I'm a first time DM in D&D 3.5e.
My ranger player just earned level 4 and gets his animal companion. How do you grant this to him within the context of the story? Does an animal just magically appear next to him? Does he have to go find one and tame it? Can one find him in the middle of a dungeon, or next time he's in the wild one just starts following him around? Does he need to perform any kind of additional checks to find, spend time searching for, or otherwise use any other game mechanics to gain his animal?
Thanks for your advice.