"Boy, that's a lot of dogs," I said. "Are you having a family reunion or a pet reunion?"

"Boy, that's a lot of dogs," I said. "Are you having a family reunion or a pet reunion?"

    Hey, I was just trying to break the ice. We were at a resort on a lake and the cabins surrounding our cabin were occupied by a bunch of people who’d converged from across the country for some sort of reunion.

    And the humans were almost outnumbered by the dogs they'd brought with them. One morning, I saw a guy try to open a cabin door and exit in routine fashion with four dogs on four separate leashes. The exit was not mishap-free. He stumbled down the two small concrete steps, and if not for the four furry canines to cushion his fall, he probably would have taken quite a tumble. Later that day, some of the group pulled a boat up to the end of a dock to pick up more relatives, and when some of their dogs got impatient and budged in line to jump on, a couple people got tangled in leashes and almost took a spill into the water. Another day, I saw a woman laying on the dock soaking up some rays, while a dog on a leash with her who'd drifted off to sleep like she had jolted awake and decided immediately that he wanted to go elsewhere, and when he got up and took off in a flash, the leash the woman had looped around her wrist snapped tight and pinched down on her wrist in what appeared to be somewhat violent fashion. I think it hurt her a fair amount, but she tried to downplay it amid her surprise at being awoken so fast. The dog seemed to drag her sideways a couple inches on the wooden dock, so slivers were a possibility, too.

    Several of the dogs had rather strange names, too, and by strange I mean they had names the average person would first assume belong to a human and not an animal. Four of the dogs over our days at the resort that seemed to act up the most, or at least have the least amount of obedience training, were named Dylan, Bobby, Aria and Sarah. I know this quartet of dogs misbehaved the most because for the better part of five days, we heard intermittently and out of nowhere, both inside their cabins and out, shouts of things like "Dylan! Stop it!", "Bobby? Bobby!? What are you doing?!", "Aria, no. Aria! No!" and "Sarah, cut it out. Sarah! Knock it off! Be good, Sarah!"

    But, even stranger, we'd also hear more conversational tones and inflections more indicative of human-to-human exchanges in the human-to-canine interactions that enveloped us during our time at the resort. Like, "Are you hungry, Dylan, hon?", "Are you having a good time, Bobby? Bobby, are you?", and “Oh, Sarah, that’s so sweet.”

    So after about three days, as I tossed a Frisbee on the beach and, nearby, three of the relatives sat at a picnic table laughing intermittently at a video one of them was showing on his tablet, while four dogs ambled about at their feet, I felt compelled by an unknown, strange force to finally and once and for all indicate to them that their temporary resort neighbors were most certainly aware that they'd brought a boatload of dogs with them from every corner of the country to their family gathering.

    That's when I interjected my comment about the number of dogs in their extended family.

    They smiled and I think I heard a chuckle or two as well, when one of them replied, "I’m guessing you’re a cat person?”

    For the second or two before I mustered a response, a thought flashed across my mind that I had somehow been obnoxious in making my observation, that I had managed to say nothing dog-related to them for several days, so why speak up now? But then I got over my ultra-brief trepidation and told them that, yes, I'd had cats my whole life and most who know me would probably conclude I'm a cat person, but I love dogs, too. "Especially other people's dogs," I said. Then, unable to suppress a bit of braggadocio, I alluded to my self-held notion that I'm sort of a dog whisperer when it comes to interacting with other people's mutts.

    Seconds later, I'd been invited to pet the four dogs by the picnic table, and the German shepherd and I shared a moment that I'm sure that gorgeous dog is still reminiscing about today. No one scratches under a collar like me, after all.

    I never asked for the dog’s name. Whether it was Spot or Rover...or Bill, Chad Dave or Mary, I already had my next column topic securely in the bag.