Saturday, June 14, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

The trip back from South Carolina was long and uneventful. On the trip down, I had taken advantage of Ray's good nature by stopping and taking him for only two very quick walks. This time Ray wouldn't let me. On the second of our stops, after a quick loop around the rest area, as we approached the car, Ray stopped dead. I tried to urge him forward with a "Let's go home, Ray," but he would have none of it. He pulled against the end of his leash letting me know in no uncertain terms that no-way-no-how was he getting back into that car without more exercise. I didn't blame him and couldn't complain. We turned and did a larger loop. When we returned to the car a second time, Ray still wouldn't go near it. Third time is the charm though. We did the loop again, this time at a jog. After the third trip around, Ray obligingly re-entered the car and immediately went to sleep.

By the time we arrived home we were both beat. I unloaded the car and then immediately fed Ray. That morning, as soon as he knew we were traveling and not wanting to be overlooked and inadvertently left behind, Ray had followed me with his nose pad pressed to my butt cheek while I packed up the car. As usual, he had refused all sustenance.

As I prepared his evening meal, Juno, happy to see her long-lost buddy, wound round his legs. When Ray stretched his neck down to see who it was, she touched his nose with hers a couple of times. Ray stood stock still, looking pleased at the reception and then ate his meal with gusto.

After a short burst of activity, Ray settled down in his favorite spot but in a position I had never seen before. I figured it must be the doggy equivalent of sitting around in boxer shorts after spending time in the presence of people with whom one is just not that comfortable. Ray was obviously very happy to be home.

Friday, June 13, 2014

It's All Relative

This week my sister, Mary from Illinois, arrived at mom and dad's with her husband, Mike, and Ray's first-cousin-once-removed, Vincent. My sisters and Mike and Vincent and, of course,  John, Yuko, and Hannah were all here to celebrate my mom's birthday. Ray's story started five years ago with my sisters, my mom's birthday, and a roadtrip. So, while we were celebrating mom's 91 years on this earth, mentally, I was celebrating Ray's arrival into the lives of Gregg and I.

Ray spent his vacation in the usual way:
  • Walking with his cousin, Flower Power
  • Playing with Hannah, yelling at her, and chasing her around when she stole his bone
  • Getting his belly rubbed by doting relatives
  • Laying in the sun
  • Stealing Vincent's coon-skin cap and trying to shred it
  • Well, how was I supposed to know it was a hat, 
    it smells like a dog toy.
  • Yelling at the neighbors splashing in their swimming pool
Well, actually the last two are new things for Ray. I couldn't blame him for stealing Vincent's hat. Ray had a dog toy that was remarkably similar in appearance. As for the swimming neighbors, this is the first time we've visited mom and dad when someone was actually using the pool next door. Ray has the same reaction to people splashing in pools that he does to waves splashing on the beach. I'm guessing that Ray thought that all the people were drowning. Although our household found it funny, the neighbors were not amused so Ray spent a considerable amount of the last two days confined to the house.

You're right, it is better as a hat.
(photo courtesy of Vincent)
Because of the extra guests in the house, Ray and I were relegated to the guest room that had only one twin bed, a room that we had never inhabited before. Since Ray always starts out the night on the couch and makes his way to the bedroom sometime in the middle of the night, I was worried that Mary and Mike would be joined by an unexpected roommate. Ray, however, had no problem identifying the correct bedroom. At his usual mid-night hour, he shoved open the bedroom door and stood bedside, whining to be hauled up. But Ray is a total bedhog and there wasn't much of a bed to begin with, so I had strategically placed his mattress on the floor next to me. After whining and pacing and whining and pacing, and jumping his feet up on the edge of the bed and whining some more, Ray finally gave up and settled down on his bed.
Definite grassy notes with a hint of cat, dirt, and weeds. 
A fine bouquet indeed.
The next morning, I woke up to feel the mattress moving. As there was no dog carcass on the bed with me, I was momentarily confused. I groggily looked over the side of the bed and saw only half a dog. At some point after Ray had settled in on his cushion, his back end had slid off and ended up under the bed. Unable to see where he was or what had happened to his back legs, Ray was well and truly stuck.
I stifled my laugh. Ray does not have good luck with twin beds. No wonder he is afraid of them.
The next night Ray made the wise decision to spend the entire night on the couch.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Old Cadger

Bored with chasing flies at home, Ray needed a change of scenery. So, we packed up the car and once again headed south for a visit with Ray's grandparents.
Pesky fly
Ray is such a good traveler (I hope I didn't just jinx it), that I don't hesitate to take him with me. But like all good children, he becomes a spoiled brat when he visits his indulgent grandparents; favorite niece, Hannah; and doting aunt, Yuko. Ray's aunt Kathy from Colorado was also going to be there to help pamper the blind dog. It's not that Ray becomes destructive, or whiney, or gets underfoot, it's just that, when he visits, he becomes Ray, Master of the Panhandlers. I'm sure my brother, John, is part of the problem. John is Master of the Grill.
Ray doesn't beg at the table at home. He will try to con a piece of cheese or meat when I'm working at the kitchen counter, but Ray leaves Gregg and me alone while we're eating. (Although when Yuko and Hannah are visiting us, Ray instantly transforms to Master P.)

When Ray walks through the door at Nannie and Grandpa's house, everyone is cautioned not to give him anything at the table but, truthfully, no one can totally resist those imploring eyes. My only request of my soft-hearted relatives, is that any scraps of food given to Ray must be put in his dish.

What do you mean you're just eating raw cabbage?

Uncle John, you make the best
Mind if I have a bite?
Did he really just leave his plate unattended?

Hey Hannah, can I have a bite? Pleeeeeeeeze.
Hey Grandpa, mom says you can put food in my dish if you want to.

Pssssst, Aunt Kathy, mom's not looking... 
Aunt Yuko, I love you so much...

It's fun having a blind dog around the house.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Game of Bones

I had just picked up my knitting when Ray appeared at the sliding glass door, rawhide stogie gripped between black doggie lips, tail wagging. I put my knitting back down and sighed. It looked like a game of keepaway was about to begin.

"Gimme that bone, Ray," I said as I slid open the door and stepped out into the late afternoon humidity.

The happy dog trotted away, tossing his head in a classic "nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, I've got the bone and you don't" move. I followed Ray into the yard and watched as he cantered down the open stretch of green grass then turned and circled back to try to tempt me to follow him. As he got within arm's reach, I stretched out and grabbed the end of his stogie. Ray did not let go, as he sometimes does, so that he can chase me, he clamped down his teeth and continued walking. As I let go of the rawhide, I realized this was going to be a "chase Ray until he decides to bury his bone"game.

After a couple of turns around the yard, I became distracted by blooming things. Ray wandered off, looking for the perfect resting spot for his rawhide. A minute later, there was a yell. Then another one. I paid no attention because Ray often yells for no apparent reason when we are in the backyard together.
After the fifth or sixth yell, I looked away from my flowers, obviously there was a reason that Ray was yelling this time.

"What's up, Ray?" I asked.

Ray yelled again. He was standing, ears deployed in Dumbo mode, in front of the fence between us and his pug neighbors, Archie and Dory, the bone on the ground in front of him. His tail was wagging tentatively, but he was at attention, on the lookout for bone robbers. He yelled again.

I walked to the fence and looked between the slats. Blind Archie was directly opposite, poking at the dirt with one paw. Dory was next to him looking interested but obviously willing to let her blind brother do all the work to get to the prize. Ray yelled again. And again. And again. And again. My quiet time in the garden at an end, I retired to the house. The yelling did not stop.

Exasperated at the noise I stuck my head out the back door and counterproductively yelled for quiet. It was not forthcoming. Knowing what I had to do, I strode to the scene and confiscated Ray's bone.
"Come inside," I said to the dog.

Because I had his bone, Ray anxiously followed me into the house. I handed it to him and watched as he turned and went through the dog door and right back to the spot where his friends had been. Ray dropped the bone in front of him and waited. And waited. And waited. His friends, however, had moved on.

Juno, meanwhile, watched the scenario play out from the comfort of her new favorite hangout.


They're not coming back are they?
Maybe I'll wait just a little longer….
This isn't quite as interesting as Game of Thrones, is it?