The sun shines through the wisps of the tall pine trees surrounding my little neighborhood. The breeze is quiet, but a coolness wraps around me as soon as we open the door leading into the breezeway connecting the apartments.
Of course, the canine is excited about being outside. He can’t wait to jump out and start exploring. The sidewalk leading to the uneven drive with loose gravel here and there is a little crooked, but that doesn’t stop Toby from heading down his path.
As we make the turn into the parking lot, I pull back on Toby’s leash. “Let’s look for cars.” Seeing no cars and no dogs, we saunter toward the front driveway of the apartment building.
The dog zone is around the dumpster that is fenced in near the front entrance. The colors of the dumpster are mosaic – rust and a faded blue.
Behind the dumpster is an area with a large tree with a trunk, and thick green grass and dirt. It is called the ‘dog zone’ as it is a place where they can go potty. It is one of two or three places where there isn’t normal foot traffic.
Toby does his business, and we decide to take a chance and do a little longer walk. We saunter through the grassy field between apartment buildings, and turn to the left, where he has to stop at the fire hydrant – not red, but blue and yellow. As we are walking on the cement drive, I see it coming – a new adventure. A neighbor’s dog, not leashed, comes running down the sidewalk.
I grab Toby and hold him in my arms – and he sees what I saw. The barking was loud, was gruff and wasn’t stopping. The little dog kept coming towards us, and the owner just walked out. She didn’t call her dog. She went to her car and put something in it .She asked me what sex my Toby was. I look at her. She runs around me, calling to her dog, who keeps coming towards me, then runs away from her.
All the while, Toby is barking and growing in my arms, wiggling to get a good look. Finally, I ask the neighbor if she wants me to stop. I did, and her dog came to me, and Toby kept barking. Finally, she leashed him.
Toby and I walked on back toward our little place. I put him down after I was sure there was no danger. As we turned the corner, I noticed. Another neighbor was walking her dog down the middle of the street from the other side. I turned Toby up the grass and put parked cars in between his view and the new dogs.
Our walk around the neighborhood ended peacefully.
But we did it. (Becky Holland, firstname.lastname@example.org)