On the bright November day I gave away my dog, I watered every plant in the house. Even the artificial ones. The pots overflowed, leaving puddles where none had ever been. It took hours for the water to dry and leave a faint residue behind.

The next day was cold. Over coffee and toast for which nobody begged, I asked the houseplants whether it was more accurate to say she was a good dog or she had been a good dog. They told me not to write a story with a dog in it. Not because they’re overdone or because dogs have suffered enough; they are, and they have. But dogs won’t tell you much about yourself, they said. Nothing you’ll want to hear, anyway.