Being an only pet, Remix does not get to play with a lot of other dogs. It's too bad, because she is a great playmate. I mean, okay, she's kind of enthusiastic. It may be because she's not yet two years old, but she can be very energetic. Her encounters with older dogs remind me of being a little kid and always wanting to play with my older siblings. Hey! Wanna play? Wanna play? And she's also pretty big, without being very aware of her own size. So little dogs can end up a little bruised.

But she is not aggressive, and she doesn't try to bowl the other dog over.

I am happy for every opportunity for her to play with other dogs. She loves it so much. To see her running in frantic circles makes me realize that not only am I not exercising her enough, I'm probably not even capable of exercising her as much as she could take.

As it happens, we live next to a goldmine of playmates. Remix has limited interaction with them. They bark at her when she goes out. She wags her tail and cocks her head to the side while not barking, as if listening very closely. She does "play" with one of Gail's dogs, a little black one. They run around in their own yards, then come back and sniff at each other through the chain-link fence. It's sort of pathetic to see them do it, but of course, they're dogs, so they think it's great.

I mentioned one time to Gail that it would be nice if one of her dogs could come over for a playdate sometime. It seemed like a waste for her to have all those eligible playmates over there and poor Remix all alone with her yard full of stick toys. So she picked up the little black dog and dropped her on our side of the fence. That's how I met Brownie, who looks a lot like a similar black dog that my uncle had, named Blacky.

The thing about dogs is that they know and play different games. My sister has border collies, and their favorite game is called Herd. Remix enjoys Chase, and so she and the border collies are able to combine their games in a way that each thinks they are playing what they like. Brownie seemed to enjoy Run, which also can be played in tandem with Chase.

When you get Remix with another dog, you can tell that she does not get a lot of dog interaction. She constantly bothers them, hey hey hey. When the other dog gets tired, Remix will sit next to them for a second, then go back to hey hey hey. Brownie quickly revealed that she gets plenty of dog play, but she sure would enjoy some people time. I sat outside and watched them run in circles. Every five laps or so, Brownie came up to me to get some affection. Remix is not a jealous dog, so rather than try to get in between me and Brownie, she would just try to start up another game of Chase.

At one point, I went into the house for a minute or two. When I came back out, the book I had been reading was on the deck, rather than on the railing where I left it. It had chew marks. I sighed, but it was a used book anyway, so I just decided to pretend that it had come that way. Then about a foot away, also on the deck, I saw my smartphone. The protective cover was off, and so was the battery cover. I alternated between cursing Brownie and saying hopeful prayers as I replaced the cover and turned the phone on again. Luckily, it worked just fine. Lesson learned: do not leave your stuff outside with Gail's dogs.

After a half hour or so, when I was ready to go back in the house, I picked Brownie up and dropped her back into her yard. Despite the phone incident, I considered the playdate a success and thought it should happen again the future.

However, Josh is afraid that this is our first step into animal hoarding. He is afraid that by encouraging Gail's dogs to come and play, we are encouraging them to come over and stay, that Gail will want to give us dogs. I am not worried about this at all; it would never have occurred to me. Gail is pretty self-conscious about her menagerie. She knows that she has an unusual situation and is far more worried that her dogs are bothering us. But he is convinced that we are going to end up with ten dogs, six chickens, three cats, and a bunny. I told him that the only way that could happen was if we let it happen. If she tries to give us a dog, we can just say no.

One night last week, we were sitting on the back porch, enjoying the mild weather. Remix was sniffing around the yard. A minute or two later, Gail's brood noticed her presence and started up a ruckus. When this happens, we just shrug our shoulders and put Remix back in the house in the interest of neighborhood peace and harmony. Gail called out to us through the night, "Want me to drop Brownie over the fence?"

I didn't want her to, because we were only going to be out there a few minutes. I looked at Josh, who was wearing a tired sort of I-told-you-so look. I sighed, then called out, "Nah, we're just going to be out here a little while." Gail responded, "Okay!" Josh smiled, happy to not have an extra dog in the yard and also not to have to be the one to say no.

I still think it's a good idea.

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