Twinkie and Doodle are talking thought the picket fence that separates their respective back yards. They used to bark and snarl and snap at each other, sending their owners racing to break it up, screaming, “No! Bad dog!” But after a while, the humans got tired of running and began ignoring the fracas at the fence. All the joy went out of it then. Now the dogs just sniff, their black noses wrinkling as they take in one million megabytes of information about each other. Then they sometimes sit and talk for a few minutes. Their humans think it’s cute, the two dogs communing.
“You seem a little down today. What’s the matter?” Doodle asks.
“It’s just…sometimes I think I’ll never find out who’s a good dog,” Twinkie says, scratching behind her right ear.
“I know what you’re saying,” Doodle responds sympathetically. “I’ve been hearing that ‘who’s a good dog?’ question for years. Don’t know why she keeps asking me, like I’d know.”
“Yeah, who even understands what “Bad dog! Good dog!” mean? Humans. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. They do give good treats, though,” Twinkie says philosophically.
“Well, now treats – that’s a sore subject! She says I’m too fat, and I only get these dinky little Milk Bones once in a while. And she’s really cut down on nibbles from the table. That hurts.” Doodle sneezed for emphasis.
“In fairness, you have put on a pound or two.”
“Okay, okay, just kidding. You need to be using your sad puppy eyes. Remember, we talked about that. Have you been practicing?”
“Oh, I’ve gotten much better at it. Sometimes it even works well enough to get me the last bite of whatever she’s eating.”
Doodle stretches out on the ground with his head resting on his paws. He rolls his eyes up at Twinkie and slowly wags his tail once.
“Oh, wow! Very good!” Twinkie says. “I’d give you a treat myself if I had one.”
The two dogs prick up their ears and look over their shoulders at the humans calling them.
“Later, ‘gator,” Twinkie says.
“In a while, crocodile,” Doodle says.
They trot back to their houses, tails in the air, collars jingling. Doodle hears Twinkie’s human say, “Oooh, who’s a good dog then? Who’s a puppy-wuppy boogems?”
Twinkie glances back at Doodle. If dogs could shrug…