Thursday, January 30, 2014

Just an Impression

I was going to post these two photos of Ray and Juno, just because they were so cute, but something nagged at me every time I looked at them. I soon realized that, for some reason, they reminded me of paintings; specifically they reminded me of the Tahitian paintings by Paul Gauguin. 
I decided to look at images of Gauguin's paintings,  pick one or two that were somewhat similar, and then post them alongside these photos of Ray and Juno, but I found that I couldn't narrow my choices enough (although I did kinda like The Fisherwomen of Tahiti). Some of the paintings have similar colors, others have similar composition. So I've decided to just put this out there: If the two of you that still follow this blog are bored, Google "tahitian paintings by paul gauguin" click on the "Images" tab, skim through the pictures, and post the name of your selection in the comments. I'm VERY interested in what you think.


Below added after reviewing the current comments:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shades of Play

"Juno, stop that," I said sharply to my little troublemaker.

Juno had been playing with her tiny, stuffed mousie, batting it back and forth along the bottom edge of the cellular shade that slides sideways to cover the sliding glass door. She and Harvey both like the racket that the shade makes when they attack the bottom edge and so they carry their toys there to play. The shade being a very useful (keeps the cold out) and rather expensive item, I'm not thrilled with their choice of play area, hence the kitty correction.

I heard dog feet hit the floor upstairs. Ray, who had been sleeping on our bed was headed downstairs to take care of the problem. He likes it when I reprimand the cats and feels it necessary to join in whenever possible.

Ray trotted up behind the little cat. Juno ignored him until his big paw reached out to give her a whack then dodged him and quickly darted under an end table and behind a wooden box containing stashed yarn. Well protected, she turned and looked at the blind hound, awaiting developments.

Ears deployed in dumbo mode, Ray searched along the sliding shade looking for her. Not having much success, he turned to leave. As soon as he did so, Juno rushed out and attacked the bottom of the shade again, reaching under it to bat her mousie. At the sound of the shade, Ray spun around and rushed back. Juno shot for the end table and watched the dog, a definite gleam of mischief in her eye.

Deciding that the end table was the place, Ray reached out a paw and felt around trying to dig out the miscreant. Juno waited for him to move, then seeing her mousie just beyond the yarn box, reached out her paw and hooked it with one claw, rattling the shade in the process. Again hearing the shade rattle, Ray jumped both paws in the direction of the noise, landing squarely on the mousie. He nosed his prize, and deciding it was worth further investigation, gingerly picked it up in his teeth and tried to carry it away.

Still attached, and not willing to give up her mousie, Juno pulled back. A tug-of-war ensued. Vastly outweighed, the little cat quickly lost the battle. Ray happily withdrew with his prize. Outraged, Juno watched as Ray used one big paw to hold her tiny toy to the ground and pick at it with his teeth.

Unable to get a good grip on such a small item, Ray left it and went to curl up on his chair. He had barely laid down when Juno went to fetch her mousie. She carried it back to her play area; the shade rattled. The big dog leapt from his resting place. The game continued.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014


It's been cold. Really cold. Because of it, Ray and I have been limited to a quick walk around the block in the late afternoon when the temperature finally reaches about 20º (-6º C). Obviously, this is not enough exercise for a bored, blind dog and Ray lets me know it in a variety of different ways.

  • He whines. 
  • He gets into stuff. 
  • He whines. 
  • He chases the cats. 
  • He whines. 
  • He counter surfs. 
  • He whines some more. 
  • He follows me around the house, whining. 
Whining is not my favorite dog noise. Ray knows this and uses it to his advantage. It's the number one reason he gets walked two or three miles every single day. If he doesn't, he whines.

But there is nothing I can do about the cold weather, and since it wasn't supposed to make it to 20º until three in the afternoon, an entire day of whining stretched before me.

I thought of giving Ray a rawhide bone to distract him, and although giving Ray a rawhide bone does keep him busy him for a good while, it has a downside. Bones must be immediately planted after a quick two or three turns around the coffee table. It takes forever to find a good burial spot in the backyard anymore, (I'm surprised the bones aren't stacked three-deep), and with the coldy-cold-cold weather and the snow covering the ground, I had to eliminate the rawhide bone as a distraction. 

Thankfully, I had a bag of rawhide chips. For some reason, rawhide chips are not constrained by the same rules as rawhide bones; they do not require immediate burial and, unlike bones, can be buried in couch or chair cushions in an emergency. (I don't make the rules, I just write about them).

Ray was happy to accept the chip and immediately started around the coffee table with it. Knowing my role in the scenario, I picked up my coffee cup and followed.

After about ten trips through the hallway and kitchen and around the coffee table, I was getting dizzy. I stopped and changed direction. Ray did too. The game continued. After the next ten trips I realized that Ray wasn't going to give up. He was determined to get his exercise by doing laps.

I left him to it but found myself wondering if an exercise video showing Ray's strict regimen would have any commercial value.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow Day

We're expecting 4-10 inches of snow today.
I didn't realize it was supposed to be indoors.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sew What

All I wanted to do was a little sewing. But doing anything with kittens around is funstrating; funny and frustrating at the same time. Throw a blind dog into the mix and you might as well just call it a day.
I spread out my cutting board on the floor, put a piece of a fabric on top of it, and BAM, I had cats. Shortly thereafter, I had dog.

Hey Harvey, you gotta try this out, it's really comfortable.
What are you guys talking about?
 Oh, you mean this?
So Ray, what do you think?
Huh. Not too bad.
Hey wait a minute…is that Harvey?!
Sigh. I'm always just missing him
heh heh heh. I like having a blind dog.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Something up my Sleeve

Harvey and Juno were due for booster shots. Since the weather has been a bit nippy, I bundled up in my Carhartt, pre-warmed the car, then loaded Ray's kittens into their carrier and off we went.

Harvey went first. He took his shot like a kitten then jumped down onto the chair on which I had draped my coat, burrowing into the warm interior while the vet, Dr. Kopp, and I turned our attention to Juno.

As Dr. Kopp readied the shot, I turned to Harvey to see how he was doing. I lifted a fold of the coat and peered inside. No Harvey. I lifted the coat from the chair to see if perhaps Harvey was underneath it. The garment was strangely heavy. Not content with his original warm hiding place, Harvey had wedged himself into the unyielding fabric of the sleeve. As I lifted the coat higher, Harvey's head popped out of the cuff.

While all the vet personnel came to see Harvey's magic show, I laughed myself silly. Juno, meanwhile, received her booster.

(Juno) I wonder if there's enough room in that sleeve for me?

I am Harvey the Magnificent. The sleeve trick is only one of my many illusions.
Now watch me make a can of cat food disappear. 
*Thanks to Rosemary for the photos.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Odd Arrangements

I know from experience that cats sleep weird. They seem to be comfortable in the oddest places and positions. Here is some photographic proof.
Sleep Position 1.
The butt-higher-than-the-head sleep

Sleep Position 2.
The Christmas-decoration-removal-assist sleep
Sleep Position 3.
The pouring-out-of-the-bed sleep

Sleep Position 4.
The comfy-newspaper-recycling-basket sleep
Sleep Position 5.
The dual on-top-of-cat-underneath-cat sleep

Well, Ray, finally accepting the fact that, since his pack is cats, he must be a cat too, got into the spirit of the thing and squished himself into a cat bed. I have to admit, I was quite impressed.

Sleep Position 6.
The I'm-not-sure-I understand-the-attraction-to-these-
uncomfortable-positions-but-I'm-willing-to-give-it-a-try sleep
Sleep Position 7.
The unusually-normal sleep position demonstrating the relative size 
of the bed into which Ray squoze himself.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Power of Suggestion

I was standing in front of Ray holding a partially-constructed harness. I wanted to try it on him to make sure it fit before I sewed on the last little bit which I thought was going to be too short. It was past Ray's bedtime so he was cosily ensconced in his chair.
"Hey Ray," I said coaxingly, "Could you get up so I can try this on you?"
I jangled the harness hardware trying to lure Ray into thinking we were going to go for a delightful walk in the frigid darkness.
Ray's eyebrows showed me he was listening but he made no move to get up out of his chair.
I sighed. It seemed a bit mean to drag a sleeping dog out of bed to try on new clothing so I pondered my options.
Followed by my trusty cat, Juno, I went to the treat cabinet and extracted a Ray fave, a dried chicken strip. Still followed by an even more interested cat, I returned to the alertly 'sleeping' dog and waved the chicken strip under his nose. The nose twitched. The head lifted. The dog didn't move.
I broke the chicken strip into pieces and dropped them into Ray's bowl just a few feet away, each one pinging as it hit the metal of the dog dish. Ray's eyebrows listened intently, but still he didn't move.
Juno, always interested in the things that go into the dog dish was examining the dehydrated chicken.
"Ray, Juno's going to eat your treat," I said urgently.
Ray eyebrows twitched frantically, he started to drool, but still he didn't move.
Juno reached into Ray's dish and touched one of the chicken pieces, moving it across the metal dish. The sound of someone potentially eating his treat was too much for Ray, he hauled himself out of his chair and went to investigate. The little cat moved a fraction of an inch away and watched, fascinated, as the big dog ate her new toy.
Couldn't you pick a different color?
I feel like a crossing guard.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Gregg and I were sitting in our respective spots trying to eat breakfast. Harvey was draped across my lap being petted and purring blissfully. Juno, who had been lounging on the back of the couch behind my head jealously watching her brother, jumped down onto the cushion, climbed onto my lap and sat on top of her brother. Ray was standing in front of Gregg, head down, waiting for him to move so that he could steal Gregg's chair.
"I'm not moving, Ray," said Gregg to the hound.
Taking Gregg at his word, Ray moseyed on over to where I was sitting with the cats. I patted the empty couch next to me.
"Come on, Ray," I encouraged.
Ray didn't move. He wanted my spot, not the one next to me.
Harvey eyed the dog nervously but didn't move either. Having Juno lying on top of him was an effective deterrent to flight.
Ray wandered back to Gregg's chair to see if Gregg had changed his mind. Gregg hadn't.
Not discouraged in the least, Ray ambled back to the couch to see if maybe I had moved in the last minute. I hadn't.
I patted the couch next to me again.
"C'mon Ray," I said to the wandering dog.
Uninterested, Ray went back to Gregg who just shook his head and said "Unh uh."
At this, Ray headed for the front hall. I knew what he was going to do.
"Now he's going to get into something to get some attention," I said to no one in particular.
Ray disappeared from view. I heard shoes shuffling.
"Gregg, are your new boots over there?" I said to my lovely husband.
Gregg screamed and jumped out of his chair. Ray dropped the new boot and started back to the living room.
No fool, Gregg quickly sat down again.
I patted the couch next to me.
"C'mere Ray," I said to the not-quite-clever-enough dog.
Ray stopped in front of me but disdained the spot I was offering. Knowing what I had to do to get some peace, I held on to my lapful of kittens and tried to scoot over without disturbing them, but the cats scattered. Ray climbed up onto the pre-warmed cushion and made himself comfortable. Juno returned and curled up on my lap. I shifted her over to lie on Ray who gave her a vigorous ear-washing, Juno took it as long as she could then
got up to reclaim her lap. Ray put his head on the pillow along the arm of the couch and sacked out. Juno stretched out and closed her eyes. Harvey was nowhere to be seen.
All was quiet.

Friday, January 3, 2014


Either this is the dog equivalent of "the cat that swallowed the canary" or somebody has been playing with the cat toys again.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

That Sinking Feeling

We  were walking a somewhat unfamiliar trail. Most of the trail wound through woods adjacent to a lake, but part of the trail became a sidewalk and diverged through a townhouse community before continuing on. As the walk was fairly long, Gregg and I had been passing the leash back and forth between us, but at the moment, I was steering. As usual, Ray was leading.
Seeing a slight gap between the left edge of the sidewalk and the abutting grass that a blind dog could step into a find awkward, I warned Ray with a "careful" and pulled his leash a bit to the right.
I was too late. Ray's back paw hit the edge of the sidewalk and slid off into the gap. I watched stunned as his entire back leg disappeared.
Gregg ran to the dog and hauled Ray's back end up out of a chasm. What had looked like a small gap from the sidewalk was really an area of erosion around a drain pipe that traversed under the sidewalk.
"Oh my gosh, Ray, are you ok?" I asked the dog.
Ray took a few steps then stood and shook himself all over, shaking off the experience.
"That was a huge hole," I said to the dog, "You're lucky you didn't get hurt!"
Ray snorted indignantly and started off down the sidewalk again.
"That was really scary," I said to Gregg and Ray.
"It was," agreed Gregg.
Ray yawned. Obviously, all in a day's work for a blind hound.