Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

…and right on cue, the creatures stopped stirring.

Merry Christmas everyone 
from Ray the Blind Dog 
and Family

Monday, December 22, 2014

Strange Dog

"Is he always this weird after a bath?" Gregg's voice wafted up the staircase.
"What's he doing?" I shouted back.
I was cleaning the bathroom after having shunted the dripping dog to a waiting Gregg. I had known for a couple of weeks that Ray needed a bath because he'd been sneaking into the laundry room and stealing fabric softener sheets to roll on. Strangely, the hound can't stand the smell of stinky dog.
"He's racing around and acting all goofy," the voice replied.
"Did he go out back and dig a hole?" I queried.
"Yeah," replied Gregg.
"Then, yeah, that's normal," I answered, grinning, thinking of Ray's SOP (standard operating procedure) and hoping that Gregg would knock some of the dirt off of Ray's belly and legs and clean his claws before letting him back into the house.
Fifteen minutes later, the fluffy dog was stretched out on his blanket on the bed. His belly and legs were clean; his claws however were caked with mud. Two out of three, I thought. Not bad.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Naughty List

I heard paper ripping, never a good sound when one is not the one doing the ripping. I hurried into the front hall and found Ray happily tearing open a present. I saw with horror that it was Gregg's present from my sister, Kathy. When I had opened the box from Colorado on the previous day, I had left the gift on the kitchen counter. Gregg must have dropped it under the tree when he got home, I thought as I extracted the ever-so-slightly-damp-and-dog-toothed book from the grinning Ray.
When Gregg got home that night I met him with the news.
"Did you put it under the tree?" I asked him about the gift.
"No," replied my lovely husband, "Last time I saw it, it was on the kitchen counter."
I shook my head ruefully, amazed, as always, 
that a blind hound would know that there was a wrapped present on the kitchen counter. Although, why Ray would think that someone was sending him a BOOK for Christmas is a bit of a mystery.
In an entirely different, but totally related, vein. Someone ate the top off of a cinnamon bun left on the same kitchen counter. It was tidily done; the bun never moved from where it had been left, but the frosting was gone. Although I can't be 100% sure, I'm fairly certain The Dumpling did it. She of the broad palate. Harvey has a much more refined taste in food. Juno will eat anything not nailed down.
So that's two of the three kids on Santa's naughty list. For now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lesson Learned

I am completely and deeply offended that you do not
want me to assist with the decorating
We had just finished decorating the tree. It had sat naked but for lights for over a week and now the final string of gold beads was hung. It was finally done. I breathed a sigh of satisfaction and went to sit and admire our handiwork.

As always, Ray was a gigantic help, positioning himself between me and the tree or me and the bin of ornaments until, in total exasperation, I told him to "Golaydown." Ray huffily complied only to be replaced by Juno and Harvey. While Harvey enjoyed basking in the shade of the tree under construction, Juno took a more Ray-like approach to the whole process. Although, instead of getting between me and the decorations, she just positioned her dumpling self on top of them.

This is AWESOME.
I think we should always have a tree here.
Hmmm hmmm hmmm. Hmm hmm hmmm
jingle all the way…
As I sat relaxing and enjoying the moment, I heard lapping. Harvey, feeling a bit thirsty after all the activity, was helping himself to the Christmas-tree-water. Having read just recently that animals should not be allowed to drink Christmas-tree-water, I yelled in my dog-correction voice "Hey! Get outta there!"

…oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh
Whereas the reaction from Ray would be a look of mild enquiry, the reaction from Harvey was a bit more dramatic; he exploded from under the tree taking with him a string of lights, a length of gold beads, and three ornaments. I heard the dog-gate crash as the panic-stricken cat shot through the small-animal escape hatch, and then the fhwwwwip of the cat flap into the garage.

Laughing, outraged, and feeling more than a bit bad about Harvey, I went to re-decorate the tree. In his frantic flight, Harvey had unplugged the string of lights and snapped an ornament in two. The other ornaments had been stripped out of their dangly holders. I re-hung the gold beads on the lower branches of the tree and went to look for the scaredy-cat.

You don't like Jingle Bells? I know others.
Harvey was hiding in the garage. Although he came out of his hiding place when I called, he wouldn't let me approach him, just mewed and paced anxiously. I saw a flash of orange out of the corner of my eye and realized that he had been followed by Juno who was also hiding and wouldn't come out at all.
That is, wouldn't come out at all until Gregg came and shook the treat can. The Dumpling came right inside. It took Harvey two more hours to calm down.

Note to self: Do not use dog-correction voice with cats.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Monkey Fur, you say?

"Does Harvey sleep on the chair anymore since I replaced his cloud with monkey fur?" I asked Gregg.

The preceding sentence sounds cryptic, but the meaning is clear enough if you know that the recliner in the family room had been appropriated by Harvey ever since I had to semi-destuff one of Ray's beds just before a trip south to fit it into the car. I had left the de-stuffing in a heap on the chair, and while Ray and I were out of town, Harvey took to sleeping on the pile. The blissful frenzy of kneading that occurred before every nap convinced us to leave the pile of stuffing on the chair and refer to it as "Harvey's Cloud." Recently, however, I bought some furry fabric and made a cushion, stuffed it with Harvey's Cloud, and put it back on the recliner. I hadn't noticed if Harvey had resumed sleeping on it since the replacement.

"He uses it," replied Gregg, "I saw him on it just recently."
"Good," I said, "I would have hated to take away his favorite sleeping place."

An hour or so later, Ray, having of course understood every single word I had said, and needing to check out the comfort level of monkey fur, was sleeping on Harvey's new cushion.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Not Michelin Rated

I had been doing a spot of Christmas shopping. (I hate shopping in general and Christmas shopping in specific but a body's got to do what a body's got to do.) It was 2:00, I still hadn't eaten lunch and I was more than a little hungry so, in a moment of lunacy, drove through a McDonalds and picked up two cheeseburgers. I thought I was hungrier than one cheeseburger, knew I wasn't as hungry as two, but since I was on my way home I figured I would just share my second cheeseburger with Ray.

When I arrived home, I was greeted at the front door. I got Ray's usual half-hearted tail-wag, the one that says "Oh, it's you again? I was hoping for someone better" but since I was carrying a sack of food, was then trailed by the hound into the kitchen.

Thinking I needed a laugh after my fruitless shopping expedition, I extracted a french fry ('chip' for the British contingent) and handed it to the Nose who was intently sniffing at the countertop where resided the sack. As expected, Ray, a dog of exquisite taste and sensibility, curled his lips back, took the fry gingerly between his teeth so that it could touch no part of his anatomy, and spat it contemptuously on the ground. I laughed.

I then took the remaining burger out of the bag, tore it in half, removed the bun, the pickle, and the ketchup and handed it to the dog. Ray, never having had a McDonalds cheeseburger before, took it suspiciously. Holding it in his teeth by one edge, he flapped it up and down a bit then, determining through the flapping process that it was indeed food, Ray let the cheeseburger enter his mouth. A great display of head bobbing and theatrical chewing ensued. At length, the small piece of burger was consumed. What passes for cheese, however, was expelled as a slimy glob onto the kitchen floor. The discriminating dog had spoken loudly without uttering a sound.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Photo Phriday

A random assortment of photos from the last few months

Ahhhhhh. I love my couch. SO MUCH
Do you want the shoe? Do ya punk?
Then come and get it
I don't know why, but I'm feeling a bit creeped out.
I'm waiting for the next presidential race to run again.
You're in my spot, dog.
Guess I'll just have to settle for something MUCH more comfortable
Ahhhhhh, I love my other couch. SO much
And then the first cat said to the other cat "But that's not a mousie,
that's a vole!"
What? Haven't you ever seen a dog sleeping with a cat before?
(Ray) Move
(Juno) No
(Ray) Move
(Juno) No
(Ray) Move
(Juno) No
there's someone watching me….
….do dee do dee do. I'll just pretend that I don't know

Monday, December 1, 2014

Murder Most Foul (smelling)

I was sitting on the couch in the family room working on a Christmas project, watching TV with half and eye, and ignoring the noises coming from the dining room. Since I and the animals were the only ones home, I knew noises weren't a good thing, but being totally involved in my project, I didn't want to check out the source. I had a pretty good idea whence the noises emanated, and I didn't want to deal with it.
Ray had been lying beside me with his hound-head on top of my shoulder examining my work, but when the noises started, even though the head didn't move, the ears deployed and the eyebrows started their dance of inquisition.
After a few minutes, the hound-head removed itself. Ray sat alertly, looking in the direction of the noises. After a few minutes more, the big, curious dog could stand it no longer. He levered himself from his spot on the couch and, neck outstretched to the max, went to investigate. I sighed and started to put aside my work, an involved process taking several minutes.
I heard a GAK, then another, and another.
Thinking perhaps that Ray had eaten something he shouldn't, I dropped my work in a heap and hurried to the dog.
Ray was standing over a dead vole, his ears fully deployed, his head tilted to one side. Juno, the murderess, had retreated behind the dog gate to the laundry room and was remotely keeping an eye on her prize. As I watched, Ray lowered his head and cautiously sniffed the dead thing. He GAKked recoiled in revulsion, then did the same thing again, then again.
Apparently dead voles are repulsive-smelling to dogs and it takes several sniffs to establish this fact. I retrieved a wad of paper towels and removed the corpse from the room.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

They always know…(part 2: cat edition)

Today was vet appointment day; both the cats were due their vaccines and Ray needed to have blood drawn to get his liver value rechecked. Since Gregg had the day off, I had made appointments for all three at once. I figured, between the two of us we could handle it.
The appointment was for 11:00. Both of the cats had headed outside as soon as the dog door was opened but I wasn't too concerned, Juno is almost always close by and Harvey usually comes home for a mid-morning nap. If not, he will (usually) come when called.
At 10:30 when Gregg and I got home from walking Ray, neither cat was to be found. We started calling. And we called. And called. And called.
At 10:50 I said to Gregg, "You take Ray to the vet. I'll stay around and see if I can find the cats. I know that they have us booked until 11:45 so if I find them before that, I'll stuff them in the carriers and come along."
Gregg agreed, packed the hound in his car, and off he went. I returned outside and shook the treat can, walked up and down the sidewalk, peered over fences, and called, and called, and called.
At 11:30 Gregg called me.
"They've taken Ray to the back to draw his blood, are you coming?" he asked.
"No cats," I replied, "You'll have to reschedule. Just pick a day and get the first appointment of the morning. I won't let them out of the house; I'll just bring them right to the vet."
Gregg agreed. I headed outside to rake leaves. By the time he got home, Juno was here…
Heh heh heh
They always know. I should know better than to believe they would hang around on a vet appointment day.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

They always know...

I was hosting a Do Day, a day when anyone with a project could come over for a couple of hours and work on it. Three people had taken me up on the offer and we were having a good time. Ray of course was thrilled because all three of the people were on his 'favorites' list, which, granted, is rather lengthy.
After enthusiastically greeting each, Ray decided to sit in the only logical place, with the only person in the room who didn't particularly care for dogs.
"How do animals always know which person in the room doesn't like them?" asked my friend, Betty.
"I don't know," I replied, "But they always do."
What do you mean she doesn't like dogs? 

Of course she likes dogs!
As a matter of fact, I'm quite sure she loves dogs!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween used to be one of Ray's favorite holidays. All those kids coming to the door to see him (at least that's what he thought) used to get him really excited. Now that he's older and wiser, Ray knows that they are all coming just to get candy and he's a bit put out. He stays curled in his chair and only gets up to greet those that he knows. It's kinda sad, really. Ray has grown jaded.
Even so, Ray still does enjoy carving pumpkins. This year, for the first time, he even tried a piece to see if maybe it was edible. Apparently, it wasn't.
Because I got caught up in totally redesigning my Halloween display this year, I completely forgot about a costume for Ray. He was off the hook until I realized that I needed a few more fake candles to put in the lanterns (so that there are no tragic accidents involving combustible trick-or-treaters). A quick trip to the store solved my candle problem and, as a bonus, solved the costume problem.
Ray was as thrilled as could be. He donned his headgear and we walked around the block to visit someone that we knew would have dog treats. Unfortunately, she wasn't home.

What do you mean she's not home?

grumble grumble grumble

Are you sure this is ripe?
Here, let me knock on it for you. Let's see if it sounds hollow.
I think it sounds ok... 

A new use for the cone of shame.
A decoration that strikes terror into the hearts of dogs everywhere. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Free at Last

I awoke with a feeling of anticipation, like it was Christmas. The day had finally arrived, Ray was getting his staples out. More importantly, Ray was going to be rid of his unwieldy headgear. A sense of peace descended on me.
I rolled out of bed, and followed by my mobile satellite dish, headed downstairs. Ray clipped his way across the kitchen floor to the back door. It was pitch black outside. I flipped on the light to the patio which did nothing to penetrate the darkness beyond, slipped off Ray's hat, and turned the dog loose outside. He disappeared into the darkness. I waited by the back door. And waited. And waited. 
Growing suspicious at the length of time it was taking my dog to pee, I grabbed a flashlight and went in search. I found him at the farthest reach of the backyard, lying behind a bush, furiously licking his back leg. Ray had become cagier. Every time his hat was removed, he would discreetly disappear just out of eyesight only to be discovered licking his wound. And every time he did so I would wonder how he knew that he was out of sight. 
The trip to the vet went well. The staples were removed, his teeth were given the once-over and Ray was released, disembarrassed at last of the cone of shame.
Upon returning home, and joined by his shadow, Ray celebrated with a nap in the sunshine. (I would caption these photos, but cuteness needs no caption)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Post-op Post

It was 4:45 a.m. Godzilla was climbing the stairs. I heard a crash, then scraping, and then a soft plasticy thud as Ray's Elizabethan collar knocked something over, scraped along the staircase wall, and then ran into the closet at the top of the stairs.

The surgery to remove a growth on Ray's back leg had gone well. The teeth cleaning had revealed a large paddle of gum that had grown down over one canine (which I knew about and had asked to be removed) and a swath of gum that had grown up over all of his bottom front teeth (which I didn't). The vet had removed the paddle and cut back the gum on the bottom to reveal his teeth.

The pre-surgery bloodwork had also discovered that one of Ray's liver values was up. While Ray was under anesthesia, the vet had done a scan of his liver to look for masses but found nothing. We were given liver-health supplements and told that monitoring was the order-of-the-day, for now.

For two days after his ordeal, Ray was a living misery. The mouth rinse given to us by the vet had an added numbing agent. After a day, I also asked her for some pain killers for the poor, miserable hound. Gregg and I kept Ray well-drugged for two days. After that, except for the fact that he wouldn't leave his bandage alone, it was as if nothing had happened.

Superdog. We live with Superdog.

I think the orange complimented my coloring better, don't you?
We tried keeping Ray from his leg using the flotation device (inflatable donut) but the determined dog was no match for it and by Saturday I was bringing him back to the vet to get the wet dressing changed. "No matter what, keep it dry" was the number one instruction. Ray was licking it so much there was a hole through it and it was soaking wet. His florescent orange bandage was swapped out with a florescent yellow one and he came away with a new hat. The cats were oddly unfazed at the appearance of the bizarre fashion statement.

Shhhhhhhh. I'm trying to pick up signals from the mothership.
I always knew that a blind dog wearing a large, protruding, semi-hard plastic collar would not be a good thing to have around, but I had no idea how badly it would affect Ray's navigation. The pitiful hound had absolutely no idea where he was in space. He got lost in his own house and also, apparently, when on the end of his picket in the front yard. After half-an-hour out front on his bed enjoying a nap in the sunshine, I found him on the front porch standing with his collar pressed up against my spinning wheel waiting for me to open the 'door.' He had gone from Superdog to Patheticdog with the donning of his hat.

I'm glad they had this tree down.
It's much more comfortable as a pillow
Ray had his post-op checkup yesterday. We've gone five years without Ray being afraid of going to the vet but that is now over. Although he entered the reception area happily enough, he refused point-blank to retreat to one of the examination rooms. Since no one else was waiting, the vet and vet tech took pity on the poor, blind dog and did his checkup on the spot. The bandage was cut away to reveal a tidy, Frankenstinian-looking, stapled-together incision, perfect for Halloween, and his healing gums were examined. Everything was on track. The hat, however, remains until the middle of next week when Ray gets his staples out.

Ummmmm. Hey, Ray.
You know there's a towel hanging off of your hat, don't you?*

*I was prepping for a party when Ray wandered into the dining room like this. Absolutely pathetic and oh so very funny.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dog Napping

Ray has a spot of surgery coming up tomorrow. He's getting his teeth cleaned and having a growth removed from his back leg; a little pink thing that started out the size of a lentil and rapidly progressed to the size of a peanut. The blood analysis showed a benign skin cyst but the thing is still growing so it will be dispatched forthwith.
Knowing that he will be under the knife, Ray has been conserving his energy. Besides, the cloudy, rainy weather has been making everyone tired.

(a closer shot of the tongue)
Hey! I can be cute too!