For some time, the house next door has been sitting vacant, undergoing various repairs in preparation for a new set of tenants. The ducklings have been hoping for someone with children of a playable age.
This past Friday, new people started moving in. The older members of the family were busy playing our newest role-playing adventure, so it fell to the twins to sit on the hillside and make their acquaintance and bring us regular reports on the exciting events.
Unfortunately, the people next door do not have medium-sized children. (The youngest is 15.) Fortunately, they have the next best thing: three medium-sized and friendly dogs. The ducklings are enthralled. They sit for hours on the hillside and watch them. They pet them at every opportunity. Duchess painted a very fair likeness of her favorite and took it over to them.
DOB and I are pretty thrilled, too. We do not do pets. As DOB puts it, you care for a dog like a child, you feed it and clean up its messes, but it never talks to you, and just at the time when children head off to their own adventures, the dog dies.
On the other hand, we recognize the virtues of children enjoying animals and occasionally one of them has expressed the wish that we might acquire one. Now we have the best of all possible worlds--the children get to play with dogs, and we don't have to feed them. (The dogs, that is. The children keep asking for food, alas.)
The dogs seem to have taken a liking to the children, too. When B5 dropped by and played with the ducklings the other night, the dogs began barking fiercely at him, the only barking we've heard out of them.