One of the big attractions of our new neighbourhood is the park across the street from our townhouse. It has a bunch of different areas - a soccer pitch, a small paved area with a basketball net, sand and a net for beach volleyball, a kids' playground complete with sandbox and swings. But our favourite part is the baseball field. See, the field is almost completely surrounded by a fence - otherwise, how would you tell that a home run has been scored, right?
We don't play baseball. But the fenced-in field means, in those times when the field is unoccupied, you can find a little white dog named Rion running free, off-leash, like a maniac, chasing his ball. We take him out there almost daily, now that the weather is nice again, to play ball, and boy oh boy does he love it. If we don't act quickly enough after returning home from a long day at work, he is bouncing off the walls in anticipation of his expected walk. Woe to us on rainy days...
An interesting development, however, has been the slight expansion of Rion's ball-throwing circles. Every second time I take him to the park, or so, we are joined by one or two (or, as today, three) little kids who run over from the playground into the baseball field (usually as their parents look on trepidatiously), shrieking, "Can I throw the ball? Can I throw the ball?"
As soon as we are joined by little churdlen, Rion becomes a show-off and doesn't want to give the ball up. But he eventually does, and then the child throws the ball a number of times for him. He loves the attention.
Actually, as an aside, a funny thing happened the other day. I'd taken Rion out to the baseball diamond and we were throwing the ball around. Then Randal came by - I think he'd been at his swimming lesson so was coming home late. As he walked around the edge of the baseball field to where there is a small opening in the fence (along the infield, and we were playing out in the outfield), he was whooping and hollering to get Rion's attention. Rion picked up on the ruckus and starting running for Randal. Suddenly Randal is startled to see these two GIANT dogs barrelling at him from the other direction - a Saint Bernard and a Saint Bernard mix of some kind. He was swarmed with dogs. The two giants were lovely and gentle as can be, however, but it was pretty surprising, not to mention hilarious to see tiny little Rion next to these monsters. I wished I'd had my camera with me.
Anyway, today as we were playing with this boy, Tristan, who was about 11 and apparently plays football, and his two cousins, the younger cousin, maybe 6 years old, tells me that he wants a dog but his mom won't let him have one because "she says dogs poop all over the furniture - is that true?"
I had to play the adult card on this one, sadly - of course it's not true that dogs poop all over furniture, but I'm not going to have this kid report back to his mom that some lady in the park says she's wrong! So I mumbled some stuff about dogs being a lot of work, and you need to spend a lot of time training them and taking care of them and teaching them stuff, and that certainly not all dogs poop on furniture - my dog being a case in point - and that maybe some dogs do, but that it takes a lot of time and training to teach dogs where to poop and where not to poop, including the furniture, and not everyone has time to teach a dog these things. I mean, really - if you didn't teach your kid to poop in the toilet, they might choose the furniture to poop on, too, no?
And now, I am going to go sit on my poop-free couch and read my book.
 Almost literally. He is a Jack Russell terrier, after all.
 How do you even spell that word??? Gee, if only there were some technology or thing by which I could check the spelling...
 They also usually throw the ball better and farther than I do, the little brats.
 That's my excuse for why he was such a good thrower, actually. Don't ask about the other kids.
 I didn't actually share my thoughts on that very last bit just in case the kid decided to become a dog-pooping-rights activist and start demonstrating his ability to be poorly trained by pooping in random spots himself.
 Dog puke, now that's another story.