This collar has seen some things. It’s been taken for walks, scuffed against nails, rolled in dirt, and buried in the back of a closet for five years when the puppy it belonged to outgrew it. Today it’s being given to a new dog. An older dog. A dog with character.
The new dog deserves to have a nice collar. The collar knows this. It’s prepared to try its best. The people who take care of the dogs wash the collar and polish it up.
The new dog comes home on a Saturday, and the collar goes on its neck. They learn over time how to care for each other, how to protect each other. Sometimes the new dog slips out of the collar to go do dangerous things, but he always comes back.
There’s a new tag on the collar. It says that the dog’s name is Skipper and lets anyone who reads it know what number to call if they find Skipper. The problem with that is that any time Skipper runs off, he slips out of the collar first.
Skipper slips out of his collar during a walk on Valentine’s day because he sees another dog in the street. The dog is about the same size as Skipper, and runs away when Skipper chases it.
The collar gets left behind.
A year later, the family gives up in their search. Everyone realizes they wouldn’t recognize Skipper now, even if he ever did come back. The collar goes back on its hook in the back of a closet. The family takes the posters they had put all over the neighborhood down. They move on.
The family begins their search for another pet to fill their emotional void.