Monday, September 23, 2013


This pretty little pooch is named Buddy. He belongs to my next-door neighbor on the left. Buddy's mom installed a doggy door for him so he can go out into their large, fenced-in backyard and back into the house whenever he chooses, except when the doggy door is locked. I have a feeling someone forgot to lock it day before yesterday. That's when I looked outside to check on my big dogs, Levi and Gimpy, and saw them both doing their "this-is-not-right-oh-this-is-so-wrong" dance, pacing with small steps in a tight circle.

I walked outside to see what was up and there was Buddy, prancing in the driveway of my other next-door neighbor, the one on my right. Levi and Gimpy were correct: Buddy had no business being there. I called his name, and he glanced over his shoulder at me, then turned and walked around the side of the house where I couldn't see him anymore.

I've frequently compared the road in front of our houses to the dangerous one in Stephen King's Pet Semataryand I knew I'd never forgive myself if I minded my own business and Buddy wandered out onto that road. I darted back into the house, grabbed a leash, and ran out the front door, intending to lure Buddy close enough to catch him and walk him home.

As I hurried down my own driveway, my path was intercepted by Buddy, who was nonchalantly heading toward home. As he trotted leisurely across his own front yard, I followed him every step of the way, intent on discovering how he'd escaped the yard. The obvious answer was that an entire section of fence was missing on the far side of the neighbor's yard, no doubt having been taken down a day or two earlier to accommodate work being done in her backyard. I stopped right there, but Buddy turned and jogged alongside the house, then, with one final glance in my direction, disappeared around the back corner.

My neighbor wasn't home, but her daughter's car was in the driveway, so I knocked on the door to let someone know Buddy had been running loose. Nobody answered the first knock, so I knocked again, harder this time, and after a few seconds the door was opened. The neighbor's daughter eyed me curiously, as if she were wondering why in the world I'd pounded on the door. So did Buddy, who had let himself back in and sat right there at her feet.

That dog must think I'm really stupid.

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