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From Chapter One – How It Didn’t Begin

Think of all the terrific unwanted shelter dogs out there that would be happy to have a home with us, we told ourselves. Just think of what we offered – a decent-sized house with a small fenced garden out back, proximity to Golden Gate Park and its acres of open space, a daughter who regarded dogs as semi-divine beings, and two adults whose flexible work schedules as a community college teacher (Sally) and a journalist (me) would facilitate regular walks and plenty of daytime attention. What dog wouldn’t want to sign on for all that?





From Chapter Two – Life Cycles

We could pretend we didn’t know what it meant when our daughter staged elaborate tea parties for her china dogs or clung to Dakta in bed at night. But of course we knew. We knew we were the ones who wouldn’t get her a dog.

From Chapter Three - The Other Dogs in the Room

The rest of us liked Gengy well enough. I suppose we loved him. But we were also wary of him, especially during the unpredictable rages that came over him when one of us was holding him and a friend or neighbor approached. Most times nothing happened. Gengy would flick his switch-like tail and greet people happily. But every once in a while he would tense up and, before we could react, snarl and clamp down on an extended fingers or hand with his teeth. What made it particularly scary was the way he bit and held on. He wouldn’t nip or snap and be done with it, but grip like a fox trap that had unexpectedly sprung shut.

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