I corralled two dogs a couple of days ago. I took Old Pup out to the front for a wee, and saw two Labs, yellow and chocolate, galloping across the yards on the other side of the street. Old Pup took notice of these interlopers, and I called her inside before she could attract their attention. The yellow boy was easy to catch; he was a people loving’ guy, so I just called him into the backyard and closed the gate. The chocolate girl was a little more wary. She would sniff your hand, but dart away if you lifted it to pet her, and was totally uninterested in the duck strip I offered. An across-street-neighbor cooed to her and kept her attention while I ran to get a leash. I gave Chocolate Girl some water, and managed to grab her collar. She was startled, but gentle, and I led her to the gagte where Yellow Boy had stuck his head and front paws through the cat door, trying to get in on the action.

They both started exploring the yard, Chocolate Girl a little agitated. Thinking to distract her, I found an old tennis ball and she was OMG! I was now her BFF! So I threw the ball for her, and she tore after it, ignoring Yellow Boy as he tried to play with her.

I called the animal shelter, and the owners came by about half an hour later. As I watched Old Pup sniff around the yard, peeing to claim it back as her own, I thought about Chocolate Girl’s intense focus on the ball and her coiled energy as she tore up the mulch chasing after it. That was Old Pup before we knew her, when she was Young Pup, blond and buoyant and ball-obsessed. Did she live with a handsome big brown dog, imprinting her for tolerance of that body type? So much lost in the mists of time.