“No, Huckleberry, I don’t want to play ball right now,” I say to my chocolate Lab as he drops his tennis ball at my feet for the fifth time. He picks up the ball and tosses it at my feet again.
“But why not?” he asks. “We’re outside and it’s not raining and I found a ball to play with.”
“Because I’m trying to write.”
“You can write with one hand and throw the ball with the other. I thought you wobbly ones prided yourselves on your ability to multitask.” He picks up the ball in his mouth and tosses it in my lap. It rolls across my notepad, leaving a slug trail of dog spit that I’ll have to write around like driving around an oily spot on the road. He backs up a few feet, his stare oscillating between me and the ball as his Jedi mind powers kick in.
I give in, pick up the ball with my left hand, while still holding my pen in my right, and toss it across the yard, doing just what he told me to do.
Huckleberry bolts after it. “Oh, boy! Oh, boy!” he slobbers as he chases.
Franny, my yellow Lab, ambles over to my patio chair for a back scratch, debris from a chewed stick stuck to her lips. “You’re lucky he’s the only one of us with the ball obsession.”
Without thinking, my hand goes to the spot on her back just forward of her tail and begins scratching.
“A little to the left, please,” she says and shifts her back to accommodate.
As I run my fingers through her thick fur, Hamish appears on the other side of my chair and presses his cheek against my chest. “Can I have a hug, Raud? I could really use a hug.”
I set my notepad down on the little side table, my pen on top of the pad, and gave him a hug with one arm while scratching Franny’s rump with the other, then I feel the ball land on my foot.
“Look, Raud, I brought you the ball. Isn’t that the coolest thing ever?”
“It sure is, big guy,” I say, and then remember a bag of chew toys arrived in the mail yesterday. Everyone loves a good chew toy, and I love it when they love it, especially when they love it enough to let me get some writing done.