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The Sun Magazine

Family and Relationships

Companion Animals

Fiction

Stop Hitting Yourself

I was twenty-six, working full time at the Bagelry in suburban Chicago, avoiding the future. The future did not seem like anything you could count on. Even in suburban Chicago, where Public Works employees smiled while scraping up roadkill, people were unhappy, desperate to convince themselves of something good. Desperate.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Peanut

The goat became my charge during my third week in rehab. My counselor, Victoria, suggested I browse the stuffed-animal collection at the clinic gift shop and select one to represent my inner child. “Care for it,” she told me. “Keep it safe. Treat your inner child as you would a baby bird that’s fallen out of its nest.” She cupped her hands, as if to cradle a tiny chick.

Photography

Animal Shelter

I have always admired companion animals, and several years ago I decided to volunteer at a shelter in New York City. By law the animals there had to be killed if they were not adopted within a short period of time. So I started taking photographs of the animals and posting them on social media. I wanted to convey their unique personalities as well as their loneliness and fear. Almost immediately the adoption rate at the shelter increased.

Fiction

Says Mother

I’m just drifting off to sleep when a creature in the bushes outside my window screams like a human baby. I run to the kitchen. What is that? I ask my mother. Mother says, That is a fisher. I’m eight and have never heard of such an animal. A fisher, says Mother, is a kind of weasel that lives in the woods. It eats cats. It could even, she says, eat a very small dog.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Dirty Work

After I stoppped having concerns over a Row Five assignment, there was only one thing I actively feared: the tap. Once every week or so the Narc would tap an attendant on the shoulder and send him or her to the backroom to thin out the population.

Quotations

Sunbeams

What do you see when you look at an animal? A kindred spirit, a creature much like you; but possibly, the very next moment, a beast, a stranger, just an animal. Animals are like those pictures that we see as one thing and then another; the duck that suddenly becomes a rabbit; the wineglass that’s also an old woman in profile. Now the pig is a fellow creature, like Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web. Now he’s pork.

Jean Kazez