Sunday, August 2, 2015

Update (part 2): A Visit from Auntie Nik

During the month of April, the fun just kept on coming. Niki Moore, Ray's Number One British Fan, came to spend some quality time with her second favorite blind dog and her second-favorite-blind-dog's-owner.

Taking some time off from tending her own dogs (blind Conor, deaf Twiggy, one-eyed Izzy, wheelchair Rocky, and gargantuan puppy Hooch), cats (Dora, Phoebe, Wilf, and Millie), chickens (Rosie, Lady Mary, Edith, and Sybil), spouse (Jez), and boys (Jamie and Dan), Nik arrived just in time for a plumbing disaster at our house.

Rocky, Twiggy, Izzy, Conor and Jez (the human)
Gargantuan puppy, Hooch
 We didn't realize that we had a plumbing disaster pending; we discovered it while I was making dinner on the night that Nik arrived.When the smoke alarm went off. (I'm sure a smoke alarm during dinner preparation needs no explanation). As I went to knock the alarm off the wall, I noticed some brown spots, about the size and quantity of spare change, on the adjacent ceiling.

"Hey, Gregg," I yelled to my husband, "Have you noticed these spots before?"
Gregg and Niki came to investigate.
"I haven't noticed them before," said Gregg, "They must not have been there for very long. I think we would have seen them."

Niki reached up to point at a slight bulge in the paint next to one of the brown spots.
"This looks like a bubble," she said cheerily.
"Well, there's nothing we can do tonight," I said as I went back to preparing dinner, "I'll call a plumber in the morning."

That night, before going to bed, I put towels on the floor under the effected area. (I dismissed the thought of putting out  buckets which can be a bit of a boobytrap for a blind dog.) Thankfully, the next morning, the towels were dry. However, the brown spots on the ceiling were now the size of dinner plates. I called the plumber.
"It's a pinhole leak in the pipe," said the plumber,
"Unfortunately the pipes are above the ductwork."
Undeterred and unfazed by the events unfolding inside the house, Niki and I went about the business of having fun. We went to buy a new car. 
Nik, modeling my new car.
 We took Ray for a walk around the lake.

Is it just me or is it getting hot?
 We hung out on the front porch.
Oh, Aunt Niki, I'm so glad you're here.
 There was a pajama party on the front walkway.

Hey Ray, listen to this.
There once were two cats from Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many,
So they fought and they fit,
And they scratched and they bit,...

...Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats there weren't any!
You just gotta love a good limerick.

How 'bout a snuggle 

Now, how 'bout a little sugah. 

Oh Ray, Conor would be jealous.
Halle's grandma, Deborah, who is an artist, gave us a painting lesson (subject matter: blind Conor).

Paintings' subject.
Jean, Deborah, Nik and paintings
(The one on the left is best)
We hunted flies…
Ray, I'm pretty sure I saw it go down here.
and made dog-collars for Nik's pack.

On the day before Niki left, Ray was depressed. Nik did her best to cheer him up by hanging out with him on the stairs.  
She's leaving me isn't she.

But Aunt Nik's leaving left a big hole in the blind dog's heart.  

Friday, July 31, 2015

RIP, Chester

In honor of Ray's friend, Chester, who died today, a reposting of the video...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Update (Part 1)

I know it's been a while since I posted anything, so I will endeavor to bring things up to date, starting with this, a video of a visit from Ray's foster mom (Amber) and foster sister (Jordan). They stopped by, back in April, just as Jordan was getting ready to move away from this area. They both figured that it would probably be the last time that they'd be in this neck-of-the-woods, so they made a special effort to come and visit with their favorite blind hound.

I view this video with mixed feelings. I can't help but be thrilled at Ray's joyous reunion with his fosters, but at the same time I can't help but be jealous. All I ever get at the front door, if Ray even bothers to get up off of his chair, is the "Oh, it's you again" look.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Spot

What the heck is this dog doing here?

He should know that this is my spot
Ew, his foot is touching me.

Maybe if I try to ignore him...
Nope. Can't do it. Out damned spotty dog. Out, I say.
I don't know what his problem is. I like the spotty dog. 

Friday, March 27, 2015


I've never been one for high-fashion, preferring jeans and a t-shirt for almost all major occasions. And if there is a trend, I'm always years behind, first having to mull it over to decide whether or not it has merit. But I think Paris Hilton was on to something with her dog-purse. I'm not sure that it can carry much beyond a cow but it does make me feel ever so fashionable.

You have GOT to be kidding me.

Oh well, I guess if I'm going to be a fashion statement,
I'll give it my all.
Here, give me that cow. I'll carry it for you.

No, I'm sorry, I don't carry cows.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time to Get Up

Something roused me. I looked at the clock on the bedside table and saw that it was 12:45 a.m. I lay still, listening. There was a thud and then a rattle and another thud. I poked Gregg.

"I think there's someone in the house," I hissed at him.

"wha? huh?" replied Gregg groggily.

We both lay still listening to the weird noises for a moment which, all of a sudden, sounded like they were coming from right outside the bedroom door. Not wanting to be caught lying down, I slipped out of bed followed immediately by a half-awake husband. I crept to the door and flung it open but saw no thieves-in-the-night. I flipped on the hall light and saw Harvey lying on his side next to the closed door of the linen closet. The edge of the hallway runner next to him was flipped over at the corner. Obviously, he's been playing with a bug, I thought to myself as I looked at the bare floor next to the cat but seeing no bug.

Gregg and I stood and listened but heard no further rattles or thuds.

"It must have been Harvey," I said, then stopped and listened intently; a very faint rhythmic buzzing could be heard in the distance.

"Do you hear that?" I asked Gregg.

We both leaned over the stair railing, listening.

"What is that?" replied Gregg looking perplexed.

"I have NO idea," I said as I started cautiously down the stairs followed closely by Gregg.

When we reached the bottom of the staircase, we both stopped and listened, trying to trace the source of the sound. The buzzing was definitely louder, and it seemed to be coming from the family room. I hit the light switch and looked at Ray curled cozily on the couch, twitching furiously in the throes of a dream. It can't be too bad, I thought to myself, if the dog is still sleeping.

Still mystified, we followed the noise to small alarm clock sitting atop a speaker next to the TV. The alarm function had been turned on, and since neither of us had ever used the clock as an alarm, neither of us recognized the noise.

"How did that get turned on?" asked Gregg incredulously.
"I have NO idea," I responded as I reached over and turned off the clock.*

We returned upstairs to bed. Just as I was pulling up the covers, I had a thought.

"Where's Juno?" I said, thinking that she is usually in the thick of anything that is going on at the moment.

"I don't know," said Gregg as we both climbed back out of bed to look for our pudgy dumpling.

I walked back out into the hallway. Harvey was still lying on his side next to the linen closet door. I reached over and slid open the bifold. Juno strolled out looking like she hadn't a care in the world.

I started laughing, turned, went back to bed, and laughed until I fell asleep.

*We still have no idea how the alarm got turned on. Our best guess is Harvey did it in an attempt to wake us up so that we would rescue Juno.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cow Spot

It was nearing 3:00. I knew this because Ray woke up from a dead sleep and walked over to stand in front of me, whining. I was in the middle of something so I ignored him.

Thinking perhaps that I needed encouragement, Ray went to his toybox, came back with a stuffed floppy thing, and stood in front of me, ears deployed, head tilted, waiting for my reaction.

Still involved, I ignored him.

Convinced that perhaps he didn't have the right toy, Ray returned to the toybox, picked up his stuffed cow and did a turn around the coffee table, enticingly looking over his shoulder.
I sighed, put aside what I was doing, and went to fetch his harness. It was now exactly 3:00, Ray's afternoon walk time.

I laid the harness on the floor and asked Ray to step in. Usually this is enough to get him to drop whatever he is doing and get ready to go. Instead, Ray, with cow in mouth, gingerly stepped into the harness and waited patiently while I fastened the clasps. I picked up my keys, held open the door for the blind cow herder and awaited developments.

Cow still clasped in jaws, Ray pranced into the front yard, the cows arms and legs swinging jauntily. Surprised that the cow was coming with us, I followed Ray down to the corner and around. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the workmen who had been installing underground cables, point and laugh as the big dog jogged by.

Ray continued down the street and to the next corner and around; I followed, always waiting for the dog to get tired of carrying his toy and drop it.

As we neared Halle's house, a man with a brand-spanking-new puppy in his arms, stepped out of his car.
"Hi, Ray!" he said as I stopped to take a whiff of that new puppy smell.

Getting a good look at Ray and his companion, the man looked at me and mouthed the words "So cute," the look of a twelve year old girl talking about her teen idol on his face. I laughed at the incongruity of a man with a puppy talking about the cuteness of the big hound, but Ray was antsy and obviously on a mission so we didn't linger.

Ray stopped at the next driveway
"They're not home yet," I said of Halle's family as I looked at the lack of cars.

Understanding completely, Ray turned and walked to the curbside lamppost, dropped his cow, and left a p-mail. Until that moment, I hadn't realized that Ray was bringing a welcome-home present to his best girl. I waited until he was away from the spot to pick up the cow. I didn't want to hurt his feelings by telling him that Halle is really only interested in gifts of the edible kind.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cabin Fever

I was upstairs, sewing.
Gregg was downstairs, cooking.
Outside, it was snowing.
"Hey, Jean," I heard a definite inquiry as Gregg's voice drifted up the stairs.
"Yeah?" I replied.
"Uh." I heard as he prepared to continue, and then, "Oh, you bad dog."
I got up from my sewing machine and started for the stairs.
"You are such a bad dog," I heard on my way down.
"You are a bad, bad dog." Gregg was walking away from Ray who was reclining like a pasha except he was licking the carpet in front of him. Pasha's don't normally do that.
"Uh oh," I said, "What did he get?"
"A stick of butter," replied Gregg.

I went to get paper towels to dab at the wet spot on the carpet. Returning with a whole roll, I pushed the dog face away from the spot and tried to clean it only to meet with dog nose. I pushed his nose away. Ray resisted. I hauled him to his feet and shooed him away, then saw the trail of butter flecking the carpet where Ray had dropped the stick two or three times on the way to his dining area. I cleaned the trail, knowing exactly which spots needed it the most by the dog nose that kept returning to the scene of his crime.

"So what did you want?" I asked Gregg, thinking of his summons as I started up the stairs to return to my sewing.
"Well, I knew I had left a stick of butter on the counter, but it wasn't there..." replied Gregg.

Ten minutes later, the bored blind hound and his favorite cat were playing hide and seek outside in the snow. It's an easy game for the cat. Not quite so easy for the dog.

Where the heck is she?

Maybe she's over by the grill...

Nope. Doesn't seem to be here.
Maybe she went out the gate...

Wait. What was that? I think I heard something.
I think it was over by the fence

Juno? Are you there?
Yeah, dog. I'm here


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mystery Solved?

For the past couple of weeks, the doghorn has been waking us up in the middle of the night. For the first few nights, convinced that Ray needed to go out, I was getting up to open the door. But after the first week of this, I realized that, unless his bladder had dramatically shrunk overnight, Ray wanted to go out for a different reason. Every night I would watch from the door as the hound raced into the dark and out to the fence where he would poke along, sniffing, his tail curled alertly over his back. He wasn't yelling at anything, just sniffing. I was mystified as to what was setting him off and why he seemed to go off at roughly the same time every night.

Here, I'm just going to leave this blanket next
 to the door for you so that you don't get cold while waiting for me. 
After the first week or so, I became tired of getting up in the cold and the dark to cater to Ray's midnight ramblings. So for the last few nights when the doghorn sounded, I was quick to respond with a stern "go lay down" or "go to bed" or "QUIET." Ray knows all three of these commands (although he likes to ignore the "quiet" one), and would grudgingly comply.

This morning on our daily walk, as we passed the vacant house behind us, I noticed a commercial vehicle in the driveway. Curious, I stopped to take a look. The panel on the side of the van read "Wild Animal Wranglers."

Although I'm trying not to get my hopes up, I am cautiously optimistic that the curious case of the dog in the night has been solved. And that the OCD wild animal that entered or exited its lair at the same time every night is in the process of being conclusively wrangled.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oh, the Power of Cheese

This past weekend, I hosted another Do Day. This time twice as many people attended. Instead of three, there were six (and me), so things were a bit hectic for the first fifteen minutes or so while Ray was turning himself inside-out with joy as his favorites arrived, I was taking coats and drink orders, and people were settling in.

As soon as people were situated, I brought out the cheese tray, dropped it on the coffee table in the middle of the room, then stopped and stood at the door to kitchen watching my dog. Ray's nose twitched.

"You stay away from that," I said sternly to the nosy hound.

Ray walked around the coffee table and settled himself comfortably on the floor, stretched out longways between the couch and coffee table (the room is small, the floorspace just enough for one large hound to stretch out), his head even with the cheese tray but just below the top of the table. I eyed him suspiciously.

"I'm watching you," I said threateningly still standing in the kitchen doorway.

Ray looked at me, his eyebrows dancing, innocence plastered thickly across his face. Thinking that there were enough people in the room to keep him out of mischief, I turned my back to the dog.

Not even a second later, Ray's favorite in the whole world, Caleb, yelled, "Ray, get away from that!"
I turned quickly to see the hound, still reclining but with neck outstretched and head tilted at just the right angle, slurp a piece of cheese from the tray in front of him. I strode to the dog, dragged him to his feet and wrestled him away from the small group of Doers and the irresistible cheese tray.

"So, he just touched that one piece, right?" I asked Caleb.
"No," Caleb replied, "His nose was all over that plate. But it's fine."
Of course, I thought to myself. Ray passed over the Smoked Gouda and the Pepper Jack. He was looking for the cheddar. His favorite.

Ray spent the rest of the afternoon on his picket out front (with his big comfy bed). It was a rare, beautiful February day, with temperatures in the low 70s, but all Ray could think of was cheese. He spent the next couple of hours knocking on the door to get back in the house.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Weather Report

Yesterday, 55 degrees.
Now that's what I'm talking about

Tonight, 14 degrees.