January 20: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

January 21, 2016

January 20It was Christmas Eve, and I was baking sugar cookies and cooking a pot of wild rice soup for dinner. Longboarder was by the fire texting friends. The dogs needed the outdoor snow bank to make yellow snow. Longboarder offered the escort.

Grenny ran off, loping past the barn, the pond and disappeared in the forest behind our place. When Longboarder reported the escape, I wasn’t concerned. Our neighbor told us they were going to Utah for the holidays, and I saw the other two neighbors leave earlier. With no neighborhood dogs to harass and snow falling lightly, Grenny would return.

I heard the first gun shot when I pulled the last sheet of cookies from the warm oven.

Hustling outside, wiping my hands on my holiday apron I froze on the porch. The fear that compelled me outside to find my dog now had an old familiar grip on me. One of my struggles with PTSD is dissociation. The emotional fear trips a danger switch and my emotions numb. Unfortunately, so does my body. I have not experienced a full-body freeze in decades. In fact, I thought I would never do this again after years of therapy, learning to recognize triggers, understand responses and find alternatives.

Stepping outside only to hear the second gun shot split my connection and I could  not move.

Longboarder, unaware of my state, stepped outside and asked if Grenny came back. I didn’t answer and she shrugged and went back inside. How could she know my struggle? I envied the ease of her ability to walk in and out the door. I hated being frozen, feeling the accusation of an old mental enemy that what happens is my fault — normal people scream, move, do something. I felt a wash of shame.

After a third shot and much coaxing from my mind that continued to process what was happening, Grenny came running down the snow clogged dirt road from behind our place. My knees buckled and the spell broke. He was alive and I could move. He ran to me, all wiggles and we walked inside. Longboarder was happy to see him and apologized for letting him run off. I assured her it wasn’t her fault, but told her about the gun shots. She shook her head and asked why would anyone shoot at him?

Why, indeed.

Often the very neighbors behind us let their dogs run free. And they visit, barking at our dogs, chasing the barn cat and lifting a leg on my snapdragons. We’ve even had dogs from across the train tracks and highway visit. Fearing for their own safety, we’ve secured the dogs and called neighbors until we found the owners. After all, that’s what neighbors do. But shoot a trespassing dog?

Evidently this is a serious problem in our area. After the Hub confronted our neighbors over the incident, taking my response to it seriously, we were left puzzled. As I had thought, all three neighbors were gone that day. None saw — or shot at — Grenny. So who was in the forest with a high powered rifle (I recognized the retort) and shooting at dogs when he or she was the trespasser? We didn’t think much more about it until I read a disturbing article in our local newspaper.

North of us, a grisly dumping site was found — dogs, all shot with a high powered rifle. And these dogs include ones that have gone missing from where we live. Someone is killing dogs. For a writer, such stories can make for curious and dark explorations for fiction. Personally, it unnerves me. My dogs are such a vital part of my feeling connected to my body.

This brings me not to horror, but to redemption.

I may not understand autism, but I understand what it is to have something that cuts me off from myself and others. I understand the impact it has on loved ones. I understand the saving grace of a dog. Dogs have a way of cutting through terrific binding barriers. In fact, notice that it was upon seeing my dog that the dissociation state broke. My dog, though the source of my initial shock, was also my comfort. Grenny may not be a trained service dog, but this link between humans and canines is why dogs are used in service.

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction ContestWhich is why we have an important contest happening at Carrot Ranch — 4 Paws for Noah. Blogger, writer and friend, Shawna Ayoub Ainslie, supports writers through her #LinkYourLife blog share, workshops and posts at The Honeyed Quill. And she supports her family with love and compassion, including her nine-year old son, a boy with autism. And a boy with a dog. Noah’s dog is a service-trained dog, linking Noah to the world. Training is costly but worthwhile. The contest is a fundraiser to help offset those costs. It’s only $15 to submit a flash fiction (100 to 500 words) and the first place prize is a generous $250. Second and third place (along with first) will all be featured in the newly launched e-newsletter, Roundup.

Read the rules here and submit through Submittable. All Rough Writers and Friends (except our illustrious judges) who write here are eligible to enter due to the blind process.

Not only can you make a real difference in a boy’s life through his connection to his service dog, you can write about it this week. Maybe your story will inspire others. Perhaps it will encourage understanding the value dogs can bring to our lives. And hopefully, it can be a balm to my community shocked by the atrocities against dogs.

January 20, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a boy and his dog, showing the value or benefit of such a relationship. Be creative, uplifting and demonstrate that such a relationship has merit. If the prompt takes you somewhere darker, know that writing into the dark often retrieves the light. Let it have a purpose.

Respond by January 26, 2016 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

Those Left Behind by Charli Mills

Sarah coaxed the terrier out of his hiding place beneath the barn. Sarah felt numb, disbelieving Cobb was gone. Ever the backbone of the McCanles family, Cobb’s loss was crippling.

The terrier poked his head out, recognized Sarah and snuggled into her arms, darting his tongue at her face. Despite her despair, she smiled. She lifted the dog and walked toward where Mary sat erect in the wagon, stone-faced. Her children were disheveled, an unusual oversight. Monroe ignored Sarah as she approached.

“Monroe, he’s yours now. Take care of him.” And silently, she meant the last for the dog.

###

NOTE: My internet connectivity problems are linked to failed satellite equipment. I’ll continue to be intermittent, but I will be here!

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79 Comments

    • Charli Mills

      Hugs back!

  1. Norah

    Oh Charli. How terrifying. I understand how that gunfire stopped you in your tracks. I’m so pleased your Grenny returned home safely; but how horrifying to read that article about somebody destroying dogs. It is another unnecessary cause for anxiety. Such cruelty is abhorrent.
    The contest to support acquisition of a companion dog for Noah is an admirable one. I have never been a dog owner, but I will do my best to get into the mood for this challenge. I’m sorry to hear you are still experiencing internet difficulties. I hope the service improves soon.
    Your flash, as ever, gives further insight into the people of Rock Creek. This episode portrays Sarah as a strong but empathetic and compassionate woman. What a generous act on her part, to hand the dog to the “other” woman’s family. Unfortunately I don’t get the last statement. Would you mind explaining for me please. 🙂

    • Annecdotist

      Doesn’t she mean she’s telling the dog to take care of Munro?

      • Sarah Brentyn

        That’s how I understood it. ??

      • Norah

        Doh! How obvious that is now that you tell me! Apologies to Charli and thanks to Anne. I don’t know where my brain was heading! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        It was vague! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      It’s taken me until now to process my fear and to realize that something is actually happening in our area. I’m relieved it wasn’t our neighbors and it could have been someone hunting wolves or trapping, but who knows. The discovery was shocking to the community. Seemed so premeditated, deliberate. Thank you for suggesting the contest link in the prompt post. Ah, that last line is vague. I intended to express that Sarah spoke to the boy (Monroe) but was hoping the dog would be the one to ease his pain (losing his father).

      • Norah

        I am relieved it wasn’t your neighbours too. That would have made for a very difficult situation. It was shocking to find the dogs shot and dumped though, even if these were hunters after wolves.
        I’m sorry for not getting your last line. Anne got it (she got yours but not mine!). I need to tighten up my thinking cap, or loosen it – one or the other. As soon as Anne pointed out your intent, I saw it clearly – perfect! It was definitely me and not you! 🙂

      • Annecdotist

        Yes, Norah, I might have been being extra vigilant having missed the huge clue of the elephant (I mean butterfly) in yours.

      • Norah

        I think I’ll take responsibility for being vague. 🙂

  2. Annecdotist

    By sheer coincidence, I had scheduled a post for today reviewing two novels about dogs, as well as promoting your contest:
    http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2016/01/woof-woof-spill-simmer-falter-wither-by-sara-baume-fifteen-dogs-by-andre-alexis.html
    If you read the post, you’ll see I don’t quite get dogs, so I might not make this challenge, although still plenty of time to find inspiration if I can.
    Commiserations about your flashbacks – now this is something I might find a way to write about, having been considering a post on the theme for some time. In the meantime, a question: have you read The Time Traveller’s Wife and, if so, do you take it literally as I do?

    • Lisa Reiter

      Spooky coincidence. Perhaps we’re all part of a collective mind?!

    • Charli Mills

      Enjoyed your reviews of the two dog books, and your story. I see you have other stories there too. I’ll have to download some more, just a few American quarters. 🙂 Ah! The Time Traveler’s Wife…that’s an interesting question. I think the situation can be a metaphor for disconnection in a relationship, perhaps even the husband’s “disorder” that compels him to disappear in time could be taken for lapses in memory or transportation through flashbacks. Interesting to think about. And why I like fiction.

  3. Lisa Reiter

    I hate those flashbacks Charli. But how helpful this post is. As ever you seem to say out loud the thing that’s muttering under its breath at the back of my mind. I’m struggling to finish my memoir. No surprises to hear me say that again.And I know I don’t like dragging up the bad old past. I know it’s not healthy as such and I recognise certain elements as “triggers” but I need to have a closer look at the whole connection today, after reading this. Coincidentally I was asked to write a piece for a mental health site. I don’t like their choice of language – it’s all illness and suffering – so I turned it down. I don’t do victimhood. BUT.. I ought to do a reality check I case I can come up with some strategies for neutralising the impact..
    And a faithful dog.. Quite the metaphor for all that.
    Big love to you
    Lisa xx

    • Charli Mills

      That collective mind! 🙂 In a way, we are time travelers as writers. In thinking about it, activities such as this challenge and other weekly anchors that I attribute to building a platform really serve to root me in the present moment. Even when I write fiction, I can feel distant and disjointed as if I have left the here and now. Maybe that’s why we can’t get into our work too deeply because we are processing past experiences. I’m with you in that line of thinking — I’m not into victimhood. Have you ever heard Dianna Reeve’s song, “I’m an Endangered Species”? She declares, “I sing no victim’s song.” I think it’s important to align with your values. Words do have impact! Here’s a strong song full of strong words: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7I8FDn2WDg&w=420&h=315%5D Big love back! <3

  4. TanGental

    Quite awful. I shudder when I read notices locally of lost dogs and hope they haven’t been kidnapped as happens more and more. Our bundle of fur and fury is a mongrel but still as cute as a pre raphaelite baby. I’d be both devastated and beyond rationality if he went. As for someone shooting him.. Can’t imagine my reaction. Wouldn’t be tidy.
    I hope the completion is going ok. Fingers crossed. And I suspect my flash will be girl and dog rather than boy and dog; I hope that isn’t bending the rules too far

    • Charli Mills

      I used to think as a parent the worst thing would be for one of my children to disappear. Dog-napping would be right up there with that level of distress. Shooting a dog reeks of devaluing life. Even in the heart of firearm haven, Idaho, the community is shocked by this act.

      As for the prompt, it isn’t the contests and the prompt always allows for going where it leads. Gender-bending always welcome at the ranch!

  5. writersdream9

    Truly heartbreaking to hear about the cruelty so often meted out to animals. We like to rescue dogs for that very reason. I can imagine your panic as I have felt similar fear and dissociation about losing a beloved animal friend. Your prompt about a dog and his boy 😉 is filled with possibilities. Thanks, Charli!

    • Charli Mills

      Rescue dogs pull at my heart-strings! We’ve taken in several, fostered a few and picked up dogs along the highway to get them somewhere safe. I so glad you make room in your heart for rescue dogs! I look forward to where the possibilities take you!

      • writersdream9

        They are the best animals!

  6. paulamoyer

    How perfectly awful, Charli. Glad Grenny is back and unharmed, but the thing with the other dogs is unfathomable. And animal cruelty statutes are so inadequate. Will write my post later.

    • Charli Mills

      And you would know! I was reminded of that awful time your sweet Sadie faced imminent danger and how traumatizing it was. Hearing the crack of a high powered rifle, I knew it would be a deadly shot if it hit. And you’re right. Even if they discover who is responsible for the dogs, the law really won’t serve justice. They were “just” dogs.

      • paulamoyer

        Indeed, Charli. I had violent images in my head every time I closed my eyes for weeks to come, even though her injury was superficial. She was shot on my watch and that’s what my body remembered.

        The animal cruelty statutes primarily consider the pet as property, so the cruelty is little above defacing property, IMHO. What should be considered is that often people who are violent against other people often practice on animals first.

      • Charli Mills

        That’s true; often violence to animals is a precursor to violence to people. Pets are so much more than property, but yes, in the light of the law it’s not a big crime.

  7. jeanne229

    Absolutely horrifying. I can feel your paralyzed panic just reading this. And I am left speechless by the topic. WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOME PEOPLE??? I can find no way to understand such gratuitous cruelty. But the theme is powerful. I am not a dog person either, though I think I could be someday. And the neighbors’ dogs always give me that warm satisfying satisfaction that comes from communion with another creature that, while not equipped with our language apparatus, surely speaks to all who would listen. As for autism, my great niece (ok ok that branch all started with the babies very early) found that her 4-year old had autism only a year or two ago. The family is on a swift learning curve. It’s wonderful to see what love can do. So, I’ll try my hand at the prompt. And will even click through to the contest. I have to say though, your challenges are threatening to disrupt my paid work. It’s really all I want to do these days, check out what’s happening at the ranch, and then write on all the topics that your posts provoke in me!

    • Charli Mills

      Cruelty is a tough one to understand. No way you have a great-grand nephew! That branch must have started before yours! 🙂 The challenge is meant to be “quick” but I understand what you mean, some things get me to thinking and there’s nothing quick about a good pondering session. I hope it’s fruitful to your paid work at least!

  8. Pete

    Don’t think I can stomach the piece you linked, but loved your flash this week. Funny how dog’s can sense a good character! On that note…

    Conscent

    Manny crouched low to the kitchen floor, a growl in his throat, his mismatched eyes pinging from Jack to his mother.

    “Jack, what happened?”

    “It was just a nibble, Mom. The guy’s a tool.”

    “Leo is not a….tool,” Mom said. Then to the dog. “Not acceptable, Manny!”

    They peeked out, finding Leo with his back to the living room mirror,
    wrenched around feeling for holes in his skinny jeans.

    “Stupid mutt,” he muttered, turning to fine tune his hair.

    Jack looked up with a whisper.

    “Seriously Mom.”

    Manny slid up beside them. Jack’s mother scratched his head.

    “Good boy, Manny.”

    • Norah

      Love your story, Pete. What a great team that boy and his dog make!

      • Pete

        Thanks Nora, although that mutt and muttered line is killing me!

      • Norah

        Don’t let it! It won’t come back to bite you on the rhyming word. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      It is a disturbing story and not something one expects to happen. I think of all the missing dog posters last summer and I wonder. Poor dogs. I hate the thought of family dogs being pulled away from their loved ones. Dogs usually do have that innate ability to judge character. Manny knows he’s protecting his family!

  9. C. Jai Ferry

    Oh, Charli. I hate hate HATE that you had to go through this! Such sick people out there — it disgusts me. I have to remind myself that there are some amazing people out there as well. Some very good friends of mine had their dogs lured off their property by someone driving by. My friends did everything to find the dogs, even hired trackers, from whom they learned the dogs had been separated and one had been injured (likely shot). This happened just days before their son’s fifth birthday. Unfortunately, they never recovered the dogs (despite months and months of doing everything they could to find them), but their son (and his older sister) turned this tragedy into an opportunity to help animals in need across the country. In the six years since, the kids have raised more than $100k and donated products and food to shelters nationwide. They’ve also inspired other kids to do the same. The story is really inspiring. Balance the evil with some good: http://stevienelson.weebly.com/stevies-story.html

    Now I am off to snuggle with my furries and give them some extra loving while I let my story for the week percolate…

    • Norah

      Wow! What inspirational kids. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Wow, what a “boy and his dog” story! Poor kiddo, how awful to lose his two dogs like that, but what a big heart for a youngster to make good of the tragedy. That deliberate luring away, makes me shudder. Have a nice snuggle! I’ve been snuggling Grenny extra since that day.

    • katespencer17

      Just an incredible and inspiring young man!

  10. Sarah Brentyn

    I’m not sure what to add here. I am so sickened and disheartened. I don’t think I will write a flash but I will say this… At 7 years old, my son said he knew what he wanted for his 8th birthday. When it rolled around, sure enough, he hadn’t changed his mind. He wanted donations of food, toys, and blankets for the dog (and cat) shelter near us. ?????? No point, really, just seemed a good place/time to share.

    • Sacha Black

      What a lovely boy you have Sarah ????

    • Norah

      What a beautiful child! I am touched. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      What a sweetheart! To even think that animals would be comforted by such donations says much about his compassion. I believe animals do respond to acts of love. Appropriate place to share! <3

  11. Sacha Black

    I had no idea you had PTSD Charli what a frightening and traumatic thing to experience. Just know there’s love being sent from this side of the pond ????????

    Hard to do this challenge as I submitted an entry to the actual competition! So all my ideas went into the entry. However, try I did, but of a sad one this week. But nevertheless, here is the next instalment:

    The Firmament #4

    Twenty huskies laid down. Paws out, jaws resting on their legs. A final salute to their comrade.

    I swallowed hard. Hot tears already painted on my cheeks.

    Luke’s sobs filled the ice shaft. Each one tearing through my ribcage like a surgeons knife.

    I reached out and gripped his shoulder, “There’s no greater honour, Luke. He saved your life.”

    He shook beneath my hand. I knew. I knew because if it was Axle lying dead instead of Grey, I couldn’t have carried on.

    I dug my hands into Axle’s fur. He nudged my thigh and whined.

    “I know, boy.”

    • Norah

      That is a sad one, Sacha, but deeply moving too.

    • Charli Mills

      The Hub and I sometimes joke that PTSD is the glue that holds our marriage together. 🙂 I had good therapy and learned tools. That’s what I want for him. He doesn’t have to continue going through life as a charging Army Ranger. Thanks, I feel the love from your direction!

      Oh, what a sad turn of events. You really control the emotion in the writing of this one. I’m liking how this story is broadening, too.

  12. julespaige

    Even with leash laws in the city and suburbs… there are still pets that end up running away – hopefully they get back home safe. Horrid to think that someone was doing what they were to your local dogs. And someone too close to ‘home’.

    Something a tad more pleasant I hope:

    Sheltered Companion

    The boys were ready for a new pet. And the shelter was a
    good place to find one. The Collie-Shepherd mix was much
    bigger than the teacup poodle that died. Dad had to travel
    for business and Mom thought it was good to have a some
    help with the boys. They were all lucky to have her love
    and trust around for about nine years. Favorite photos of the
    pooch where when the boys dressed her up. Both docile and
    protective, better than any electric alarm. She was both a
    member of the family and a lesson in responsibility.

    ©JP/dh

    The post link:
    Sheltered Companion

    • Charli Mills

      I used to think dogs were safe in the country, but now I realize that at least in suburbs and city centers there’s networks of dog control and shelters that protect as much as enforce. Great story about a sheltered companion! Your flash expresses the role of a family companion well.

    • Pete

      I like it. Pound puppies are the best!

    • Charli Mills

      I can tell this one was close to your heart with the warmth that comes through your story. Grenny is curled up on my bed, keeping it warm for me so all is well. 🙂

      • writersdream9

        Awww! Having an animal is so sweet!

  13. Ula

    I hope whoever is doing those awful things is caught. I can imagine many horrible things but killing a dog is difficult to imagine. In fact, I read somewhere that the number one way to get readers to dislike a character is have them kill a dog.

    Dogs really are special creatures. We are unworthy of them and their love, to be honest.

    I’ll be back soon with a flash.

    • Charli Mills

      I know not everyone is a dog enthusiast, but I see such intelligence and emotion in the eyes of a dog. But to destroy one, many, must be a disturbed person. How interesting that the act of killing a dog would illicit that kind of emotion in a reader. Interesting! Yes, I think they are magnificent creatures and today I got to “shoot” several with my camera and what personalities each had!

    • A. E. Robson

      Very touching story.

    • Charli Mills

      And you carried the tune further with your flash, Kate!

  14. Sherri

    <3 I'll be back… <3

    • Charli Mills

      I know where you ride! 😉 <3

      • Sherri

        Haha…you sure do! Oh Charli, I’m lost in a blogging black hole, but you know my feelings for all you posted here. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to return and write a flash for your prompt this week, or comment properly here. Your flash moved me, you write so powerfully in so few words. I love your last line, there is so much written in there. I wonder sometimes at those feelings of ‘disconnect’ when I write my memoir. I am lost in that time, and the story as I write it, and most of the time although I feel the emotion as I write, it doesn’t affect me…to a point. Other times, I’ll write something and suddenly I’ll burst into tears which takes me totally by surprise. I’m glad, it’s not harmful or preventing me from telling the story, but perhaps I need that so that I don’t feel so distant from the person I was back then. But some things, no matter how long ago they happened, no matter how young we were when they did, we never forget, yet we find ways to live and cope, and more than that, to overcome. You are an overcomer Charli and you live victoriously and you show us that we can do the same. And I love you for it <3

      • Charli Mills

        You are an overcomer, too every time you write! Keep writing forward, through it and give it your voice! <3

  15. A. E. Robson

    They’ll love you. They’ll follow you anywhere. They’ll protect you. They’ll be annoying. And when they are no longer with you, your world is never the same.

    His Buddy
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    His folks were away for the day.

    He was allowed to use the old truck. His reward for good grades. He and his buddy were going fishing. Leave the truck at the campground and hike into the lake.

    Stars twinkled without a moon. Night noises surrounded them.

    Unable to walk, the leg pain reminded him of how stupid he had been trying to climb the wet rocks.

    It was going to be a long, cold night.

    They were found at morning light. The two of them asleep; the teenage boy with his dog across his chest keeping him warm.

    http://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/his-buddy

    • Charli Mills

      Your summary is so true and what perfect words to pair with a photograph of a beloved canine companion! Today I interviewed the owner of Laughing Dog and he started the brewery when his lab was 3. The dog is now 13. He joked that in dog years his place was 70! But it was a reflective moment to ponder how his dream came to fruition within the lifespan of the dog that loaned his canine mug to the logo. Terrific flash! That’s the kind of loyalty our dogs give us.

    • A. E. Robson

      I think a dog assistant fits the bill. Great read.

    • Charli Mills

      Lots of flashing about, Anne! I look forward to read more about that perspective.

    • Charli Mills

      They do bring us joy. Almost feel as if those who are cruel could benefit from knowing that joy instead of destroying it.

  16. Norah

    Hi Charli, Here’s a link to my attempt. This was particularly difficult for me, lacking experience. http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-EA

    • Charli Mills

      One day, I hope you get a good doggie encounter! 🙂

  17. lucciagray

    Terrible events in your prompt today, Charli. Similar events also happen to cats, and other animals everywhere in the world. So sad. I can imagine how you must have felt. I’m glad it was a fase alarm in Grenny’s case, but unfortunately it could have been much worse. I’ve also heard that terrorists nowadays are trained to kill by first killing dogs.
    Thanks for the prompt. It’s taken me to Victorian England, who’s surprised?
    I’ve recreated a beggar boy and his dog who share their food, sadly not the boy’s, but the dog’s. It’s inspired by a similar event which occurs in Oliver Twist.
    ****
    Oliver and Trip.

    An Undertaker’s Cellar. London, 1837.

    The undertaker’s wife pushed me down the stairs into the coal-cellar, where I almost tripped over a shaggy dog.

    ‘Oliver, you can ‘ave what Trip’s left on his plate. Probably found himself a big fat rat last night, so ‘e ain’t hungry this morning.’

    She kicked the animal viciously. ‘Don’t be greedy and let the little beggar eat some o’ them bits o’ meat!’

    Trip backed away and growled, but I was so hungry I decided to risk it and put my fingers on his food.

    ‘We’ll get out of here together,’ I whispered as he licked my hand.

    ****
    http://lucciagray.com/2016/01/25/carrot-ranch-flashfiction-oliver-and-trip-a-tribute-to-charles-dickens/

    • Charli Mills

      Sad that cats are mistreated, too. Overall, it’s a disregard for life. Chilling that terrorists train by killing dogs. With all that in mind it seems appropriate that you’ve given a nod to Dickens as this does seem something out of a crueler past. You write this era so well!

      • lucciagray

        Thank you, Charlie. I’m actually a very contemporary person! I wouldn’t want to live in any other era, but the Victorians seem to have captured my literary mind????

      • Charli Mills

        I fully understand that! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Ula! I’m glad you were inspired, especially given how special dogs are to you!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Christina!

  18. plaguedparents

    Great prompt, a worthy cause… the callousness of our kind saddens me at times. Perhaps from tragic circumstances, those of us who feel are called to demand that others feel as well through our talent for words…

    Here’s my personal dog story:
    http://www.theplaguedparent.com/the-stuff-of-legend/

    • Charli Mills

      Literature is capable of taking others into different perspectives and can be a powerful tool for change. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Deborah! I got this in the compilation!

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