The weather was the warmest its been in months yesterday, so warm that some of our neighbors had their doors open. And because I had the day off, Jerry and I opted to take Toby to my mother-in-law's house to run around in her gigantic yard for a bit.
She has been watching Jerry's sister's dog, Sparky, on and off throughout the winter, and that cute little puggle that I fell in love with two years ago has gotten big. He is easily twice the size of Toby and barrels at full speed everywhere he goes with enthusiasm and raw energy to burn.
The dogs have played together a handful of times, but they always have to be reintroduced very carefully to ensure there isn't a blowout. Both males are somewhat dominant and what Toby lacks in size, he makes up for in determination and by using his head.
For the first 30 minutes, it was basically an intense game of chase. Sparky took off running at full speed and Toby followed, making smaller circles when he noticed Sparky turning, trying to cut him off and pounce. They didn't pay attention to anything in their path, barreled through the flower gardens sprinkled throughout the yard, plowed through piles of leaves Jerry's mom had just raked and almost forgot to stop every time they got to the fence.
I felt tired just watching them, but they were loving every minute of it.
Jerry filled up a container of water in hopes of getting them to take a break, but Toby isn't good at sharing. Sparky didn't seem to mind, just sort of shoved his head in and drank while Toby shoved his head in his crotch to sniff. But when the situation reversed, Toby very clearly made it known that it was NOT OKAY. Teeth were bared, barks were exchanged and it reaffirmed my understanding that sometimes its the little unassuming ones you have to be careful with in life. Small doesn't mean pushover.
We also learned, very clearly, that Toby is territorial with me and Jerry. If either of us were paying the slightest attention to Sparky, Toby firmly stepped in and nudged Sparky aside as if to say, "They love ME, not you. MEEEEE."
And just as they started up again, wrestling around in the last patch of snow in the yard, gulping down huge bites when they couldn't make it back to the water dish, Jerry kept saying, "See? See how great it would be to have two?"
All I had to do was hold up my hands, square the chaos off like a picture frame with my hands for him to look through and say, "Now picture that in the dining room next to the china cabinet."
Besides, as much as Jerry thinks Toby would love having a playmate, I'm convinced he loves being the center of attention. He hates sharing. Even just for a few minutes. Water, our affection, treats, anything.
But I'll admit, there's nothing funnier than watching two dogs frolic like idiots.