Monday, August 12, 2013


One of the good things about having a blind dog with a winning personality is you get to meet so many nice, interesting people that, otherwise, you never would.

A couple of weeks ago, when Lucian, the bigbossman, was here installing Ray's new patio and front walkway, a friend of his came by to show off her new car and to meet the blind dog. Jennifer, Lucian's friend, has FIVE rescued dogs (two HUMONGOUS ones) as well as two llamas, 17 alpacas, and three horses.

We chatted. Jennifer offered me an alpaca fleece that she just happened to have in the trunk of her new car, and in exchange, I offered her an enormous skein of yarn.

The lines of communication having been opened with fiber, Jennifer then sent Ray and me an invitation to meet her pack o' dogs and all the other animals on her farm. In an effort to get Ray's mind off of his recent loss, and because I really wanted to see Ray's reaction to horses, alpacas, and llamas, this weekend we took a drive out to God's Country to visit Ray's latest conquest.

God's Country

It was a steamy summer day but a good day for a drive with the AC blasting. As usual, Ray curled up in the back seat and went instantly to sleep. The drive was relatively easy. As the scenery grew more scenic, I knew we must be nearing our destination. When we finally lost our Washington, DC radio station, I knew we had arrived.

The initial meeting was a bit rocky. As Ray and I got out of the car, Jennifer exited her house to greet us. The sound of barking dogs followed her. Through the glass front door, one huge head was visible; Sam, one of Jennifer's Tibetan Mastiffs, was excitedly barking a greeting. 

Jennifer and I decided that maybe the best way to introduce the dogs was in the fenced backyard. As Jennifer tried to enter the house to lead the 100+ pound dog out back, he escaped and rushed to greet us. By that time, Ray and I were on the lovely, wrap-around front porch with nowhere to go. Feeling a bit trapped, Ray growled a warning at the young dog. Thinking that Ray was overwhelmed by the exuberance of the  huge, furry pup, I dragged my hound away. Jennifer did the same with Sammy, wrestling him into the house, and then out the back door. 

Meanwhile, I led Ray down the steps to the front yard. Another Tibetan Mastiff was headed our way across the yard. Knowing that these giant dogs are considered guardian dogs, I eyed him nervously wondering if we were going to get eaten, he looked almost big enough to do it. But the dog approached us calmly; Ray's tail started to wag. As Jennifer came back outside, Ray and the furry fellow were greeting each other. Obviously not seeing anything threatening about a blind hound, Drake was unmoved by Ray's presence. 

Ray and Sam's meeting in the backyard was uneventful. Sam, obviously intimidated by such an aggressive dog, wouldn't come down off of the deck. I let Ray off of his leash and he poked around a bit, then, followed by Sammy and Drake, we headed out to the paddocks to meet the other animals. 

(alpaca ladies)
What the heck is making all that NOISE?
As soon as the alpacas saw Ray headed their way, they started bleating. Ray, ears deployed in ultra-Dumbo mode, approached the fence and then, not unexpectedly, started yelling at the interesting scent. Jennifer tried to coax the nervous ladies nearer (the boy alpacas were in a separate paddock), but they politely declined to approach the freakishly noisy thing. 
Do you feel lucky, punk?

We dragged Ray away to meet the horses. Strangely, the horses seemed to like Ray's yelling. As he paced back and forth at the end of his leash, yelling at the new scent, the horses came to the fence to check him out. Ray, not knowing exactly where the fence or the horses were, got a bit too close. Niki, the most beautiful of the three horses, stuck her head over the fence to get a sniff of this new, strangely-noised dog. Her nose gently touched the hound's head. Not knowing what kind of giant was sniffing him, Ray hit the ground like he'd been sledgehammered. Then, tail wagging, and glad that whatever it was that had sniffed him didn't seem to want to eat him, Ray stood, backed up a bit, and yelled some more. 
I smell giants.

We let Ray yell for a bit then, as it was blistering hot and all the dogs were panting as if to expire, we headed up to the house and the air conditioning. 

Ray was then introduced to his dream harem; three old ladies by the names of Maggie, Holly, and Noodles. The three old gals (all in their teens) seemed very happy to have a nice-looking boy in their midst. Ray explored his environs and then passed out on the cool kitchen floor. All the other dogs passed out in various spots within eyesight. Jennifer and I sat, chatted, and ate homemade cake baked in honor of Ray's visit. 

After a couple of hours, I noticed a high-pitched whining. Ray was standing at the front door. I took his hint that maybe we had outstayed our welcome and clipped Ray to his leash. As soon as we got outside, though, Ray pulled me back toward the fascinating horses. We paid them another loud visit, gathered our things, said goodbye to all our new friends, and headed home. 
Maybe I'll get just a little closer... I need a better sniff...
(Ray to Jennifer - Drake is in the background)
Did you know that there are giants living here?

Dang, that dog makes a beautiful sound.
We need to get one of those.
Hey, guess what!
She's got an entire bucket FULL of dog biscuits in here!
I guess this spotted dog isn't that mean after all.
 He sure scared me though.

Man this is FUN.
(Maggie, at rear, to Holly, foreground)
I call dibs on the cute young fella. 
I don't know what the heck they are but they smell HUGE.

Horses, you say?  

Um...can I have a ride?
Oh, thank God they're gone. Guests are SO exhausting.


  1. I'm really glad you were able to bring Ray along! What a neat visit!

    On a related note - remember how you were talking about Ray howling in the middle of the night? You will never guess - but Blueberry woke me up the other night howling! It totally freaked me out and my heart about beat out of my chest. After I calmed down - I realized she had just been howling in her sleep and she ended up waking both of us up. It was so weird because she's NEVER howled. I immediately thought of Ray and how you must feel when he does that kind of thing. Although, you are probably more used to it than I am. :)

    1. While Ray howling in the night is not exactly an uncommon occurrence, it is unusual when he does it more than once during the night. And, truthfully it doesn't freak me out at all. With a big dog around that sounds like Ray, it is HIGHLY unlikely that anyone would be stupid enough to try to break in. I always try to see what it is that he hears just in case it's something interesting, like a fox.

  2. Oh golly I want to live there....oh but I already do, I am the most beautiful horse after all.....haha, what a great visit and as usual a highly entertaining read, just what I need at the end of a dull day. Thanks Ray (and Jean !)

    1. I thought it was pretty coincidental that the beautiful horse had the same name as you. No matter what Jez sez.

  3. Nah, you're just an old nag 'am I a grownup now?' :0p

    Fully copy your comments about this blog entry tho', I was full on LOL =0D

  4. Hey Ray! Niki was looking for you to share her grain this evening and see if you wanted to go swimming with her in the water trough.

    Sammy and all had a great visit and would like you to come out anytime you need a break from the big city. This can be your honorary country house.

    1. Cool ... errrm does that generous open-ended invite apply to young Ray's fans by proxy ;0]

    2. Look out Jennifer! you might have a British Invasion on your hands!

  5. What a great visit! We know exactly what you were explaining about Ray and the animals. The pack has enjoyed meeting all the animals here on the farm and the blind girls are especially interested. Brook was a bit unsure of the sheep but other than that, it's all good. Lucky for all of you that you've made new friends!

  6. Sammy says "Rut Roe" more company!