"Be there at 2:20," said my sister-in-law, Yuko. "Hannah gets out at 2:30."
It was 2:00. I hooked Ray to his leash, yelled "I'll be back" to my folks, and ran out the door. Ray and I jogged the half-mile or so to my brother's house then backtracked the half block to school with John and Yuko. A small group of parents were waiting at the back exit for their kids, the ones that walk home. On the other side of the school was a traffic jam of cars waiting to pick up the bulk of the students.
The bell rang. A smallish group of students poured out of the door. At the sound of the kids, Ray, who had been flopped out on the ground, resting after the exertion of the short jog, stood and pointed his nose in their direction. A wave of girls ebbed and flowed around him, stopping briefly in their surge to coo over and pet him as they went by.
Hannah, seeing her favorite dog being fussed over by others, looked a bit crestfallen at her lack of welcome and went to greet her mother. The wave of girls crested and moved on. We turned to walk home.
"Hi, Ray," said Hannah.
Ray, still overwhelmed by all the recent activity, did not react.
"Hannah, put your hand in front of his nose so that he can smell you," I said.
Hannah stopped dead and put her hand, palm open, fingers stretched, right in front of the dog's nose.
Ray who had stood still for all the little girls, instantly came alive. He gave her had a quick lick, hopped up to try to do the same to her face, did a little spin, and then jumped up to try to eat her hair (Ray loves Hannah's hair.) Hannah, smiling now, turned and ducked, and walked happily home next to her favorite dog.