Monday, May 20, 2013

The Chosen One

I made a hole in the landscape fabric, dropped in a small lavender plant, then looked around to see where Ray was. Whenever I work in the front yard, to keep Ray from scratching down the door, I let him out and clip him to a long wire cord picketed in the groundcover. Lately, he's been so good about staying around that I haven't bothered with the picket, mainly because, most of the time, he's in a total flop and rarely moves. But when he does move, the cord gets tangled around things and Ray gets stuck. I figured I wasn't going to be out in the front yard for long, so it wouldn't be a problem if Ray was loose. Besides I wanted to film Ray greeting Caleb without the hinderance of a tether.

Caleb, our former neighbor and the genius that designed my blogpage, was coming over to dig out some plants for his new house. Caleb moved away the year before I brought Ray home, so they have only met a few times. But since the very first, Ray's reaction to Caleb has always been the same: complete and total gaga-ness. It's touching and inexplicable, really, but Ray is absolutely bonkers for Caleb. I think they must have been college roommates and/or drinking buddies in a previous life.

I didn't see the dog in the spot in which he had been flopped so I looked a bit further. Ray was tiptoeing up the street toward the house next door. I watched as he went up on the porch and heard the front door open. I put down my trowel.

"Ray! What are you doing here?" I heard the daughter of the house exclaim.
I jogged over just as Ray was flopping on the porch for a bellyrub from William's mom.
"Sorry," I said, "He's looking for William."
William's mom was giving Ray a good scrubbing.
"I thought maybe he'd gotten loose," she replied, standing.
"C'mon, Ray," I said to the blissful dog.
Ray didn't move. William's mom laughed.
"C'mon, Ray, let's go home," I urged the dog.
Ray didn't move.
"Ray, Caleb's coming," I said to the flop-hound.

At that, Ray stood and headed for the steps. I grabbed his collar and guided him down the stoop steps, then turned him loose again. Ray jogged across the lawn, alertly 'looking' from side to side for his friend, then when he hit the sidewalk, loped back towards our house, his head up. I trotted after him, hoping that he was going to stop when he got there.

As he reached the sidewalk in front of our house Ray stopped, his legs slightly splayed, not knowing which way to run to meet his friend.
"Caleb's not here yet," I said to Ray, "He's coming."
Ray tossed around a bit, trying to find his old pal. I snagged his collar and attached him to the picket before he could get away.
"He'll be here soon, Ray, you're just going to have to wait," I said to the excited dog.

Ray stood at attention, straining against the picket, not wanting to miss the arrival of his boon companion. I saw Caleb's pickup turn up the cul-de-sac, ran to get my camera, and unclipped Ray from his restraint just as Caleb pulled up in front of the house. I filmed the relatively subdued, but joyful, reunion.

Greetings over, the three of us decamped to the backyard to dig plants just as it started to rain.

Undeterred by the gentle shower, Caleb and I went to work. Ray, who usually dislikes the rain, wouldn't leave his buddy and stuck around to help. While Caleb and I pointedly targeted and dug out specific leafy specimens, Ray assisted by performing random excavations of his own. Sensing that the holes we were making were perhaps better than his, Ray retrieved his rawhide chip, dropped it into the cavity from which we had just extracted a large bunch of bulbs, and observed incredulously by his friend, used his snout to cover it with dirt.
"I've never seen a dog do that before," said Caleb, "I had no idea they used their nose to cover it over. I  figured they'd use their feet." 
"I know," I replied, "Until I got Ray, I always thought dogs burying bones was one of those things that was just a myth. Or something out of a cartoon..."
We watched as Ray sniffed the ground over the rawhide to make sure it was hidden to his satisfaction, then since all of us had finished our respective jobs, we went inside to dry off.
Leaving Ray to a nice nap, Caleb, Gregg, and I took off to enjoy a nice lunch. Upon our return, we loaded the pickup with the plants. I let Ray out of the house to say goodbye to his amigo. Ray trotted across the lawn to the truck.
"Ray, do you want to go home with Caleb?" I asked the dog.
"Do you wanna come with me, Ray?" Caleb asked the hound laughingly as he opened the back door of his truck.
 Ray immediately went to the truck and jumped his front feet onto the backseat. Ray's back feet were on the curb, his body was straddling the gutter, and he was trembling a bit. The truck was higher than he was used to.
"I usually pick his back legs up and put him in," I said to Caleb (I only do this when I reconfigure the car for a long trip - otherwise Ray knows how high the seat is and can get in himself.)
Caleb obligingly grabbed Ray's hind legs and hoisted the blind dog into the back seat. Still trembling but determined, Ray picked his way gingerly across the gym clothes strewn across the seat and settled himself uncomfortably on a pair of boxing gloves.
"Here let me move those for you," I said to the hound as I pried the gloves out from under him.
Pleased, Ray curled himself up in the same spot on the passenger side that he uses in my car whenever we go anywhere. Nonplussed, Caleb stared at the dog.
"We're never going to get him out of there now," said Gregg shaking his head as he watched from the sidelines the joke-that-had-gone-too-far.
Ok, I'm ready. Let's go.
What do you mean you were just joking????
Caleb walked around the car to the passenger side and said, "C'mon Ray, get down."
Ray didn't budge.
Caleb took hold of Ray's collar, Ray sat up.
(Caleb to Ray)
Y'know you can't come with me, right?
"C'mon Ray," said Caleb giving Ray a gentle tug.
Ray sat back on his haunches, strenuously resisting being moved. Caleb laughed and gave Ray an ear flapping, then grabbed his collar again. I moved around to the passenger side of the truck as well.
"Don't pull his collar," I said to Caleb, "Just hold it so that he doesn't slam into the ground when he jumps."
Caleb kept his hand on Ray's collar.
"C'mon, Ray, let's go," I said to Caleb's dog.
Reluctantly, Ray moved to the edge of the seat and jumped out of the truck.
Looking a bit relieved, Caleb closed the door behind the dog.
"He was ready to go with me," he said shaking his head in disbelief as Ray wandered off toward the house.
"Yeah," I agreed.
I wasn't surprised. I wasn't even offended that Ray was ready to move out. I've always known that Ray wanted his own boy and Caleb was obviously the one he wanted.


  1. Love Ray's face when he "said" "What do you mean you were just joking???"

  2. What a happy greeting! I feel sorry for Ray after he got in the truck and then couldn't go. He sure was happy to see Caleb though. Great video.