Oh dear … Ray!

Ray was estimated at 2 years old when picked up by the Humane Society in Nov 2012 … so that makes him around 10 now.


Above pic taken a few weeks ago.

He has started wandering around the house at night whimpering. Every now and then he will hear something and go rigid for a moment, and then often go behind the sofa in our living room. He used to be sensitive to the furnace starting up, and the sounds of the metal ducting expanding and contracting … but he has experienced that for 8 years, so I would not think that is the issue.

It would appear that whatever he hears is outside our range of hearing but, of course, his hearing ability has always been better than us mere humans! The sound source appears to be elusive because at times he will stop and stare at a particular heating vent; at an electronic device; at a table; at a window; at a different heating vent etc. We know that he reacts badly to power outages (the kitchen stove “clunks” and things “beep”), and he will be startled by similar sounds coming from the TV. Electronic sounds in general cause an “alert” mode, and he cannot be around when we test the smoke detectors.

Just recently, he has taken to coming into my bedroom and gently butting me. If he does not get the desiredΒ  response, he hits me with a heavy front paw! This is usually around 1:00am – 2:00am, and then he tries to ensure that I do not get back to sleep. When I eventually get up and dress at my usual 5:00am, he will sometimes totally crash (sleep), but one morning he continued to wander and whimper. We have some light “sleepy” music playing all night for him now, which may be having an impact.

I have heard heard him nudging the (horizontal) blinds on the windows and, assuming that perhaps it was outside activity that was bothering him, I have raised the blinds sufficient for him to see outside. That appeared to make no difference so perhaps he was just drawing attention to himself? It worked!

In contrast, he will usually be fine sleeping during the day (smoke detectors are still an issue during the day, and “beeps” from electronic devices can still bother him in the evening.). Perhaps he is more tolerant during the day because we are both around which means he does not feel a need to stay awake and protect us? Perhaps he is simply exhausted after an active and stressful night?

While we monitor him and exercise our evaluation skills, we are conscious of the fact that there really could be activity outside which is bothering him (there are coyotes in the neighbourhood), but what has changed since he came here in 2013?Β  Perhaps he is simply over-reacting as a result of getting older? Hallucinating? Early dementia?

Regardless of the rationale for his behaviour, he is in the right place at this time in his life! We will certainly do whatever we can to make his life as stress free as we can, and if we cannot come up with some solutions soon (and if he makes no progress on his own), then we will have to start consulting the professionals! Sadly, his vet moved to California, but we can work around that detail if necessary!

Stay tuned!



49 thoughts on “Oh dear … Ray!

  1. Awww. Poor guy. And how we wish our furry loves could tell us what is wrong. Our Elsa is 9. We have had her 2 years and she has finally taken to leaving her chosen spot in my bedroom in the middle of the night. I think it is her urge to further protect things…much like her assigned “job”. But she does not cry or whine – just sleeps in a new spot.

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  2. Sorry to hear about Ray. I still have one of my 12 year olds and it took me a while to realize that her behavior changes were due to her going deaf. It’s so hard to tell what’s happening. It could be he is going through some changes that scare him and as such, he cleaves more toward his people for security. I know mine do. Plus one is afraid of storms, and smoke alarms. Shows up real fast. I wish you the best of luck.

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  3. I read some of the comments and I can imagine that losing his senses can make him feel a bit lost at night when it is quiet and dark. I hope that you soon find out what is bothering him and that a solution to make him feel better is at hand soon.

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  4. Maggie heard something in the early hours when we were on the boat, but it was erratic, so untraceable, though I heard it once. Luckily MSM helped us out by having her overnight. In later years, we also considered eyesight as Maggie seemed to be losing her peripheral vision. The vet said her eyes were cloudy, but there were no sign of cataracts.
    Ray could be picking up on something that is there during the day but not as noticeable as it is when all is quiet at night. I agree with DoggyMom about possibilities.
    Our pets age differently to us and if only they could tell us where it hurts or what’s wrong. We can only go by their behaviour and if Ray’s pointing at specific things or areas, maybe there is some movement there that has caught his attention, but too fleeting for him to latch on to.
    Big hugs and treats by proxy Colin.

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  5. Hi, I’d discuss his behaviour with your vet. It sounds a bit like he may be developing a bit of canine cognitive disorder and, as noted, possibly some vision impairment. There are many things we can do for older dogs to maintain and enhance quality of life.

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  6. Try giving Ray CBD oil,its good for treating anxiety and helps to calm animals to help them sleep better and it also helps with general aches and pains they get in old age in the joints.I give it to Speedy for His Arthritis,and I notice he is a bit calmer and more laid back but fairly active in the day. Poor baby Ray,it could be because he is losing his eyesight that its making him more anxious at night when the visibility is low due to it being dark.A dogs eyes are not really designed for night vision but they can see ok ,but when they start to lose their sight it becomes harder for them to navigate.You need to try and leave everything where it is so that he can stay familiar with the location of obstructions.when they have partial sight in the day its okay but at night its like he is totally blind which would be confusing for him.I keep everything in the same place for Speedy because he only has one eye.when we go out he will run in circles until he has the lay of the land.then he will run around as normal….if Speedy loses his sight in his remaining eye then all that will have to stop and he will have to stay home where he knows everything is.But CBD oil should help Calm Ray if given with his evening food and help him relax so he can sleep.Hope this makes sense,xx Rachel

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    • That is always a possibility. Looking directly at him at a certain angle, and his eyes seem to have a haze over them. From a different angle however, they are sparkling and clear. We also noticed that his sense of smell appears to be “less than desirable”. We have seen him sniff his way right past a treat, but if we point towards it … he gets it! The joys of aging? πŸ™‚


  7. Old cats often cry at night for seemingly no reason. Jake got really bad at the end and I didn’t have a full night’s sleep for the last 6 months of his life. We tried a few things but nothing worked. He seemed to get confused and anxious. I could calm him down but he wouldn’t stay in my lap or sleep with me (which would have been easier). I hope that you can find a solution. A lot of things have changed in the past few years. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kali, now around 11, has recently been exhibiting signs of confusion and uncertainty. I have attributed it to old age and possibly some form of canine dimensia. She’ll often be walking along and just stop and look around seeming unsure of where to go or why she got up in the first place. It’s sad to see but she does seem mostly healthy by all other accounts (except for he bad hips). I wonder if Ray’s behaviors are age / cognitive related. Sundowners?… and I agree with Monika, he is one handsome senior boy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes we hope that whatever is going on will either become obvious, or he manages to deal with it. He is a very happy “boy” when out on his walks with us, and when awake during the day! Now we just have to get him to sleep soundly at night … but he has a herding/guarding personality and takes his responsibilities very seriously! Hmmm .. difficult! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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