A Good Dog Neighbor

Yesterday my son and I had lunch at the local sandwich shop. He brought his little dog, half Chihuahua, half terrier. I fed Violet scraps of lettuce under the table while we ate. She thinks she’s a vegetarian.
Afterward, we followed the usual routine and came back to my house, where Violet could run in the adjacent park. I went inside, cut up my sister’s sandwich for her, and leashed the new rescue dog, Daisy. Pepper, the dog I’d raised from puppyhood would have to wait her turn for a walk. I can’t handle them both at the same time, and Pepper would be less likely to eat my sister’s sandwich right out of her hands.
Nick, Violet, Daisy and I hung out in the park for a while. I had a double long leash on Daisy, but I want her to learn to come to me, so I dropped the leash and let her run. After a few seconds, I’d call her back to me to get a treat. She is getting the hang of it.
Come to your master, and you shall be rewarded.
I still wanted to walk the neighborhood, but my son was reluctant. He was more concerned with the big loose dog from across the park. I recognized the German short-haired pointer. It belonged to a young guy whose mother lives across the greenbelt from me.
“What if he follows us?” he said. “I don’t want him to get hit by a car.”
The dog had been loose before. I suggested we go knock on their door. When I got there, the front door was standing open by six inches. I rang the bell, but no one answered. I peeked inside and saw two smaller dogs behind a gate in the kitchen.
“Hello?” I called several times. No one was there.
I couldn’t remember the brown dog’s name, but I used my coaxing tricks to get him to come to me — kissing noises, clucking noises, clapping my hands. The dog was engaged and ran up to me. I threw a treat in the house and shut the door after the dog ran inside.
“I hope he lives here,” I said to my son.
Just then the next-door neighbors pulled up and got out of their car.
“Excuse me,” I said, walking over to them, “your neighbors have a big brown dog, right?”
The man said, “No, two little dogs.”
“But the son has a big brown dog, right?” I pushed. “He was loose, and I just let him inside.”
“Yes, he has a Dalmatian,” the man said, “named Zeke.”
I didn’t argue with the man regarding the breed. Zeke is spotted, so close enough.
Just then Zeke came bounding back out of the front door and took off for the park. My son and I agreed that Zeke knew how to open the latch. Now, out of treats, it was harder to get him to come. But I knew his name.
“Do you have their phone number?” I asked. “Can you call them and tell them their dog is out and their front door is open?”
“Their number is in the house,” the wife said.
“Zeke, come!” I called, clapping my hands together.
Half the neighborhood was in the front yards, even the construction guys across the street.
Miraculously, Zeke came up to the porch. I pretended to throw a treat inside, and he ran through the door. I pulled it shut again and tried to reopen it. Locked.
“Now can we take our walk?” I asked my son.
When we finished the loop and passed Zeke’s house, the front door was still shut, and Zeke was inside.
I went home, traded dogs for walk # 2, and took Barb’s dish off of her lap, but not before Daisy helped herself to the crumbs.
It was just another doggy day in the neighborhood.

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