Do you ever feel as though your pets don't need you? Yesterday afternoon, at the request of three of our four dogs (Lucy was sleeping), I let them out into the backyard. I usually go outside with them, but yesterday I was in the middle of something and didn't join them until five minutes later. I might as well have not shown up when I did.
Levi, Gimpy and Oliver were lined up on our side of the chain-link fence. Lined up facing them on the other side were my next-door neighbor and two of her lady friends. It looked like two pared-down volleyball teams until one of the friends squatted to pick up the green tennis ball that Levi had just pushed under the fence. She gave it a hard throw back into our yard, and Levi and Gimpy raced to get it and poke it under the fence again.
This sequence was repeated over and over for another ten minutes while I watched and gave an occasional tip, such as, "If you tell him, 'I can't get that,' he'll pick up the ball and move it closer to you." She did, and he did. The polite visitor tried to include me in the activity by asking a series of questions about the dogs in between pitches, but Levi and Gimpy rarely even glanced my way. They made it quite clear that they had their own social life happening and didn't need or want me to stick my nose in it.
It feels sort of weird to think that my dogs are getting acquainted with people I don't know. I don't guess it'll be a problem as long as they don't start inviting their new friends over for dinner.