Toady likes balls. Squeaky ones, tennis ones, ones that have been run over by the lawn mower, balls of any shape, color, size, or health. He treats them like his babies, taking his favorite of the day outside with him, on the couch, to bed, etc. When he is feeling generous, he will show his love by thrusting his ball into my lap and squishing it against my leg to make it squeak. I am not allowed to touch the ball, or else he removes it from my presence with lightning speed, hoarding it off to some dark corner where he can lick it and hold it, and whisper soothing love-speak into it.
Usually, there is only one favored ball at a time. Generally, the most bedraggled one. But, at times, he faces a dire internal conflict: when two balls that he wants are within a foot of each other. Which one should he take? He will look between them, as if he is a man in love with two women. Unwilling to break the heart of one in choosing the other. Can he take both? He will try, earnestly, to fit both balls into his mouth at once. As if trying to please a wife and mistress as King Henry VIII with Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. His poor heart almost breaking in angst over having to leave one behind (Toady’s—apparently not Henry’s since he divorced Katherine and married Anne). He then realizes that he cannot, unfortunately, have both balls at the same time. He must choose. He must leave a ball behind, to lay lifeless on the lawn, with the elements tormenting its poor rubber heart, until it is brought in the house to heal. But, how could one make such a choice? To decide between two things that are equally dear to your heart? To leave behind a trusted and proven companion to lay forgotten in the grass?
Well, Toady either chooses the one that squeaks, or the one that Mylo wants. Then he runs away and trots happily around the yard. The poor ball that lost out lays taunted by the way he flaunts his affection to the lucky ball that he is relishing with utter devotion and complete adoration.
His biggest conflict in life is having to pick one ball over another. Oh, to be a dog.