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.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ray's New Neighbors (sigh) and One Old Friend

This summer, we had two nice, new couples move onto our cul-de-sac. Both of them expressed the intent of adopting dogs at some point, and I was excited for Ray. His life has been sorely lacking in doggy companionship since Murphy and Halle and Tucker and Jasper had all moved away. And although Ray walks with Sasha, his Husky friend, on occasion, and has contact with Maddie across the street and the pugs next door, they are not really dogs with which he can play.

The first couple to move in were the first to adopt. Ray's greeting of the new neighbor, a Bull Terrier named Willow, was the one he reserves for his bĂȘte noir, the bully breeds. He gave a low growl, a single doghorn blast in the face, and then a total ignore. Not one to take the insult lying down, Willow now goes ballistic every time she passes Ray on the street. Ray pays her no mind. He stares straight ahead and walks on. This seems to infuriate Willow even more. There is no hope for a friendship from that quarter.

Still, I was hopeful that the other new neighbors would adopt a friend for Ray and when I was told that they had added a nine month old "Labrador/Shepherd" mix to the family, I was ecstatic. Finally, a potential friend for Ray.

My elation was short-lived. As Ray and I were walking past the neighbor's house, Luna was being walked out. Ray gave his from-the-belly yell, the one he reserves for Boxers and raccoons. We walked across the street to meet the newcomer. Luna enthusiastically tried to greet Ray. Ray employed his ignore tactic, walking to the end of his leash and looking off into the distance while I fawned over the cute puppy. It was hard to pin-down Luna's exact parentage but Ray was convinced that Boxer was in there somewhere.

Sadly, I resigned myself to the fact that my prejudiced dog was going to remain friendless, but for Juno, to the end of his days.
It's just you and me, dog.

But then, Ray caught a break, albeit a temporary one; Halle, his supermodel girlfriend, was on her way back to Virginia and would be bunking at grandma Deborah's house until Halle's mom found a place of her own. Excitedly, we awaited her homecoming.

The reunion was slightly anticlimactic. We were walking around the block when I saw Halle and Deborah approaching. The weather being foul, California-dwelling-Halle was bundled up in her fashionable bee-coat and less-than-fashionable snow boots. She looked dazed and confused, even more so when Ray started spinning joyous circles around her. Her lack of reaction put a damper on Ray's happiness. He looked slightly embarrassed that Halle didn't seem to remember him and walked to the end of his leash ready to go. I attributed Halle's lack of enthusiasm to the rigors of travel, a cross-country drive, a three hour time change, and being caught wearing unfashionable footwear by a boyfriend that she hadn't seen in more than a year. We escorted her and Deborah back to their house and went on home.

Two days later there was a knock on the door. I opened it to Deborah and Halle.

"We were down at the end of the street and she just started pulling me up this way. She wanted to come  and see Ray," said Deborah smiling.

I let them both in the house and went to call to Ray while Deborah let Halle off of her leash.

"Look who's here, Ray!" I said to the blind hound.

Ray went right to Deborah, while Halle, happy to be here, skipped past him into the kitchen to grab a bite of his food. Ray ignored her. I picked up Ray's dish off of the floor and put it onto the counter. Halle skipped past Ray again and on into the living room. Ray didn't acknowledge her presence. Halle went to Ray's toy basket and started to chew on his bone, a surefire way to get his attention. Ray just stood in the hallway, listening intently, and didn't move.

Turnabout, I thought, she ignored him so he's ignoring her.
Deborah clipped Halle back to her leash and led her away. Ray seemed unfazed by the visit of his former girlfriend.

Today, Ray and Sasha and Todd (Sasha's dad) and I went to see the prodigal girl. Everyone seemed thrilled at being back together. Except for the Supermodel who, upset at her treatment during the previous visit, was giving Ray the cold shoulder again.

Oh Halle's mom, I missed you SO much.
Oh, Halle's mom, I missed you too...
…and I especially missed those butt rubs.

Is it chilly out here or is it just me? 
Good to have you back, Hal!