We were walkin' 'round the block. Not our block, but the one in South Carolina. Ray was out front with his cousins, Hannah (human) and Flower Power (dog). Kathy (sister), Yuko (sister-in-law) and I were along as well. Not wanting to leave something as important as his bone behind, where someone or somedog could steal it, Ray had decided to bring it along.
We hadn't gone far before Kathy said, "Here comes a dog."
A black Lab puppy, probably not more than 10 weeks old, galumphed up to us. Kathy grabbed the happy little dog's collar. There was a rabies tag but no identification hanging from it. Both Ray and Flower Power were interested in the new arrival; Ray in an indifferent kind of way, Flower Power in a slightly more aggressive way.
"I've always wanted a Lab puppy," said my troublemaking sister, "Let's take it with us."
Holding onto the dog's collar while Kathy held onto Ray, I said to my fast-as-a-cheetah niece, "Hannah, can you run home and get Ray's extra leash?"
I knew Kathy was kidding but I didn't see what else we could do with the little dog. We couldn't let a puppy run loose around the neighborhood unsupervised.
I held the squirmy dog's collar while we waited for Hannah to get back. Ray, not knowing quite what was going on, sniffed at the puppy. The puppy, more interested in the bone hanging from the big dog's lips than the dog holding it, grabbed the end of the bone and chewed it briefly while Ray held it for her. Then, good-natured Ray dropped the bone and stepped back. The puppy settled down with the rawhide for a nice chew. Hannah arrived with the extra leash and Ray's slip-collar.
"Good thinking," I said to her as I adjusted it to fit the puppy. Not knowing if the dog was leash- trained, the slip-collar gave us an extra advantage.
"Hurry up," said Troublemaker, "Let's go before somebody comes looking for it."
Just then we heard a voice calling from across the street. Each time the voice called it sounded a bit more frantic.
The puppy picked up Ray's bone and we crossed the street. As soon as she saw her person, she struggled against the end of the leash. The man crouched down and called one last time. I slipped the collar over the little dog's head and still with Ray's bone, she galloped away.
"Sorry about that," said the man as he walked away with his puppy. He made no move to return Ray's bone.
I rejoined the block-walking group, happy that I had had the foresight to bring two rawhides for the big dog's vacation.