Occasionally, when I'm having personal and private time in my bathroom, I get the eerie feeling I'm being watched.
By MARLA JO FISHER
The Orange County Register
Then, I look down and find a pair of limpid brown eyes peering up at me adoringly.
In fact, Buddy the Wonder Dog trots after me from room to room, everywhere I go.
A long-haired Jack Russell Terrier we got from the pound, Buddy is endlessly fascinated with whatever I'm doing, whether I'm washing the dishes, working on the computer or trying not to look into my children's bedrooms.
With him around, I feel like Brad and Angelina and Beyonce and Jay-Z, all rolled up into one.
Clearly, that is a dog thing.
Buddy's the first pooch I've owned as an adult, so I'm just learning the canine ways, but I can state with great certainly that my late cat, Bob, would never have done this.
Bob, a long-haired black feline who could howl ferociously like Jacob Marley's ghost, was interested in only two rooms in my house: The kitchen, where the royal minions prepared his food, and the room in which said minions provided a warm lap for him to sit on and be worshipped.
No other rooms were necessary, and he certainly had too much dignity to follow me everywhere I went in the house.
It would have interfered with his napping, too, and with his viewing of afternoon soaps, when he invited several of his friends over and expected me to make them all catnip cocktails.
This would never happen with Buddy. Buddy might periodically make a break for it out of the hellish prison that is our back yard, trying to make it to Canada and freedom, but he would never expect me to throw a party for his friends.
And, in fact, now that Buddy's middle-aged, his celebrated past as an escape artist has definitely quieted down.
Think Harry Houdini at age 85, if he'd lived that long.
Buddy still occasionally gets out, for old time's sake, but then he mostly just wanders the neighborhood and randomly pees on people's flowerbeds until someone recognizes him and brings him home.
Due to his fame, he's pretty much known far and wide as that peripatetic dog who can't stay home.
When I'm working at home and the doorbell rings unexpectedly, I immediately look to see if the dog's loitering under my feet. If not, it might be a neighbor at the door returning him from yet another trek around the block.
In fact, we once had an imposter Buddy show up at our house.
One afternoon, there was a knock on the door, Curly Girl answered it and was handed a long-hair Jack Russell terrier.
"Here's your dog, he got out again," the kid with the slouch and the baseball hat glued to his head said, as he handed him over.
Only after we looked at this animal did we realize that he actually was not Buddy, but a celebrity impersonator.
We tried chasing after the neighbor, to foist the dog back on him, but he had cleverly made it back to his own house before we got there.
The Buddy imposter had no tags on him and no way to be identified.
I'd never seen him around. So I figured we'd better take him to the animal shelter, so the owner could find him. We got in the car and started driving out of our tract.
Only one block from our house, Curly Girl shouted, "Look at that! I bet that's his owner."
And there was a woman driving an SUV in a very dazed and confused manner, peering at every bush and fire hydrant, exactly like we do when Buddy gets out. I pulled over next to her and rolled my window down.
"Are you looking for a dog?" I asked her.
"Oh, yes," she said, and then crowed with pleasure when she saw Imposter Buddy.
"He's always getting out," she told me as she loaded him into her car. Turns out she only lives a few blocks away.
Hmm, I thought to myself, then maybe you should keep a collar on him with his name and address.
I'm basing this on my vast experience as a dog owner, which consists of having dogs when I was a kid, and adopting Buddy seven years ago from the pound.
Since then, I've grown accustomed to having that set of eyes peering at me everywhere I go.
Now that my kids are teenagers and only need me as an ATM and a chauffeur, it's kind of nice to be able to sing "Me and My Shadow" as I move from room to room.
Now I'm waiting for the first dog-friendly camera to come out, so he can join the ranks of the paparazzi.
Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @FrumpyMom.