Thursday, February 27, 2014


I was sitting in Gregg's chair with a purring, kneading Harvey on my lap. Ray was stretched out in a sunbeam on the couch across from us, whining.
Ray knows Harvey by his purr and when Harvey purrs, Ray whines, groans, and makes noises like a humpback whale. I'm not sure why. He just does.
All of a sudden, Ray jumped off of the couch and came toward us. Harvey stopped purring but didn't dash for cover or jump up onto the back of the chair behind me, he just remained quietly on my lap, watching the dog warily.
Ray nosed around, found the cat, gave his ear a quick two licks then turned around and went back to his sunbeam.
Harvey resumed purring. I resumed petting. There was a big question mark floating in the air above us.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


While Ray recuperates, here's a bit about the cats.


Breed (conjecture): Siamese and something with short black hair and long white hair.
Body type: Long, lean, muscular, and athletic.
Fur: Short, smooth, sleek, black and white with some long white hairs that poke out of the short black coat.
Characteristics:  Very busy; roams the house looking for things to do. Likes to play in water, especially the toilet. Counter-surfs for things to eat or to knock off of it. Sleeps on his back with a smile on his face. Fastidious. Likes to use the sandbox while it is being cleaned or immediately thereafter. Covers his poop and his sister's when she forgets. Plays catch as long as it's a challenge (i.e. - no easy throws right to him). Loves the laser pointer and knows the sound of the chain it is on; will come running when he hears it. Loves to be on the bed for bedspread removal so that he can be rolled up in it. Sleeps with Gregg. Likes lap contact once or twice a day and enjoys being picked up and carried around. Attacks his sister without warning. Likes wool.
Ok, you've got 15 minutes and then
 I've got things to do
Favorite pastime: Laser pointer chasing; watching birds at the feeder. Playing with the dangly cord on the cellular shade
Relationship with Ray: Finds him fascinating but slightly scary. Likes to play with the moving tail and enjoys the game of chase Ray around the table with his bone. Hisses and bats at Ray when he invades cat space.
No. It was like that when I found it. Really.
Space invader alert!


Breed (conjecture): Part dumpling, part dolphin.
Body type: Small, soft, round and highly un-athletic.
Fur: Fuzzy like a kitten, medium length. Soft as a baby alpaca 
This makes a much better bed than a toy basket.
Characteristics: Can be found in the kitchen lounging on the heated tile floor. Will eat anything dropped; prefers human food although cat food and dog food will do in a pinch. Makes no discernible cat noises; all noises sound dolphiny. Always smells slightly poopy unless Harvey can get to her and clean her up. Doesn't like to be cleaned by Harvey. Likes to steal things out of the studio and carry them downstairs to play with. Likes to be on the bed for bedspread removal so that she can be rolled up in it or attack Harvey when he is rolled up in it. Sleeps on top of the wicker hamper in the bedroom until she knows I'm awake, then goes into spasms of delight while trying to wipe cat snot on my face. Lap cat extraordinaire; likes to be as close to the face as possible, preferably up one nostril or gazing adoringly up one nostril. Wants to be picked up and carried around on HER TERMS ONLY. Likes wool.
No, it was like this when I found it. Really.
Did anyone ever tell you that you have lovely nostrils?
Favorite pastime: Shredding paper esp. kleenex in boxes and toilet paper; newspapers are also fun.
Relationship with Ray: Likes him. Tries to rub her face on his to mark him as hers (but he moves too much). Knows he's not quite right and cuts him some slack when he steps on her. 
Hey, look what I found in the studio!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Another Bad Day for Ray

My lovely husband was taking a shower.

"You're going to have to stay home from work," I yelled through the bathroom door, "There's something wrong with Ray's foot and I'm going to need your help getting him to the vet."

"What?" yelled Gregg.

I yelled again adding, "Ray won't put his back foot down. He's holding it off the floor and won't walk."

Gregg had turned off the water.

"OK," he said, "I'll be down in a minute."

When Gregg got downstairs, Ray was standing in the hallway head down, foot up, looking pathetic.

"When can we take him?" asked Gregg.

"I'll call the vet as soon as they open," I replied.

It was only 6:00 a.m., we had at least an hour and a half to wait.

Using a towel slung under his backend, we helped Ray outside so that he could pee, then helped him back to his spot on the couch.

By 11:00 a.m. we were at the vet. Ray was moving slowly, taking baby steps, his head down. We were shown to an examination room. Ray stood for a while, then stretched his lanky frame flat out on the floor. Dr. Lonam entered.

"Let's stand him up," he said.

We encouraged Ray to his feet. The vet watched him move a bit and then, as Ray tried to lay down again, lifted the dog to the examination table, laying him on his side. Ray was as malleable as putty, stretched out with his head on my arm, not moving a muscle.

Dr. Lonam examined Ray, asking us questions as he manipulated Ray's leg and hip, felt the dog's joints, and looked at his paw. He then took a blood sample and went away.

Ray never moved. I found myself thinking that this is what it would be like at the end. Ray, unmoving and trusting, stretched out on a table as the last injection was prepared. I shook the dark thought away, sure that it was brought on by our recent losses of Moonie and Hugo, and concentrated on comforting the blind hound even though he did not seem particularly distressed.

The vet came back and we discussed potential  diagnoses. The blood test was normal and since Ray was fine the previous evening, the possibility existed that he had slipped on an icy patch when he had gone out to pee the night before and pulled some back muscles. He was given an injection for pain and an anti-inflamatory.

"He'll probably throw up within the next ten minutes or so," said the vet as he went off to write up Ray's discharge papers and get us a quantity of anti-inflamatory and pain meds.

We led Ray to the waiting room. Like the previous week at the eye doctor's, Ray stood woozily, his body swaying from side to side, then stretched out on the floor. Minutes later, he roused himself enough to throw up just as Dr. Lonam emerged with the pills.

"That was fast," said the vet as he turned on his heels, left the room, then returned with a roll of paper towels.

He handed me the pills and bent to clean up the dog barf. I pocketed the pills and handed Gregg Ray's leash.

"Why don't you see if you can get him in the car before he passes out. I'll settle up," I said to my lovely husband.

Dr. Lonam gave me instructions as Gregg led the drunk from the room. I paid the bill and went to meet my spouse. The drunk was in the back seat, drooling.

Where am I?
When we got him home, we wrestled the dog from the back of the car. Ray wove his way to the house then stood in the front hall, his back legs stretched out unusually far from his front. His brain had obviously stopped functioning.
The blind dog stood, unmoving. I tried to tempt him with a dog bed placed next to him but Ray was uninterested. I knew what he wanted, so I took him by the collar and led him to his spot on the couch and, with Gregg's help, lifted him onto it.

Where am I?
Instead of laying down and making himself comfortable, Ray stood like an uncomfortable-looking statue with his head hanging over the back of couch. After a few minutes of watching him, I turned him a bit, grabbed his front legs and stretched them out in front of him, the position looked terribly awkward but the drugged dog did nothing to correct the situation. After another wait of several minutes, we watched as Ray slowly lowered his head and fell into a deep, drugged sleep.

Where am I?

where am i?


Monday, February 17, 2014


Juno was in the family room, chirping. She's a talker, our girl cat, but she doesn't meow, she chirps; just  a little noise that lets us know where she is at any given moment.

I wasn't really paying attention. I was engrossed in a project in the next room. But on some level I knew she was chirping and knew that Ray had ambled by and was headed in her general direction. But I didn't put two and two together. The chirping continued.

Then something clicked in my brain and I went to investigate.

Juno was stretched out on the sweater blanket, a recently completed throw made out of old, felted wool sweaters which turned out to be the new favorite of everyone in the house (well, the animals and myself). Ray, being the dog that he is, wanted the spot and did what he always does; he climbed up to claim it. Juno, being the cat that she is, declined to give  the spot over to the blind hound and chirped at him to let him know it was hers. Ray, respecting the chirp decided that sharing was a good idea; he curled up next to the small cat and used her as a pillow for his large doggy head. Juno took the immense weight as long as she could (about a minute), kicked at the head to get it off of her, and shortly thereafter, decamped.
Hm, these cat pillows are pretty comfy.
Get OFF of me dog!
Cat pillows are more comfy when they don't kick. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

VIDEO ALERT: Ray the Blind Dog and the Crunchy Snow

We had snow this week; a bit over a foot of snow that was immediately followed by sleet/rain which formed a crunchy layer of ice.
The morning after the rain was a bit tricky for the blind hound, but bones don't bury themselves. Ray headed out to do the necessary.
I filmed from the warmth of the house.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day….

….from Ray and all of his friends. 

I don't know about you, dude, but I feel pretty silly.
And my butt is cold.

(Ray and Ike)
These are my girlfriends Maddy (left) and Kappy (center)
Please don't let that dog pee on me.
Wha?????????? A HEART? WHOSE HEART?
This heart has a little too much fiber for my taste.
I like my hearts with a little more blood.
Hey Ray, what's with the necklaces? 
(Chester and Ray)
Happy Valentine's Day! Do I look sexy? I feel sexy. Wanna play?
Let's go outside. Do you have any treats? Where's my brother?
Thanks for coming over.  Do you have any treats?
Wanna chase a squirrel? Let's play. Do you have any treats...
Hi! I'm Blind Archie. Happy Valentine's Day!
What do you mean I'm looking in the wrong direction?
This is my favorite room. It smells like little girl
and it's full of dog toys. Can I move in?
(Ray and Ellie)
These are my favorite next door neighbors. Hey, wait, where's Phoebe?
Hey Phoebe, we're going to be famous! Make sure that you smile.
(Dory and Phoebe)
Happy Valentine's Day to all of my friends,
those that I've met and those that I've yet to meet.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


We had just finished our afternoon preprandial walk around the block. Since Ray knows that he is fed immediately after this exercise, it has become the let's-go-as-fast-as-we-can around the block. But with the cold weather and the extra ten pounds of clothing that I have to wear to stay warm, it has become more of a let's-lumber-like-the-giant-marshmallow-man-in-GhostBusters around the block.
When we got home, I turned Ray loose in the backyard. I needed to haul the trash bins to the curb and Ray always likes to announce the Rolling of the Bins. I watched as he took off like a rocket for the back fence then turned and dragged both of the bins through the gate. When I turned back to close the gate behind me, I glanced up. Ray was standing next to a tree in full-on flinch mode. I slammed the gate shut and raced for my dog.
By the time I got to him, Ray was rubbing his left eye with one of his paws. I put my hand under his head and forced it up to take a look. Usually when Ray runs into something, he hits the top of his head or his nose. This time he had taken the hit with his eye. The skin on the back of my neck crawled as I saw blood on the top and bottom lid and in both corners of his eye.
I took ahold of Ray's collar and led him to the house. Ray stood calmly as I gently wiped the area around his eye with a wet paper towel. I changed the towel three times, getting slightly less blood each time. His upper eyelid was starting to swell. I called the eye doctor.
"That's not good," said the receptionist as I told her what happened, "Bring him in now."
I bundled Ray into the car. Despite the rush hour traffic, we made it in less than half an hour, but still by the time we arrived, Ray looked like he was balancing a walnut on his forhead.
As soon as we entered the waiting room, one of the vet techs came to take Ray.
"I'm going to give him a shot of pain killer and one to take down the swelling," she said as she led him away.
I sat down. The waiting room was filled to capacity. To take my mind off, I chatted with the people opposite, asking about their dogs and telling Ray stories.
The eye doctor came out from the back.
"His eye is fine," she said, "The (glaucoma) pressure is still good. He just scratched his eyelids. We gave him a shot for the pain and one for the swelling. It should be down by tomorrow morning. I'll send you home with a gel for his eye. Just put it in three times a day. If you could wait, I'll type up the report."
The vet tech returned leading Ray. He immediately headed to the door and pressed his nose against the glass wanting to go home. I stood at the counter for a while waiting for the doctor's report, then when I realized that the doctor had resumed her appointments and that it was going to be awhile, I sat back down and waited.
Being the largest dog in the waiting room by at least 40 pounds, Ray was garnering some attention and also some sympathy when people realized he was blind. But Ray was ready to go home. He ignored all the dogs and everyone in the room and just stood at the door, waiting.
I soon realized that the pain killer that Ray had been given was having some affect. He looked like a drunk standing at the bar swaying from side to side, waiting for one more drink. His knees started to buckle. An "aw" went up from the waiting room occupants. Ray straightened his knees and swayed a bit more, then rethinking his stance on standing, sank to the floor with an old man's groan and laid down in a Sphinx position. Another "aw" went up from the waiting room crowd.
I waited a bit then told the receptionist that I was going to put Ray in the car while he could still move. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to lift him in if he was going to pass out. I got Ray up from the floor, led him to the car, lifted his front feet into the back of the car, then hauled his rear end in after the front. Ray stood in the back, swaying.
"Lay down, Ray," I told my drunk dog.
Ray didn't move.
I returned to the vet's to get the report with the instructions and the gel, paid my bill and left.
Ray was still standing in the back of the car.
"Lay down, Ray," I told my drunk dog again.
Ray just looked at me blankly, swaying and drooling a bit. I wondered briefly if he had sustained some brain damage from the run-in with the tree, but by the time we got home, Ray was curled in the back seat in his usual tiny ball.
This presented another problem. Now that he was comfortable, Ray didn't want to move. I went to the house, deposited my belongings and then back to the car for the hound. I managed to get Ray to his feet and to the edge of the seat, then coaxed him out, holding him around his barrel chest so that he didn't do a face-plant when he jumped out of the car. Taking the path of a snake, Ray walked sinuously to the house under his own steam. He hesitated briefly when he entered the house, then headed straight to his spot on the couch where he remained for the rest of the night.

If this house is going down, I want to be
with the guy wearing the flotation device.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What the….?

Ray was relaxing on his chair. Gregg was in his spot, I was in mine, and Juno was lounging on the wooden chair sitting atop the coffee table. Harvey was prowling. He stealthily crept up to Ray's chair. Tentatively, the cat stretched his neck way up and sniffed at Ray's snout. Oblivious, Ray did not move.
With one lightning strike, Harvey bapped the lounging dog on the nose and then darted from the room.
Surprised, Ray drew his head back but otherwise did nothing. Harvey hadn't used claws.
"HEY," said Gregg, "That was MEAN. That was just MEAN."
I laughed.
"It really was," I agreed, "But I don't think Harvey liked the way Ray was 'staring' at him."
"That was just so mean," said Gregg again and again.
We watched as Harvey snuck back into the room and up to Ray and, just because he could, Harvey bapped Ray one more time.
"HEY," said Gregg in absolute outrage.
I laughed.
Ray looked intrigued.