Almost all the exotic pets of my childhood in Africa were rescues, caught out of the bags of hunters and the clutches of small children who just wanted a more interesting dinner than maize porridge. I was the only one who mourned them. And, in the case of Ash, though all my family loved him, I am the one who still can’t look at his grave in our back garden. And I am not alone. Join any peculiar dog breed group on Facebook and you will find countless prayer requests—long shot, hopeless pleas for God, to whom the poster has probably never prayed before, to spare a dog. Members of these groups pray, to whomever they imagine, because they understand the peculiar agony of the loss of a helpless and innocent creature who they were sure couldn’t die—and yet did.
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