The Engineer was helping me plant some pampas grass that a client heaved out of her trunk last week, a couple of clumps with their roots anchored in wads of dirt weighing about thirty pounds each. People bring me stuff like this on a whim. I was just stomping the soil down tight when, out of the rays of the dropping sun, a smallish glossy-black-curly-bouncy terrier-ish dog came hurtling down the sidewalk from inside the neighborhood, headed straight for the intersection of my street with a four-lane divided. A blonde Norman Rockwell eight-year-old, pounding after him but hopelessly outclassed, was shouting an unintelligible name; the dog, tasting freedom, was not about to pay any notice. Fate intervened in the form of a lamp-post. It wasn’t a hydrant but it was good enough for a sniff.
Small dog. I am not really afraid of small dogs. I jumped forward, extended my arms and called “C’mere, doggie!” Anything new is interesting; he bounded over and I hoisted him up just as the little girl reached us.
“Your little doggie get away from you?” I said. “Here we go.” She gathered him up, not all that gracefully. “Hand under his little butt, then he won’t get loose as easy.”
Halfway down the block a Momly figure waved to me. I waved back.
“I just,” I said in dawning shock to the Engineer as we pruned the thyme, “caught a runaway dog. For a little girl. Do not let this get out into the community.”
As he left a little while ago he spotted an envelope sitting on top of my mailbox.
I mean, I can’t stand children. Or dogs. And he would have been okay, the juvenile canine doofus.
I am so screwed.