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"IT'S A DOG GONE SHAME!" by Jayne

     "Well, isn’t that odd?” Meg Gordon paused at the foot of a crepe myrtle tree and stared at the collection of colorfully painted rocks assembled around its trunk. They ranged in size from a Peppermint Patty to a decent-sized pancake. Each rock commemorated a neighborhood dog who had crossed the rainbow bridge. Officially it was called the Haverford Community Garden; unofficially The Dog Gone Garden.
Today, there was an empty space where one rock should have been, a green and yellow rock that held a special place in Meg’s heart. There was nothing more than a small muddy hole there now.
“Where did Scruffles’ rock go?” she asked her dog, Cannoli.
     The tawny terrier mix responded by wagging his tail as he looked around in search of his best friend.
Scruffles was a long-haired dachshund who had belonged to their elderly neighbor Mrs. Bennett. He had escaped from his yard and been squished by a car a few months ago, leaving many broken hearts behind. Mrs. Bennett’s recent hip surgery prevented her from making the daily pilgrimage to visit the commemorative rock. Right now, it was the only connection to the woman’s much-loved canine companion. She’d asked Meg and Cannoli to check on it every day. Which they did anyway. They all missed Scruffles so much.
“It has to be around here somewhere.” Meg talked to her dog like he was human. Someday he’d answer her back. “Let’s see if we can find it.”
Cannoli went into sniffing mode, following his nose along the oyster-shell path. He’d trot a few feet, and then backtrack before heading off in another direction. His tail wagged as he worked, but he never followed a trail very far before returning to her side.
Meg laughed at his antics. “Don’t waste your energy,” she said. “I don’t see it anywhere. I bet Dharma took it to touch up that chipped paint.” Dharma was the artist credited with creating the beautiful rocks in the Dog Gone Garden. “Let’s stop and see her on our way home.”
     It was a beautiful early fall day in the community that hugged the Chesapeake Bay. Meg and Cannoli enjoyed the stroll along the sidewalks that meandered through the neighborhood that showed the progression of housing design; from early 1900s beach bungalows to cozy post-WWII Cape Cods to 1950s split levels and on to 1960s brick ranchers. Some were well maintained, others less so. It was an eclectic, some might say dilapidated, community, but Meg was happy to call it home.

BUY A COPY OF TO FETCH A THIEF TO FIND OUT WHAT MEG AND HER DOG CANNOLI UNEARTH IN THE DOG GONE GARDEN. 

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