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  • I was exploring the grounds of Killarney castle just before sunset. I was searching for an interesting perspective from which to photograph the ruins, and had wandered off trail and into the overgrown woods. After a short hike through the mud near the lake shore, I stumbled upon a clearing containing a tiny man made harbor. Two men with white beards and caps, tools in hand, were hunched over the motor of a small skiff. I knelt down to take a picture of the water and rows of colored boats and working men in overalls in the soft light.

    As I snapped the photo I sensed a presence moving fast through the foliage. I turned and rose, adrenaline surging, just in time to see the bushes part and a rabid dog fly out, heading directly toward me. I stifled a frightened yell, as I noticed the dog was small and friendly looking and appeared to be holding quite possibly the perfect fetch stick in his mouth. He approached me and rapidly decelerated, skidding on the wet grass and coming to a stop. He spit out the stick at my feet and looked at me with his wagging tongue and infinitely trusting eyes. I knelt again and framed a photo of this strange dog and his perfect stick. After a few polite seconds he nosed the stick toward me.

    We played fetch in the fading light. For ten sweaty minutes, we immersed ourselves with mutual enthusiasm in the game at hand. All thoughts of photographing the castle were soon forgotten as I enjoyed the simple pleasure of a simple game with a strange dog. As dusk turned to darkness the two men with white beards put away their tools, nodded a polite good night and began their walk home. One of them whistled. The dog looked up at me and smiled in the way dogs do. He then took up his stick and trotted happily after them.

    I knew him only briefly, but we shared a fine moment, this dog and I.
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