General Non-Fiction posted October 19, 2022

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A true story

Walking the Dog

by Jill McCauslin

6:00 PM

It's Friday evening and I decide to take Penny, my dog, for a walk.

Penny is an Irish Doodle, half Irish setter and half poodle. She's a pretty dog, very sweet but not the brightest dog. She's also high energy and is obsessed with retrieving balls. She loves tennis balls. Even though she can't remember what sit means, she's smart enough to know where tennis balls are kept, any place she goes.

I clip on her leash, and we head out the door. Penny loves to walk the short circle around my neighborhood because she loves seeing the other dogs. She really doesn't care about going on long walks now that she knows where every dog lives.

6:10 PM

Penny and I both hear Henry woofing at us. Penny begins to pull on her leash, dragging me towards Henry's house.

Henry is a big white furry dog. He's mainly a Grand Pyrenees with some golden retriever mixed in. Henry only has three legs. He was found loose somewhere in Kentucky with a badly broken back leg which they ended up amputating. Everyone in the neighborhood knows Henry because he has a distinctive hop and is a gentle dog. Henry works as a therapy dog. He goes to local libraries so young children can read to him. He also visits nursing homes. He's a well-behaved dog and Penny is not.

Penny adores Henry and Henry likes Penny a lot.

Who knew that a dog could have a best friend?

6:12 PM

Janet, Henry's mom, comes to the door. She asks, "Do you have time to visit?"
Penny bolts to the door.

I say, "Yes, we don't have anything going on."

She invites us in and suggests we sit on her back deck. Penny jumps up at Janet. I say, "Penny, get down" and yank on her leash.

Janet and I have recently become friends. Apparently, making friends with other dog owners is much the same as making friends with the other parents at a kid's soccer game. You see each other enough that you get to know each other.

Whenever Janet invites us into her house, I feel inadequate. Her house is always clean and orderly. She has actual artwork on the walls and coordinating colors. I do not manage to decorate my house in any coordinated fashion, and I usually can't invite people in unexpectedly because I'm the kind of person who plops things down and then forgets them. It's often a mess in my house.

Janet and I sit on her deck and chat while Henry chews on Penny's head and makes growling sounds. Penny doesn't seem to mind.

When she comes near me, I pet her. "Oh Penny, your head is drenched."
Janet opens the door back into the house and both dogs run in. They come back out carrying dog toys. Penny has found a ball that squeaks. She keeps biting it enough to make the squeaking sound.

6:35 PM

I say that its time for us to go. Janet says she and Henry will walk us up the street because Henry needs a walk.

We go back into her house, the dogs running in front of us.

Janet asks me if I'll slide the screen door closed between the deck and the house. I pull the screen door shut.

Janet is talking about where we put Penny's leash when suddenly Penny races across the room, clutching a ball in her mouth, and charges towards the deck.

I yell, "No, Penny" but she doesn't listen. She hits the screen door. Instead of repelling Penny, the screen splits vertically in half and Penny runs onto the deck without missing a step. She turns around and trots back into the house through the torn screen, tail waving happily in the air and the ball still clenched in her mouth.

I say, "Oh, I'm so sorry." My anxiety just grew worse.

Janet says, "Wow, Penny." She says, "Don't worry about it. I think Ace Hardware repairs screens. I'll take it there and see what they can do."

I say, "Let me know what it costs, and I'll pay for it." This really is as bad as having a child.

6:45 PM

Henry and Janet escort us back to our house. I repeat that I'll pay for the screen repairs.
Janet says "Good night, Penny. We'll see you tomorrow."

Janet and Henry continue their walk and Penny and I go into our house. Penny runs to her toy box and pulls out a ball.

"Forget it," I say.

True Story Contest contest entry

A picture of Penny with her tennis ball.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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