In the land of beige homes, all the good dogs are invisible

I’ve heard the rumor the people across the street and up the block have a large puppy who loves to play with Maggie, the Neighbor Dog.

Rumor has it that he spends most of his time in the backyard and that his name is Freddy.

I’ve never met Freddy, but from what I hear — my wife walks the hallowed streets of Beige Estates with Maggie and the Neighbor Lady — she’s seen him several times. To hear her tell it, he’s one of those playful pups who gets down on his haunches and fakes this way and that when he and Maggie play.

I have seen Maggie more than once, for which I’m thankful.

I should mention the large Bernese mountain dog who lives on the corner, three doors down in the other direction.

I saw him once when he was on a walk, but that was before I knew where he lived. His master, another Neighbor Lady, was walking him when I violated Neighborhood Association Covenant 24B, Article 1 by breaking neighborhood silence to ask if I could pet him.

They say the fastest way to a man’s heart is through a Neighbor Lady’s dog.

I haven’t seen him since, and it has nothing to do with me being a scofflaw who flaunts the Neighborhood Etiquette Covenant dealing with such topical issues as Stranger Danger, Poop Scooping and keeping all dogs other than Pansy hidden from me.

I see Pansy often, but not because I want to. She’s a little wiry scoundrel who makes a beeline while barking with rage at anyone who dares step out of our house. Her owner, yet another Neighbor Lady, always seems to misplace the leash when it’s time to let this anger-infested Kamikaze out.

It’s hard to maintain neighborhood tranquility when little Pansy begins yapping and foaming at the mouth and the woman starts screaming, “Pansy, PANSY, PANZEE! Get over here, NOW!!”

She’s put her foot down so often one leg’s shorter than the other.

I’ve spent hours and hours sharpening my cowboy boots, anticipating the day when this 12-pound misanthrope gets within field-goal range.

I can hear the play-by-play: “It’s high enough, it’s long enough … it’s GOOD!!

I would never, ever do that unless Pansy goes after one of our cats, or me, my son or my wife. Oh, that’s everyone.

The irony, of course, is that Beige Estate’s biggest dog-less dog lover — me — gets to see Pansy often, but never the larger dogs alleged to live of the block.

I got my hopes up when the people on the other corner put up signs that they were installing Invisible Fence, an electric device that convinces dogs an evil-tempered spirit lurks at the edge of the yard.

The signs and little flags have been up for three weeks, but I still haven’t noticed Fred, the blond lab I’ve seen maybe twice in three years.

So that makes it a Fred, a Freddy and a Bernese mountain dog who live within a block that I never see. I’m beginning to think there’s a covenant that requires special glasses to see dogs weighing over 12 pounds.

I did get face to face with a very large dog Sunday when I took our cats for their annual preventive exams and betrayals. It was a Saint Bernard that weighed in at 127 pounds when its owner finally managed to hip-check him onto the scale.

If Big Rex (I made up the name) ever needs to drop a few pounds, he could move to Beige Estates. On our block, he’d disappear entirely.