I am the monster who hurt the dog. I did it out of love. Flicked the ball time after time and she ran in the dust and the stones. Her soft coat flowed back – black and white waves – and when she ran back her breath was short and tight and her eyes glowed. When I saw she was tiring I took the ball off her and she looked sad and hurt and she lay down on the shingled road and set her jaw in the dust. It was only later – distracted – I noticed her limp, saw that a foot was bleeding. I did that. I hurt her and I fell to her side and tried to hug her and she pulled away because dogs don’t understand hugs. So I lay beside her and she understood that, and I stroked her sore leg and cursed the pain of the joy.