Bad Dog (Why live with a difficult animal?)

The first time Jack came to live with me was in July. He’d caused trouble at another foster home and been kicked out. A few days in, my boyfriend explained that I could choose to share my home with him or with a dog but not both, so the next day I walked Jack up the road and handed his leash over to a girl who lived in Gramercy. I became sour about it. I didn’t see why my boyfriend couldn’t tolerate living with a dog. Our relationship faltered, then disintegrated, so when, in September, the head of the rescue called to ask whether I could take Jack on once again, I was living alone. An hour after the call, I was in front of my apartment building, watching for a taxi. It stopped at the lights, and Jack was handed out of the back-seat window, held around his chest, so that his hind legs dangled and hit the window frame. As cars behind started honking, a garbage bag followed, hitting the sidewalk as the car took off. Back inside, I emptied the bag onto the floor to find toys and bedding that I’d bought for him months earlier. Jack ran the length of the apartment—tail wagging, the buckle on his harness clacking—and then jumped into my bed, dug at the covers, and went to sleep.

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