atop a plastic bag containing two boxed pies and two pink sugar cookies, stood up and blocked my vision in the rear-view mirror. I waited patiently for him to do as he had been doing every couple of hours, turn a few circles and then lie back down in a more comfortable position. Instead, my vision remained blocked.
"What's Ray doing?" I asked my sister.
Kathy turned to look over her shoulder.
"I don't know," she replied, and then "Ray! Ray!
In my rear view I could see that Ray was intent on something in front of him.
"He's in the pie" said Kathy rather calmly for someone that had paid a large amount of money for them.
"What?!" I cried, "Get him out of there!"
Kathy tried grabbing Ray's collar and pulling him away from the bag but couldn't get a good grip on him. I could hear the bag rustling as Ray continued to forage.
I reached my hand back and poked the dog.
"Leave it!" I commanded the hound in my best stern, dog-commanding voice.
As always, Ray ignored me.
Kathy unbuckled her seat belt, turned in her seat, and pulled Ray away from the bag long enough to grab it by the handles and haul it over the seat-back and onto her lap.
"Did he get the pies?" I asked anxiously as Kathy examined the contents of the bag.
"No,"she replied holding up one of the pink-sprinkled cookies, "He just chewed on one of Hannah's cookies."
There was a definite nibble gone from the edge of the pink butterfly cookie that we had bought for my eight-year-old niece. Teeth marks edged the half moon shape and a bit of dog-spit glistened in the sunlight.
"What time is it?" I asked my sister.
"Four" she replied.
"Well, it is his dinner time," I said as explanation for my dog's bad behavior, "He always eats at four."
Kathy broke off a small piece of the cookie and gave it to Ray.
"That's all you get," she said, then asked "What should we do with the rest of it?"
"Give it to Hannah," I replied, "Just tell her that Ray was hungry and needed a bit."
"Ok," said Kathy, "There's nothing wrong with a bit of dog slobber on your food anyways."
She replaced the cookie in the bag with the pies and held it on her lap for the remainder of the trip. Thwarted, Ray turned a circle, got comfortable, and went back to sleep.