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Dog Day Afternoon
by Heidi Heimler

When I hear the thud of their bodies falling onto the bed, I slink into the room and position myself so my eyes are just above mattress level. Then - I stare.

Her eyes meet mine and the action on the bed comes to a grinding halt.

“I can’t,” she says. “Not with him sitting there; watching.”

Joe groans. “Aw babe. I’m at full mast.”

“I can’t.”

“Damn mutt…” He stumbles off the bed, grabs me by the collar and tosses me into the yard. As soon as the door closes behind him, I slither through the hole I’ve dug beneath the fence.

Sweet freedom is mine!

I run with wild abandon through the neighborhood, frothy drool dripping from my mouth, my tags clanking. I tear across Mrs. Pittman’s garden, and when I see her puckered face in the window, I turn around and plow through again.

I stop in front of the Bradly’s house, where a hot French poodle with a killer ‘do and an attitude to match just moved in. For weeks I’ve been fantasizing about sniffing her perky little behind. I bark until my throat is sore, but there’s no sign of my beloved.

I move on, a bit slower now as there are so many heady scents, so much fascinating information to take in. Piddles the pug has apparently declared ownership of the corner fire hydrant, but Gershwin the Husky made it abundantly clear that he is the sole proprietor of that particular hydrant. Mrs. Griswald’s wolfhound has gastric issues. Iggy the Malamute needs grooming.

With the exception of Gershwin’s hydrant, I mark everything. Lampposts, mailboxes, and newly tarred driveways, I decorate them all. At the Smiths’ – notorious for forgetting garbage day - I belly up to the trash can buffet.

Eventually I hear it: Joe’s rusty jeep rumbling in the distance. The sputtering grows close and I quickly polish off the last bits of Limburger cheese, chicken skins and bread crusts.

Then he spots me and the jeep screeches to a stop. We run to each other like long-lost lovers. He sweeps me into his arms and chides me for scaring him. I lick his face.

I can hardly wait till his next date.