It’s shredded in places, but still a rug, mostly. My love wanted to buy me a new oriental rug. Only, this is where Digby, my rescued sheepdog, used to nap. Digby passed on a year ago, leaving me to the care of humans. Sometimes I crush a worn edge of the rug to my nose so Digby will waken and stiff-legged walk over to me even though he’s gone. He used to help me bake the Cheesy Broccoli Casserole at Thanksgiving. He’d catch the broccoli florets in mid-air. “And you want to take that away from me like it’s so many dusty newspapers?” My lover looks sad for me, making me sad and frightened to hear myself. For the first time, he picks up an edge of the rug and covers his nose with it, inhaling. He replaces the rug gently where Digby liked it and says, “Digby can stay as long as he’ll save some broccoli for us at Thanksgiving.” And for the first time, Aiden, my lover, is a member of my pack, and I’m no longer afraid to hear myself.