“This new house is starting off great” Lolly agreed with the voice in her head. Her parents promised the pool would be operational before school started but right now there was just mossy water at the deep end where it hadn’t all drained out. But boy was she going to have an EPIC sea battle with her boat collection. She even had a Huckleberry Finn raft, along with ten other models from Niña, Pinta, Santa Maria to war ships scaled in perfect proportions! Scaled to Proportion were added to her new vocabulary which she was building as a project, preparing to be a grown up. When you get to be age 10 and you’re going into the 5th grade, the next step is as a Grownup, so a birthday present to match that exalted age is called for and she very much agreed that her new Apple Watch with the Minnie Mouse face filled the bill. She had no real friends after moving to the new house, so didn’t mind foregoing a party this year..

But no friends? That’s truly wrong! The best thing about this new place was her friend Madam. They had already gotten into a sort of daily routine, where Madam would greet her at the fence each morning, her head reaching well above it when standing on her back legs, but Lolly just even with the top. They settled on a knothole in the fence relationship, Madam being agreeable to the arrangement. Mrs Bingham, Madam’s owner, cautioned that Madam should not become excited or over-exert because puppies were coming soon and she needed to be calm so they wouldn’t be born before their time. “I bet she could jump over that fence if she wasn’t going to be a mom” was Lolly’s secret conviction. 
“I have something for your babies Madam, I made some of it myself. It’s my lace and satin pillow but I put on there with my magic marker and sparkles that this is the puppies’ pillow” “but until they’re born I’m going to let the dolls sit on it to watch my boats and their big EPIC battle in the water, Okay?” Epic, that great new word, was injected into conversations whenever possible.
“Lolly?” called Mrs Niemi, the sitter, “you okay out there while I catch up on my soaps?” “Oh sure Mrs Niemi, I’m just talking to Madam.”
Mrs Niemi had slipped into the world of the Price is Right and Bob Barker had called her on down. The scream was the audience yelling their approval so she receded further into her dream of TV riches. Madam knew the difference though and her puppy-heavy body sailed right over the top of the fence and to the deep end of the pool. Lolly lay there, bloodied after tripping over the dolls, landing on her forehead, face in the slimy water. Madam knew exactly what she must do, two things: Lolly first, then get the person inside the house to help!
“How did that dog manage to clear the fence?” The question everyone was asking but who had an answer? Nobody. Just thankful. A Hero Dog Lives In Our Neighborhood was the theme of the block party, the newspaper had Madam’s picture and story and local TV interviewed Lolly and Madam. A brand new golden and red collar with Madam’s name and Hero were engraved. 
Lolly’s gift was much more memorable, she thought. It was Chester, one of Madam’s four babies. Chester has a satin and lace pillow with his name embroidered on it, and…

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