Flossie is a typically ball-obsessed labrador. She finds so many when she's out that I can't remember the last time I had to buy one.
When we left the house early this morning, Flossie was carrying her old ball. Not much bounce left in it, but just right for the river: not so light that it floats away, and not so heavy that it sinks.
Flossie isn't so particular. She knows that balls are often to be found on the riverbank or caught up in shallower stretches of water.
This was her first find of the morning. The old ball was discarded in favour of this glossy new football.
It just needed a little tooth-piercing to make it easier to carry.
It made a great swimming toy.
And drew the attention of others until they realised it was not to be shared. Flossie never shares balls!
Tosca doesn't care for a ball. She plods along, avoiding balls, bouncing dogs, and any risk of getting wet.
But then another, smaller ball was discovered....
And another. Which to choose?
The bright blue one, of course. But it made a surprising POP! when pierced.
Rather disappointing, really. Flossie decided to go on without a ball at all. The undergrowth held too many exciting scents, and carrying a large ball interfered with following them.
Until we reached the place where the first ball had been discarded.
Hurrah! Filthy, battered, but still Flossie's own.
Then home to be met by Millie.
And the ball added to the collection parked on the shed roof, waiting for the next walk.
It's a simple life, but a joyous one.