As I walked back from the kids’ bus stop this morning I felt someone watching me. I turned to see the little poodle that lives next door staring at me through her front window. I gave her a little wave and a smile, embarrassed because she knows ALL of my business. I hurried home to my Springer spaniel, Jewel – the neighborhood gossip.
Jewel and that poodle meet at the fence every afternoon. They pace back and forth while chatting it up. Once in a while they look back and see me standing there by the sliding glass door. Jewel looks guilty and I know she is talking about me again. She lowers her head and barks more softly with her back to me.
My dog is constantly watching me, looking for juicy stories to share. She follows me around all day waiting to see what I’ll do. She witnessed me dropping my phone in the toilet, turning my hair a sickly shade of pink, and accidentally planting my wedding ring in the herb garden. Whenever I do these stupid things Jewel is sitting right there beside me with one of her little dog eyebrows up.
“So she hurries around the corner,” I imagine my dog telling the poodle yesterday, “and trips over the big guy’s shoes.”
“How delicious!” says the poodle in a quick little voice. “Tell me everything!!” She moves closer to the fence and wags her fluffy ball of a tail.
“She stood there rubbing her toes and yelling out some of those words she saves for when she’s mad,” says my dog. “And when she looked up and saw the kids standing in the hall, she pretended to be singing!”
“NO!” says the poodle with a small laugh.
“Yes!” barks my dog, enjoying the attention. “But that’s not the best one.”
“More trouble with the self-tanner?” asks the nosy little poodle.
“Better,” teases my dog as she moves closer to the fence. “She got some new hot rollers for her hair. She was all dressed up because she was going to an important lunch.”
“Go on, go on,” yips the poodle.
“She rolled them too close to her scalp and they got stuck! You should have heard her yelling!” Jewel begins to laugh, “Everyone was gone for the day already so she stomped around using more of those words, and then she ran to the kitchen.”
“Why?” pant, pant, “Why?” The poodle has her front paws on the fence now, drooling over every detail.
“She got the scissors!”
This is where I picture the two dogs laughing hysterically.
They jump and run the length of the fence trying not to pee. When they sit again Jewel takes a deep breath and adds, “She left the house wearing her gardening hat!”
Again, the fits of dog laughter.
They both roll on their backs, wriggling around like they’re scratching while the giggle barking echoes through the neighborhood.
I cringe and close the blinds.
Oh, no. Jewel wants out again. I plead to her with my eyes: “Be gentle,” they say. I slide the glass door open and my dog heads for the fence with a bark. I wish she hadn’t seen me mistake the orange juice for milk on my cereal this morning.