Embracing the tiny, Day 3: A small game of fetch

a chew toy, a dog, and the gate between them

There are many beautiful routes I can take to walk the mile that separates me from my mail, but my favorite passes an estate that’s home to two German shepherds.

For years now, as I’d near the driveway, I’d glance down to see if there was a snout or a paw in that little space between the gate and the pavement. If so, more often than not I’d hunker down on the ground and play a highly constrained game of “fetch” with whatever chew toy the dogs were on their way to obliterating with their gigantic maws, a ritual that began years ago when I gallantly (if tentatively) retrieved an old Kong that had rolled just out of paw’s reach.

I was late yesterday—the time change will do that to a gal—and there were no dog parts visible as I approached the driveway. Still, something made me pause, lean down and call out my usual greeting: Puppies! Pu-u-u-u-u-ppies! (They could be “Hansel” and “Gretl” as easily as “Hans” and “Franz”; no way am I sticking my hand in there to check for tags or anything else.)

Eight feet bounded toward the gate, stopped for a second, then bounded away again. I shrugged, feeling just the slightest bit hurt for ranking so low, and just slightly less idiotic for feeling ignored by two dogs who have never even seen me.

I had just straightened up to continue on my way when I heard them bound back to the gate. Everyone stopped, and a red rubber bone dropped to the ground, and rolled out to my side of the gate.

You really can’t throw anything very far with only six inches of clearance and an eager dog in the way.

Then again, none of us seemed to mind that part a bit.


This is Day 3 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here.


  1. I read this once, thought to myself, “Awww.” thought about the little vignettes of life. Then re read it again, slowly, savouring. What a sweet story. I love how the dogs have made you an important part of their day. And how they have become a partnof your day, too. It’s all about a multitude of tiny connections. Lovely share.

  2. You are a person who will play with two dogs whom she does not see often … just often enough to train them to bring you toys. Adjust halo, go on with day.

  3. What I love about this is it reminds me of the endless opportunities for those serendipitous connections that are so easy to miss. But if you are in the moment enough to see them, and things fall into place, they can be wonderful.

  4. Love this! If you want to play hours upon hours of fetch, come up and visit — Diesel would be happy to oblige.

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