Ok, so this is quite spectacular and almost unbelievable. We have been exploring quite a lot lately and this night decided to walk UP the hill away from the apartment to another neighborhood and to a Trader Joe's. This one is located in Eastlake, and is by far larger and roomier than the University District Trader Joe's. We had stopped by there briefly to buy some water and some ale. T.J's have these 6 packs of ale or IPA that are only $4.99, about $5, and some change out the door. Boatswain and Simple Times. I bought the Boatswain Chocolate Stout because I find the Boatswain H.L.V. ale a bit harsh on my stomach. Maybe because the H.L.V. stands for Heavy Lift Vessel. That is kinda how my stomach felt after drinking a few of them last time. Plus, I still had a few left in the fridge along with the Simple Times. But, they do taste pretty good and they taste better when dealing with a tight budget. Oh, and we also tried to sell some Real Change papers, but it was a bit late, and we still hadn't ran around. We walked into the neighborhood and I've seen the school there before, but this time this gal came out between the chainlink fence of the play yard with this absolutely adorable yellow Labrador puppy that Charley just found SOOO SOOO FUN. I asked how old her cute adorable puppy was. "Two." Two? Oh my gosh. She had the still waggly little puppy tail and the goofy puppy face. So, those two went from mild to super fun-play-date right in the middle of the street. I said it was too bad they didn't meet at a more opportune spot. She told me they'd just come from the playground at the school, and there are groups that kind of come later after school to let their dog run around. PERFECT. So, we both said we'd see each other hopefully again, and onward Charley and I went to see this playground. It was a bit after 9, kinda late, but we weren't far from home. We happened to see this lone figure with a dog sitting at their feet. Immediately Charley, who thinks EVERYBODY loves her, and she LOVES everybody, pounces over to them. Instant spontaneous combustion. Non-stop. They were chasing, running, boxing, wrestling, stopping to pant, run, run, wrestle...ball...ball....I told the owner that Charley was always the last dog standing, anywhere, anytime. We started talking and I asked Robin, the owner's name I learned, about her dog, which she'd named Gecko. Gecko had a harness on with little geckos on it, so I thought that was cute.. I didn't know how old Gecko was, but she looked as if she was really old and blind because it seemed as if both eyes were totally white from age. She turned out to be only 5, and that her eyes were just naturally "ice", the way Robin explained them. I've never seen eyes like Gecko's before. She went on to tell me how she got her, which is ALWAYS a great conversation starter, and this was her real first dog of her own, and of course, a rescue. I swear, every dog we've met have been a rescue. That is why it is so hard for me to say Charley was from Craigslist. 6 wks old. 500 dollars. Sounds kinda old school anymore, (CRAIGSLIST) but I don't think I can attach the "rescue" title on her. She told me that she'd lived in Seattle for a long time, but had never been to Hawaii, where Gecko came from. So, her and her partner decided to cut out the middle man and go to Hawaii and get Gecko themselves. That way, it was like hitting ( don't want to say killing) 2 dogs with one stone. Or that's birds, I think. Killing two birds, one stone. So she told me how they stayed with one of the shelter people, got to travel around the island, flew back with Gecko, and she has been awesome. She'd had 4 litters of puppies (poor girl) so she believes that is why she is so tolerant towards all ages, and all breeds of dogs. She's able to be playful, but yet reprimand and remain very respectable all in one swoop. She was also telling me how she'd cook a whole chicken in the crockpot, and cook it, take the bones out, put vinegar on the bones (?) and cook those longer, then she'd throw the bones in a blender and make a pate. That way she could really say her dog can eat a whole chicken. Because she really has. I thought that was kind of interesting. I told her my little thing about filling the hollow beef bones full with pate and freezing them and giving them to Charley. In the middle of us explaining our newly found dog tricks and treats, all the running had ceased. Gecko was right beside Robin, standing. I looked behind me and way, way, way across the field sat Charley. Well, lying on her belly. Both ears were erect, though, and her tongue was hanging out of her mouth and she was panting. But she wasn't running. Barking. STANDING. Just staring. Robin said to me, "well, I guess now she is not officially the last dog standing!" I said, "Oh my gosh. You are right. No longer can I claim that title!" So, yes, she was beaten. At her own game. She had nothing to say. She actually trotted up to me quite quickly and was wanting to go home in the worst way. We finally got home. She jumped on the bed. And passed out. Her leash wasn't even off of her. I no longer have the LAST ONE STANDING anymore. There is a new reigning champion. Gecko.