For years and years we couldn’t have a dog. But then, when we moved further north, into a house, we could. Years and years before that, the pets were all lizards and goldfish. Step Dad, you see, he’s allergic to cats.

Only, Step Dad ultimately left a sour taste in my mouth for the furrier of pets. The first dog we ever got — a white, gold-spotted cocker spaniel Mom named “Kurbbie” — Step Dad elevated him to royalty. That dog could do no wrong; that dog, only the best for him.
In turn, Step Dad reduced his estimation of Mom and me — but more so me — to rank with the common toilet-licker — a rank less than peasantry.

My schedule was worked around that dog’s schedule. My curfew: 10:30 — most every night. Because coming home later meant waking that dog, meant waking Step Dad, meant the dog had to be taken out, and only Step Dad, apparently, could do that; could, with appropriate pomp and circumstance, lead that dog outside, to piss the tree.

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