PEOPLE MY AGE OFTEN HAVE GRANDCHILDREN. I have grandpuppies. Scroll to the bottom of the screen: Pictured at left is three-month-old Mouse, who obviously owes her name to the gray fur and pink-lined ears; in the center is raven-haired Lucy, who just turned one: Both are Shiloh shepherds, a larger and shaggier incarnation of the German kind. I am ecstatic. Since my rural childhood I have practically been a dog: My brother and I played elaborate games involving canine characters; I whispered all my sadnesses and secrets to the family’s patient Irish setter, Terry; and even today I have a convincing bark and flirt promiscuously with strange pups on the street. (I am not, however, going to buy a bumper sticker or mug saying ASK ME ABOUT MY GRANDDOG…the things you find online!) In the 1970s I had an Old English sheepdog while living in New York, and I have noticed that the advent of dog runs and off-leash hours in parks has wrought great changes in the urban culture. Owners are not so isolated and dogs not so constrained: The latter run in packs, make friends—or not (just like kids in nursery school)—and in general are allowed to be their own persons, less dependent solely on their humans for companionship. Plus, the sidewalks are a whole lot cleaner than they were 40 years ago.