There were no neighborhood dogs in the places I grew up. We had our own dogs, and a persnickety cat, but they were predictable.

I always like to say that the first person I met upon moving to Anniston was Roams, the golden retriever who lived across the street, so named because that’s what he did. When I pulled the car up in front of our new house, Roams came over to greet met.

After Roams moved away, his place in the neighborhood was taken by a little black Schnauzer-mix with a limp. He would trot purposefully down the streets as if he owned them, but he would not stop to give you the time of day. We called him the Mayor of Glenwood.

Now that we have moved out to the country, we (well, some of us) keep saying that we need more than one dog. There are five families on our short stretch of street, and between us we have nine dogs.

Four of the neighborhood dogs live right next door. Maggie is the leader of the pack, a big yellow-lab mix. It took her awhile to figure out how to play with our small dog. They’ve worked out a system where Maggie lays down on the grass, and our dog jumps over her, back and forth, back and forth ….

Bo is the elder statesman of the group, a bull terrier who never loses his cool, unless you offer him a stick. Bo marks everything his little legs can reach. Last year, when the grandparents arrived for Christmas and unloaded a pile of wrapped gifts from the car, Bo came over to investigate and, well, the less said about that the better.

The shyest of the dogs next door is a Chihuahua named Taco. Taco and Maggie are quite a sight, the big yellow dog and the tiny yellow dog, trotting off together to explore in the woods.

The other dog who lives next door is Fancy, a beautiful Westie who stays in the house most of the time. At Christmas, we took a loaf of gingerbread to the neighbors, and received a plate of homemade candies in exchange. Fancy popped out of the doggie door and followed us all the way back to our house.

Another pack of four dogs lives at the end of the street. We don’t know them as well because they have to stay behind a fence. Three of them are small dogs that like to bark at us. They are very loud. The fourth dog is older, and missing a leg, and our neighbors are fostering her.

My daughter and I dream of adopting the three-legged dog, because she just might be the sweetest dog in the world, but I’m pretty sure she’s already found her permanent home. Besides, the status quo is pretty sweet. Nine dogs to play with, only one to feed.

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