Some memory!

“Some memory” could be a facetious statement about my memory, which is showing distinct challenges as a result of aging, but my memory was not on my mind when I started this Post … but rather Ray’s memory!

When Ray moved into our home in 2013, we needed a way for him to tell us when he wanted to go outside (for body function reasons!).  He had no issue with using the garden as necessary,  but we were not always out there on his timing. Our solution was to hang a small bell on the handle of the back door, and showed him that when the bell rings … the door is opened. He caught on to that very fast and everything was fine until ……………………………..!

Ray decided that he wanted to go outside at around 1:00am one night and so he rang the bell. The door was opened for him and, with flashlight in hand (must look out for skunks, raccoons and foxes), he was lead out into the garden. If all was clear, then he was unclipped from his leash and allowed to do whatever he needed to do. After a number of “early hours” bell ringing, we realized that he simply wanted to be outside. He then started to resist coming back inside and, as we both needed our sleep, we had a decision to make.

Ray was estimated at 2 years old when he adopted us from our local shelter, so he was old enough to establish a routine for his body. He would relieve himself completely on his daily walks, so we thought that he should be encouraged to do the same before we go to bed.

A few days later, he rang the bell in the early hours, and he was ignored! His solution was to keep hitting the bell with his nose until somebody got up and took him outside ….. where he did nothing but lay down on the grass. The bell was subsequently removed from the door handle.

Ray, once again, adapted very well to his new circumstances. Now fast forward to August 2021, and Ray is now around 11 years old.

Carol was out shopping and I was sitting in our general kitchen area (the back of our home), so Ray would normally be curled up on one of his beds, or on “his” chair, or stretched out on the floor in front of the refrigerator! We now have a small flashlight hanging on the door handle.

I suddenly sensed some movement, and looked up just in time to see Ray side-swipe the small flashlight which went flying across the room. He then stood facing the back door, but with his head turned and looking at me. I can only conclude that he remembered  the bell routine from long ago!

Ray had a developed a single “Woof!” routine for when he wanted attention, so I can only assume that I did not hear him that time. Perhaps I was dozing?  🙂

Way to go Ray! You have always been one very special dog.

Ray Update.

We are still working on Ray’s issues but, as is usually the case in life (at least based on my experiences), there is rarely a “black and white” answer to anything.

Ray’s unrest during the night could be the onset of “doggy dementia” where he is imagining things that really aren’t there. Perhaps he whimpers at night because he does not like being left on his own. Perhaps he is simply hungry, or perhaps his food is giving him a problem.  Perhaps he has a medical condition?  Perhaps he has more than one of  the above.

The easiest one for us to address was his food so, after consulting with his vet and a dog trainer friend, we have switched his food to one apparently more suitable for a senior dog. Also, instead of giving him two meals a day, we now give him four (reduced quantity of course!). If digestion was the problem, then we should have resolved it. If hunger was the problem, then his fourth meal of the day should now resolve that.

The result? An improvement in a number of areas. He has not been sick for a while now. He is more alert on his walks, and has his silly moments which we hadn’t seen for a while, so we are concluding that things have improved for him. However, we are not “there” yet as he is still active (seemingly at a reduced level) throughout the night.

This seems to be associated with nocturnal “house sounds”, but he has lived here for almost 9 years so perhaps that is the “doggy dementia” possibility. It could also be that he does not like us two going to  sleep and leaving him alone because he is very attached to us. It could also be that he is taking his guarding tendencies too seriously as he gets older. We are currently trying him out with some music throughout the night. So far we have tried music by Libera, Enya, Leonard Cohen, Stan Rogers and an Environmental recording. We’re still working on it!

Stay tuned!

Communication with Ray!

I have a PC in my bedroom and, as I was working away on it yesterday, I heard the clicking of paws on hardwood floors getting closer and closer.  I watched the bedroom door opening and, not unexpectedly, Ray appeared. He came right up to me; stood there, and stared (he can hold amazing eye contact). Continue reading

A Ray update!

This Blog was started in 2014, a little over a year after Ray moved in with us. Ray not only triggered the book “Who Said I was up for Adoption?”  (click cover in right side column for more information) but also this Blog. Having said that, he has not been getting much coverage here recently! Continue reading

A pause for paws!

We are very fortunate to have a covered front porch, so we can sit outside and be sheltered from the sun. We take advantage of that at every opportunity, particularly at lunch time, and Ray has no problem joining us and stretching out on his mat … unless we just emptied a yogurt container, in which case his job is to clean it out before we recycle it!

Ray has always amazed me at how much dexterity he has if food is involved and, despite the limitations of his paws, he can quickly stabilize the container for as long as is necessary!

Nice work Ray, and great show of creativity!

A dog’s perspective!

Living with Ray in those early years was a massive education for me.  Because Ray was my first dog, I not only had to learn how to interact with him; how to establish mutually acceptable behaviour patterns; how to “read” his body language, but also (as a context for this Post) how to try and see the world from his perspective. If I could understand his view of the world, I might be able to understand him! Continue reading

“So Long Ago”

“So long ago” was a Post from “long ago”, and considers how perceptions of time will vary with any given event. My subject for that Post was our beloved Ray, and how the time when our year was pre-occupied with his heart-worm treatment program seemed like only “yesterday”. Continue reading

Self Publishing/Marketing

One inherent and major challenge with self-publishing, is the marketing aspect. No book is going to sell if nobody knows it exists … and that is where the marketing comes in. If you happen to be a celebrity, then your marketing issues are quite possibly going to go away as some publishing and/or marketing company will happily take on those responsibilities but … for the rest of us? We tend to be on our own, developing our own strategies, and trying to come up with something that is financially feasible.

A professional publicist did offer to take on the marketing responsibilities for “Who Said I was up for Adoption?” for $18,000.00/year (if I recall correctly). To “break even” would dictate selling over 3500 copies per year however, as all net profits will be donated to the Oakville & Milton Humane Society (our local shelter who rescued Ray and worked with him to make him a feasible candidate for adoption), the questions all revolved around investing such a significant value into a high risk venture. Should I take the chance, and be prepared to write-off the $18,000.00 if necessary? My answer to myself was a decisive “No!”

The most economical method of reaching people is via the various social media platforms and, of course, through blogging. A local library here agreed to carry “Who Said I was up for Adoption?” in their inventory, and our local newspaper has promoted it on a number of occasions.

“Who Said I was up for Adoption?” is quite simply a tribute to our beloved Ray. It documents, in considerable  detail, the emotional roller coaster ride that was the first eighteen months of Ray living with us. He gave us many challenges, not the least of which was testing positive for heart-worm, and our first summer with him was subsequently dictated by his heart-worm treatment program. He was distrusting of all people and other dogs and would bark loudly to show his displeasure and “make them go away”! He would misread body language and react inappropriately. and would do so many other challenging things that we used a considerable amount of professional help in order to get him comfortable in his new environment. All of this is detailed in “Who Said I was up for Adoption?”

For marketing, I will simply say that it can be purchased in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats, and is available world-wide through all the usual on-line book retailers. It is currently on special pricing of $4.99, $11.99 and $19.99 (for the three formats respectively) if ordered direct from the FriesenPress Bookstore (link below):

https://books.friesenpress.com/store/title/119734000018826578/Colin-Chappell-Who-Said-I-Was-Up-For-Adoption%3F

Finally, there are numerous reviews on amazon.com. for anybody trying to decide whether Ray’s story is for them!