It might be interesting to see Mark focus his Sunday spotlight on Ralph the rat snake. At least then, Mark might pay more attention to him. Those two haven’t had a good chat for a very long time! (At least, since August 20, 2021) Earlier on in the strip, Mark periodically communicated with Ralph and a few other animals. I rather liked the Dr. Doolittle shtick, as it gave Mark an eccentric quirk where you weren’t sure if this was real or just a fantasy in his mind.
Once again, Rivera uses a white border, this time around Mark in panel 2, to emphasize that the background image is a visual recollection, not current action. As a reminder, on the right is an example from the Trail Family vacation in Oregon, on June 30, 2022.