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They wanted a dog! Then they should do the work, too.” She plunked down on a tree stump next to him. “I hoped it would teach the kids responsibility. And drag them away from their screens.”

His cold stare made her huddle into her sweater. “Hey, don’t you judge me. You don’t have to do anything.” She swallowed her tears. “It’s a lot to manage on my own.”

The clouds moved, and the moonlight exposed his messy belly. She chuckled. “Okay, so you’re living proof they do go outside sometimes.”

She inhaled the smell of wood burning in the neighbour’s fireplace. Her anger released with her breath in white mist. “To be fair, I yearned for a furry friend too.” She reached out to adjust his pebble buttons.

The back door creaked open. A small voice called out, “Mom? I cleaned up the dog poo with one of those bags. Nate just took Wolf for a walk. You want us to make noodles for ourselves?”

Heat gusted through the door and embraced her. “No honey, it’s alright. I’ll make dinner.”

She got up. “Thanks for listening buddy.” She smiled and nudged his carrot nose.

Listen to CKUA Radio’s interview with me about this story.