He stayed with my daughter's family.
They like him a lot, but giggling and squealing little girls summon all of his playful instincts, especially catch-me-if you-can with shoes, socks, and other articles of clothing.
After a while it gets old with the parents.
What Fred needed was vigorous exercise, without restraint of the gentle leader.
So yesterday -- our first day home -- we got in the pickup and headed for the flume.
On the way he yodeled with eager anticipation.
The cool morning air and colder water had no effect on his usual routine.
He belly flopped into the current, fetched sticks, and raced back and forth on the banks.
He slowed down a bit after 5 or 6 miles of running and maybe a mile of swimming.
That's when I saw him fixating on something across the flume.
It wasn't his usual response to strange dogs or strange people.
He was growling.
As I came into view four otters dropped into the water.
The family had been sunning on the far bank.
The mother periscoped us as she swam downstream.
Two youngsters followed underwater with the largest animal in rear guard.
Thirty feet downstream they turned into a tangle of Indian rhubarb and were gone.
Normally I would have had a point and shoot camera with me, but it didn't matter.
I'll be studying the banks and poking around the roots and Indian rhubarb.
I have a feeling we'll meet the otters again.