Thursday, October 31, 2013

Working on Halloween

This Halloween, because of his candidacy, Ray decided not to dress in a silly costume that could be used against him by his opponents, but instead decided to dress as the gubernatorial candidate that he is and take the opportunity to campaign.
While Chester tried to figure out how to rid the porch of a recent vermin infestation, Ray pounded pavement and flopped for votes.

If elected, I promise to let you rub my belly whenever you want.
I'm Ray the Blind Dog, and I support this message.
I look GOOD, don't I?
Chester and the flying vermin.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Howloween Hints

1. Do not let the dog help you while you make up special bags of candy for the neighbors' children.

2. It is a BAD IDEA to use a rolled rawhide for a neckbone when building a ghoul. It may seem to be a good idea at the time, but it is not.

On The Campaign Trail

Chester's sister gives two thumbs up!
Ray has hit the campaign trail running. He believes that having his campaign manager take a vacation in the crucial days before the election has really hurt his chances for making it to the governor's mansion. (Perhaps a reason for our lukewarm reception upon our return home.) To try to make it up to him we have been campaigning hard and have secured promises for votes from several different quarters.

One thing that seems to be working in Ray's favor is his coloring. For some inexplicable reason, Ray becomes more noticeable in the fall. Ray is always a knockout, but at more than any other time of the year, people will jog by and yell out, "Beautiful dog!" or stop and ask us what kind of dog Ray is just so they can tell us how attractive he is. Maybe because of the way the fall sun hits his coat, or the way his colors are complimented by the fall leaves, Ray gets noticed.

It is definitely working to his advantage. When I stop to tell people that Ray is a Redtick Coonhound, I always mention the fact that he is running for governor. Or when people jog by and yell "Beautiful dog!" I yell back, "Vote for Ray!" (I'm sure those people jog on thinking "What the….?"). If people are in no hurry, we explain the bellyrub platform and Ray demonstrates.
Dog and walker proudly support their friend!

Things seem to be going well and word seems to be spreading. When Ray and I went to the vet yesterday to pick up flea treatment, the receptionist took one look at us and, unprompted, shouted out, "I'm voting for Ray!" She then urged all of her co-workers to do the same. Ray took his time with these loyal constituents, indiscriminately kissing the voters, and showing them his platform. I have heard that Just Fur Pets, the doggy daycare that Ray used to frequent, is equally enthusiastic about the candidate.

Only one week left to get the message out. There is a lot still to do.

Entire families are on board with Ray!

Random shoppers show their support!

Old friends...
…and new back the blind dog

The cat vote is secured!
Across-the-street-neighbors are behind the hound!
Casual lake-strollers for Ray!

Groundwork is laid with the Zombie contingent!

Ghouls happily support the bone-digger .

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Debriefing

The day after the day after we arrived home, Bryan from Pooch Pals came to give Gregg and me a debriefing on the candidate's activities while we were gone. I shook my head in disbelief as I watched Ray try to turn himself inside out in the sheer joy of greeting his bodyguard/general factotum after being separated for an entire day. Bryan had a big grin on his face as I described the welcome-home that we had received upon our arrival.
"Our dog sucks," I said to him in mock seriousness.
Bryan laughed then made his way to a chair in the living room followed closely by a leaping, licking Ray. As the bodyguard sat in his chair, the blind hound zeroed in on Bryan's face and the trim beard he wore.
"Maybe he thinks Bryan is part dog," I thought to myself, "He's got a bit of fur on his face. Maybe that's why he's so attractive to Ray."
As I pondered my dog's attraction to Bryan, the half man/half dog waxed poetic about the awesomeness of Ray and told us of all the things they had done together.
Meanwhile, finished with greeting his best friend in the world, Ray came over to the couch where I was sitting, climbed up, curled himself into a ball next to me, and fell fast asleep. I felt better.

The day after we had arrived home, while Gregg and I were walking Ray around the block, we had heard from various neighbors that they hadn't seen Ray around the 'hood while we were gone. Everyone seemed concerned, but I knew I had given Bryan carte blanche to take Ray wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted, and I was sure after Skyping with him that they were out and about all the time.
And they were. Ray went to a dog-park, walked daily with Bryan's other clients, met some of the human owners, and visited Bryan's home, all while being chauffeured around in a convertible. While Gregg and I were on vacation, Ray was having the time of his life. No wonder he loved Bryan. Ray was living the dream.
I was slightly concerned, however, when one of my neighbors said that Bryan hadn't been at the house for the last three nights of our trip. He had been there during the day but was absent at night. I really didn't want to broach the subject because, obviously, Ray was still alive, in good health, and completely gaga over his caretaker, but as a good dog-parent, I felt I had to bring it up.
"Uh, Bryan," I said, inwardly squirming, "One of my neighbors said that you weren't here the last couple of nights and I was just wondering what was up."
Bryan looked very serious when he replied:
"Ray was with me. My business partner was dog-sitting when he had a family emergency and I had to cover for him. So I took Ray with me."
I'm sure I must have looked stunned. Bryan of Pooch Pals, LLC had performed way above my expectations. He had made a command decision in an emergency and taken Ray on a sleepover. Ray LOVES sleepovers.
"Ray LOVES sleepovers," I said aloud to our new-found-permanent-dog-sitter-until-he-dies-or-Ray-dies-whichever-comes-first.
We settled up with Bryan and followed him outside. Bryan walked to his car slowly trailed by a sad, blind hound some distance behind.
"Ray you're staying here," I told my dog.
Ray hesitated then stopped. I walked up next to him and put my hand on his back. We watched Bryan leave then turned and walked back to the house together. Ray climbed onto his spot on the couch, curled up and fell fast asleep again. His vacation had worn him out.
The exhausted dog slept, preparing himself for the rigorous campaign ahead.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vacation is Over (sigh)

"So, what brings you to England?" asked the young gentleman checking us in at the hotel reception desk, not really caring for an answer.
"Oh," I said blithely, "We're here to visit our dog's best friends."
I waited, watching for a reaction. The man's face gave nothing away.
"Aren't you going to ask?" I asked the hotelier wickedly.
The young man's face broke into a broad grin at my tone.
"Dog's best friends...?" he repeated shaking his head and looking at me inquisitively.
I knew he didn't care, but I explained anyway, tickled pink that we were in England because of my blind hound.
Gregg and I spent two days in London before visiting Ray's friends, Niki and Jez, in Newbury. They must be in the running for the world's best hosts because, quite frankly, they were. Although Gregg and I stayed at a nearby hotel, Niki and Jez gave us the run of their house, made us meals, and took us hither and yon to see the sights near and far. Niki also made sure to Skype Bryan, Ray's bodyguard from Pooch Pals, so that we could see what our hound was up to.
Bryan had set the laptop on the coffee table and sat on the floor in front of Ray while the candidate for Governor was cosily curled behind in his favorite chair. While Niki and I quizzed Bryan on the duo's activities, Ray looked bored and a little embarrassed that we would be checking up on him. After hearing Bryan enthuse about Ray's awesomeness, I didn't give my dog a second thought for the remainder of the trip.
While in Newbury, Niki and Jez were also able to provide us with all the animal companionship we could handle. While Gregg got his cat-fix from Phoebe, Dora, and Millie, I was able to cuddle with Conor the Blind Greyhound, Rocky the Wheeled Wonder, and Twiggy the Deaf Dachshund-mix. Also on the agenda during our trip, a visit to a donkey sanctuary where I was persuaded that having a braying donkey and a howling hound in the backyard would probably not be a good idea.
After eight days of enjoying the company of our hosts, seeing Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) from the top of hill high enough to see all of England, climbing the cliff that appeared in Broadchurch,
Gregg, Jez, and Niki view Downton Abbey
  in the distance
Gregg and Jez enjoying a Beer
Niki and Jez enjoying some liquid refreshments
traveling to a village named Beer, and drinking a lot of the liquid variety in numerous pubs, Gregg and I headed back to the States.

When we arrived home, our ride dropped us at the end of the driveway. Chester, our next door neighbor's cat, came running to greet us, meowing loudly and happily at seeing us again. Gregg bent to pet the cat and I heard Chester purring crazily. I picked up the fluff bundle and laughed as he wiped cat spit on my glasses and nose, thrilled to have his property back where it belonged. I rubbed his ears, then put the cat down and dragged my suitcase to the front door anxious to see my dog again.
 Ray met us at the door. He approached me cautiously, sniffed me up one side and down the other, then turned and headed to the dog door. I heard the flap ffffwwppp open and  listened to a ten-minute shout-out in the backyard. I shook my head ruefully. As greetings go it was a bit underwhelming. Sadly, the next door neighbor's cat appeared happier to see us than our own dog.
That there is a cliff.
The beautiful, blind Conor
Rocky wanting whichever he can con,
attention or food
Twiggy, chillin' on the couch
Dora, not exploring
Phoebe and her luxuriant whiskers
Millie, looking mad
Jez with his lap dog.
Rocky, out of  his wheels
Conor in his usual "Oh, am I in the way?" spot
Enjoying the garden
Lap-time with Aunt Jean
and ...
...nap-time in his jimmy-jams
Hounds abound all around
Niki preparing dinner closely
supervised by Mr. Shufflebottom
Ta ta! 
Sniff. We'll miss you Conor.
Maybe someday.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Parents away... Campaigning stills moves forward

My name is Bryan, I am Ray's Campaign manager / security detail while his folks are out of town. I wanted to hop on here and give you an update on how the campaign is going. So far we have spent about 7 days together and I have tried to make them as productive as possible. Over the past week Ray and I have walked around a few lakes, we have made a few visits to the dog park, and we even met a few new friends. This week he won over the votes of Shayna (Golden Retriever), Harry (Wheaten Terrier), Suzuki (Shih Tzu), Sonny (Rottweiler Mix), and Delilah (Pit bull Mix). After walking around with Ray and hearing that charming howl of his, they all immediately gave their support to the candidate. We have been campaigning in Alexandria, Arlington, Burke, and Fairfax; with much success! It seems the candidate wins over the hearts and minds of everyone he meets. It has been a great week but we still have much to do before the parents return!!!

Pictures from the week:

 Isaac and Ray
Ray, Sonny, Harry, and Delilah
Shayna and Ray
Ray even won over this snake and was guaranteed the snake's vote
Ray with Harry do a little roadside Campaigning

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Perfect Fit

The campaign manager's last job was completed late last night. She is now ready for her trip abroad to visit Ray's Number One Fans in England

Knowing that it would be much easier for Ray to stay in familiar surroundings while we are away, we decided to get a dog sitter. After much searching, we hired a professional from Pooch Pals, LLC, to come in and take care of Ray and guard the house. Bryan, a former Marine and a current student, is co-owner of Pooch Pals, LLC, and very well-suited to be a general factotum and bodyguard for the current candidate for Governor of Virginia. 
Ray actually did the choosing. From the moment Bryan walked through the door, Ray was doing his dance of pure joy. It took him at least 10 minutes to calm down enough for Bryan to get past the front hall and into a chair. While Ray continued to try to lick Bryan's face, I gave Bryan the third degree, gave him a briefing on How to Tend to Blind Dogs, and then tried to rattle him by telling him that all the neighbors would be keeping an eye on him because everyone knows Ray. Being a former Marine obviously worked in Bryan's favor. He remained un-rattled, even when I told him that he would have to walk Ray three miles every day, keep up Ray's blog, and Skype with some strange Britishers that wanted to keep an eye on him from across the pond. Bryan even agreed to pet Chester everyday and let Ray outside to lick Chester's ears. Overall, a very accommodating young man. 
Bryan has carte blanche to take Ray with him when he walks other dogs (Pooch Pals does dog-walking and dog-training) and to take him on field trips. However, Bryan doesn't know yet that I have a campaign button waiting here for him. I think the extra exposure will be good for the candidate. 

Mmmmm. Is that a roast beef I taste?

Wow, even your shirt tastes good.

I love you man.

Friday, October 11, 2013


The campaign for Governor is in full swing. With only a couple of days left before leaving on a jet plane, instead of preparing for the impending trip, Ray's campaign manager spent the day (and the entire campaign budget) making yard signs for his (2) supportive fans. 
Poster board + glue sticks + adhesive transparent shelf paper =
a semi-rainproof RAY for GOVERNOR sign
While the campaign manager toiled, Ray honed his campaign strategy and demonstrated his conviction in the bellyrub platform. 
First I flop, then I show them just the hint of my smile.
If this doesn't get votes I don't know what will. 

As with all other campaigns, embarrassing photos of the candidate have surfaced. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I had been shopping, buying some t-shirts without holes in them to wear on our trip abroad. My lovely, furloughed husband was keeping Ray company.
By the time I got home it was well after Ray's afternoon walk-time. When I came through the door, Ray was ecstatic to see me. It warmed my heart to know that after only four years, my dog had finally come to grips with the fact that I was as good as he was going to get.
"I took Ray for a walk," said Gregg as I dropped my purchases on the coffee table.
"Good," I replied, "Thanks."
"We were down around the corner when a lady came running across the street." said Gregg. "She said that she saw Ray's sign and thought it was a great idea. She said that she'd rather vote for Mickey Mouse for Governor than the two guys that are running. So she is going to vote for Ray."
"I guess you must know her from your walks?" enquired my husband.
I asked Gregg where the woman lived. He told me the exact location of her house.
"Nope," I replied, "I don't know her. Never talked to her."
Ray's campaign is gaining momentum. He has three votes now. Our two and the unknown lady down around the corner.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A New Candidate

Here in Virginia, election time approaches. Specifically, we are supposed to be electing a new Governor. Unfortunately, our two candidates are less than stellar, and negative public opinion to both appears to be universal. In good conscience, I have decided that I can't vote for either one. So, it's a good thing that a third candidate has appeared on the horizon to give the others a run for their money.

This new candidate is blind to party politics. He doesn't lie except to get bellyrubs from people, and he loves to kiss the babies, not for any political reason, but because they taste good.

So, here you are Virginians, an alternative candidate for Governor, running on the platform of More Bellyrubs for Ray; the one and only, RAY THE BLIND DOG.

hmmm...."Vote Ray the Blind Dog for Governor." 
HEY WAIT! That's ME!  Uh...what's a Governor?
Did you say that there might be bellyrubs involved?
OK then, let's do this thing.
Do I look Governor-y enough?