EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 20, “PLAY BALL”...
Although Mac loved chasing balls, returning them to the thrower was a completely different matter. He would usually refuse to release the ball so that it could be thrown again. In fact, the more Mac was told to “Drop it!” the less likely it was that he’d actually do so. Not only did he love keeping balls in his mouth and chewing on them, but he also figured he was the one who had to run and get it, so he should be able to decide when he was done with it. The Scottie just couldn’t understand why it was so important for the thrower to get the ball back from him. After all, they got rid of it in the first place, so that meant they didn’t want it. Therefore, why should he have to return it to them? Especially since he did want it. Because of the terrier’s reasoning, the person playing catch with Mac would often wind up very frustrated. Trying to get Mac to release his spherical treasure always required more energy than tossing the ball did.
The one time a ball got the better of Mac was when he was a puppy. He had chomped down on a soft, foamy football, which promptly expanded in his mouth and lodged in his jaws. Fortunately, he could still breathe through the foam, but the Scottie was very embarrassed that he needed his jaws pried open to remove a toy. Mac’s short-term memory wasn’t always flawless, so when the football ended up near him a few minutes later, he couldn’t resist grabbing it again. Luckily, somebody yanked it from his mouth before it had another chance to get stuck.
Up ahead, the teenagers noticed Mac approaching. The dog’s tail wagged enthusiastically as his eyes followed the ball being thrown around.
“Look! It’s Toto!” a boy in a blue-striped shirt called out, referring to the Cairn Terrier in the movie The Wizard of Oz. The Scottie had no idea what a “Toto” was, but he had certainly heard that word before when he was in the presence of strangers. He stopped to assess the situation before him.
“That’s not Toto,” the tallest boy answered. “It’s one of those —you know —the dogs that are on Christmas wrapping paper.”
“No, they always have a bow tie,” replied the girl, who wore a beret. “This one doesn’t have a tie.”
“Yeah, I guess that makes sense,” Tall Boy responded.
“I think he’s precious,” Beret Girl announced. “Come here, puppy!”
Mac sat down, which he tended to do whenever he was told to come.
“Where’s your owner?” a boy wearing red sneakers asked.
Mac cocked his head, as he often did in response to a question. The teens laughed when the terrier’s head swiveled.
“He’s so cute!” Beret Girl exclaimed. “Here, puppy!
When Mac refused to move, Tall Boy and Red Sneakers took a few cautious steps toward him. The terrier stood up, but not to greet them. These people were bigger than the type of children he was most comfortable with, so he was on alert, his legs ready to run if necessary.