Tippy the terrier
had a temper. Ronnie kept him well-behaved through “Dog
Whispering” principles of exercise, discipline and affection but he was still a handful. The dog spent days with her father, a retired colonel who
taught him tricks and spoiled him with low-cal organic dog treats. His
last dog, Mitsy, died and they’d buried her on the mesa behind the
house. Tippy wasn't as smart as Mitsy but he was faster and could jump
higher. He spent all day learning tricks, patrolling the yard, walking
the neighborhood with the colonel and sleeping. Every once in awhile,
when Walter wasn’t paying attention, Tippy would jump the backyard wall
and cross the road to the mesa beyond - the wild edge of the growing
city where exciting smells and risks abound.
Ronnie, Walter and Tippy had moved to Duke City from Minneapolis after visiting one beautiful week in October. She got a job at a temp agency and rented a apartment downtown. But when she got the county job and decided to buy a house, she found the sprawling west side of the city far more affordable. They moved into a new house in Unit One of the huge "Apostrophy" development just before the housing bubble popped and construction stalled. The realtor and developer had made promises about coming shopping, parks and hiking trails but everything came to a stop, including completion of several houses on her street "Parentheses Lane" that now stood half-finished, targets for vandals, tar paper and insulation rattling all night in the wind.