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Neighborhood watch

We can’t run on My Trail at night because it’s infested with bicycles. So after Mom gets home from work, it’s loops around the neighborhood or nothing. But running around the neighborhood is also dangerous. There are so many people and dogs that don’t know the rules, and I have to educate them. Whenever we see a Friend coming toward us, Mom makes me cross the street. And then there are the cars, which are just as inconsiderate and brainless as the dogs and people – often they don’t even stay on the road and pull up to the sidewalk or even over the sidewalk and into the driveways so that naughty dogs have nowhere to get out of my way.

No sooner had we come out of the cul-de-sac when I saw a dog walking his person. “Hey! This is my street! What do you think you’re doing here?” I shouted as Mom dragged me over to the other side of the street. “Don’t make me come over there!” I kept shouting at him, until he was so far behind us that my head couldn’t turn that far anymore. Then I pranced along like a happy ballerina. I love running around yelling at stuff.

You can’t go far in any direction from our house before you hit something that can’t be crossed: a freeway, train tracks, a really big street or downtown filled with people who don’t share the sidewalk with a bowling-ball-dog. So we just ran zig-zags up one street and down the next. We turned the first corner and found ourselves 10 yards behind an all-black dog walking a man in all black. “Hey! Come out here where I can see you, you shifty lowlifes!” I shouted. So Mom dragged me across the street. On the next street there was a little dog off leash in her front yard looking for the perfect place to pee. “Don’t you go tagging up my neighborhood, you little vandal!” I screamed, as Mom pulled me back to the other side of the street.

This was fun!

Next, we had almost run right into a big boxer walking a person in running gear. The boxer was standing behind a tree, letting his person check her phone. “Don’t you know people are trying to use these sidewalks, you big galoot! You think you own this place?” I bawled. He just stared back. Then we passed a person walking without a dog, talking to the antennae hanging down from her ears. I didn’t bark at her, but instead I played chicken and would have bowled her over if Mom hadn’t pulled me onto someone’s lawn at the last second.

Finally we were almost home when we passed a fine, upstanding dog on the other side of the street. “Hey! You! You over there running like you own the place. You think you’re hot stuff?” he shouted at me. “Yeah! I’m talking to you! What do you think you’re running from?!” Obviously this was a dog who could see reason, and had the neighborhood’s best interests at heart. I ignored him, and smiled knowingly at Mom. Night runs are fun.

–Oscar the Pooch



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