The last question on the ASPCA's dog adopter survey says "It's most important to me that my dog ____________." Keith stares at the blank space, his pen hovering over the paper.
"Keeps me company" seems too pathetic, even if Keith
getting a dog because he's sick of his own. Besides, he's already circled "all the time" on the "when I'm at home, I want my dog to be by my side..." question.
Finally, he writes "is friendly" and stands to give the form back to the receptionist.
The dog he leaves with certainly qualifies. He's a shepherd-lab mix, black and tan with floppy ears and a tail that seems to be permanently wagging.
Keith changes his name from Johnny to Ace, though usually he just calls him "boy."
They go off-leash in Central Park more often than not, Ace playing with the other dogs running around or fetching the baseball Keith tosses for him.
They're on the southeast corner of the Great Lawn one Saturday afternoon in October when Keith hears his name shouted. Simultaneously, he's hit about knee-high with two muddy paws.
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