I am sitting across from a woman. She is propped up toward the edge of the couch, slightly hunched, leaning forward, seemingly defeated. She is looking down into her lap where her hands are resting, still, except for her thumbs and forefingers. They are locked into a nervous little rhythm. I am there with her. I shift slightly in my seat as I try to find a place to join her, to meet her where she is.

When I arrived at the house she came out to greet me without her dog. I do this occasionally so I can have a moment with the human half of the equation. People often surprise me and never turn out to be exactly what I thin slice from an email. She was no exception. We talked for a few moments while the dog was inside. Things were quiet. I noted an absence of barking. What was also notable in that moment was she, like everyone, was focused on all of the biting. Not surprising. We did do a “head count” and arrived at the number 10. He had bitten 10 people, including everyone that lives with him. (Note: For those in the know, these were Level 2 on the Dunbar Scale.) That was weighing on her and, though I did ask, I already knew why.

Out the door and down the steps, sniffing the ground, he walks nonchalantly across his yard. He lifts his head and I watch. I am in full view and moving slightly as I do not want to be perfectly still, be something he has to figure out. He lowers his head and the strip of fur running from his shoulders to his tail, that litmus test for physiological change, shot up