The summer of my mother’s illness, a season so hot and dry it might have erupted in flames, we discovered the dog liked television. She barked if we left her alone in the dim silence of the bedroom but was cheerful if we provided a documentary about whales. She learned why prehistoric wolves were likely to care for their sick and injured while we drove my mother, fasting, to the operating room and kicked the broken dishwasher and forgot garbage day for so many weeks the utility room overflowed. The dog watched Billy the Exterminator capture raccoons and alligators and restore them to their natural habitats; she watched The Civil War, learned about our national parks, considered the troubles facing our oceans. My mother wept and raged and drank clear liquids and worried that none of us loved her enough, and the dog settled her narrow head on a pillow, her black eyes wise.