Mar 21, 1996

Today we went to football practice, picking up my eldest. We were thirty
minutes early. Trapped in a car with two ten-and-under pre-adolescents, it
doesn't take long to notice that the football field is fenced, and inside it,
the baseball field is fenced, with accessible benches...

So we tromped across the field, in all its 32 degree wind, secured the
baseball diamond, and let Rafi run.

Let's just say a flock of crows never flew so fast.

He tore around, and round--you know the centrifuge run where the long curve
veers into a figure 8 just for the joy of cornering in a circle? He was
running big circles, then small circles, then figure 8's around the kids.
Everyone was laughing like mad, even Rafi. The most bizarre moment was
twenty minutes or so into the Day of the Diamond when I called to my kids,
"It's time to get Josh."

The first one at the gate, sitting in preparation for his collar, was Rafi.


One day of his first week here, after I dropped the kids off, Rafi stared at
me as if he expected me to do something, and stalked over to his crate where
he stayed for a few hours. I'm assuming his prior family left him there
weekdays and he was expecting to be locked in. He wasn't. Since that day,
he has been particularly disinterested in his crate. He's been a
perfect gentleman, not even interested in garbage, consequently he's only had a few hours
in his crate.

We however have discovered a few things.

In his crate, he brought with him a few chewies and a fluffy mat. He just
loves to rip and tear that mat. So we went out and found a few other
fur-like remnants and left them in the crate. We've also put various new
chewies, toys, "rats" and whatever seems to be his--tennis balls, discarded
button-less stuffed animals, that kind of thing.

My daughter has taken this housecleaning very seriously. Every night she and
Rafi play the "put the toy in Rafi's crate" game. Rafi is usually on the
cloth couch (he hates the faux leather couches). He watches with great interest
(this game even distracts him from his "watch the cat" game) as Lauren finds
his fluffy mat and shakes it out, very carefully, and unfurls it
across the floor of the crate. On top of this she delicately smoothes one
remnant or another (varying lengths and textures of pseudo-wool). She tucks
the smallest chewies under the material with the biggest toys on top. As she
chooses one rawhide or another, Rafi watches her--he's absolutely riveted.
Sometimes she even fills the water reservoir. (He has another water bowl in the
kitchen. When everything seems shipshape, she leaves the crate (open) and sits by Raf.
on the couch.

Rafi remains on the couch for a few moments as if he's trying to be polite.
But he can't take it for long. He goes straight for the crate and, first
thing, grabs the end of the bottom-most furry mat and drags it out. He gives
it several rip and tears, and carries it to the couch, where Lauren is
sitting, gives the old two-and -a-half-turn cuddle and settles in. The mat
usually falls to the floor. But no matter-- he ends up facing the crate in
all its open glory with all his treasures inside. He usually gives Lauren a
look, then jumps down and heads back to the crate to pick out one thing or
the other, playing with each one for a millisecond, and going back and back
until there's nothing inside. When everything is comfortably out all over
the place, he goes back to the couch and settles in with a rawhide potato
chip. Usually with a satisfied look on his face.

And Lauren gets the furry mat, shakes it out very carefully, and unfurls it
carefully across the floor of the crate and starts the whole process over again. . . .