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The Sun Magazine

Family and Relationships

Companion Animals

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Eclipse

To distract myself from the fact that my dog is dying, I check the headlines. This is August 2017, so the news is not good, but it keeps my gaze from drifting over to my dog’s curled-up body, trembling on his bed in the corner. In a lot of ways, reading the news is like watching my dog die, just easier to bear.

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.