My lab and I were headed to the river yesterday when an old Dodge truck sputtered out of the animal shelter parking lot, struggling to accelerate in front of us.

Old, as in my age. Ancient.

The pickup’s tailgate was rusting over the missing bumper, and I assumed that the driver and woman perched next to him on the bench seat had to give up their dog, for whatever reason. Money, behavior, moving.

There’s always a reason.

And I was witness to their solemn departure.

That animal shelter, one of Idaho’s no-kill facilities, is just down the street from the ranch. Our husky-dachshund mix ended up there after an impromptu solo field trip last year, and by the time we realized he was missing, he already had a profile on their website. And by the time I got there, he already had a deposit on him for adoption.

So, this couple’s former dog was going to be fine.

A head popped up next to the woman. Now it made sense why she was shoved against the driver. They had a kid.

The kid licked the woman, which I thought was kind of weird. But whatever. We’re in Idaho.

And the kid needed a haircut and a shave. Again, Idaho.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it here. Not as many rules, societal or otherwise.

And then the kid hung its floppy ears and two front paws out the passenger window.

A few hours later they randomly pulled up next to me by the river, miles away from the animal shelter: a young couple, very much in love, with an adolescent shepherd mix in the passenger seat.

I almost said something to them, and thought about introducing Emma to their dog, but I assumed they didn’t want a couple of foreign objects entering their beautiful orbit.

I probably should have, though.

They’d already taken me to school on the assuming thing.