Derby found a ball last night at sunset. Not just any ball, Derby found a green tennis ball towards the end of our walk. She scooped it into her mouth, gently bit it a few times, shook her snout to jiggle it around and then happily trotted for home. Our home “La Querencia” is built on pilings to keep it out of the “muskeg”. A raised walkway leads from the driveway (also on pilings) to the back door. Half way along Derby leaped off. Why? Because, the gravel floating atop the muskeg provides better traction than the smooth old boards. She pulled me towards the backyard. She insisted on playing with treasure in the safety of her fenced yard. But, it was late and I insisted she go into the garage. So, this dark morning after greeting me at the garage door she ran to get her new ball which rested comfortably on her bed. She jumped and whirled around my feet while attempting to howl with the tennis ball inside her mouth. She finally dropped it near me. I bounced it off the concrete floor for her. She’s not much of a fetcher, so after a little of that, she curled up with her precious toy upon her bed. “But, it’s time for your morning walk?” I insisted. She brought her ball. This morning there was no dilly-dallying; no stopping to sniff that succulent ground cover in front of the picket fence at the corner, no seeking out a confrontation with the bully-dogs at the end of the street, no digging around for that salmon carcass in the weeds in front of the “abandoned” house. It was “get ‘er done” and get home. The weather was good, that is to say, it wasn’t raining sideways. I intended to put her in the back yard. But, just in case she jumped from the boardwalk again and pulled me to the back yard. I took her off the leash, opened the gate and she leaped with joy into the yard, galloped about, more yodeled than howled and tossed the ball into the air triumphantly. I laughed and with the veiled dawn at my back headed off to work.