Little Papa plays a chatty game of soccer. I kick the orange ball around the park, and he chases after it, yapping at me through the green squeaky toy in his mouth. “Go get it! Go get the ball,” I tell him. He chomps on his toy, making inscrutable plastic squeaky noises that I imagine to mean You should try chewing on one of these – it’ll improve your game. His big boxer eyes gaze up at me, and for a minute I believe him.
He’s so lean and spry and full of energy, I wish Little Papa could stay here in the park all day (and I think he wishes that too). But in his typical good-natured form, he willingly follows me back inside the shelter to his kennel. I leave him with a peanut-butter covered rawhide and one of his squeaky toys, but I don’t think he plays with it much when I’m not around. I close the kennel gate and smile at him. I’ll see you next time, Pops.