Last spring we got a dog—another dog, making it three to three in the house, dogs to people. The new guy is a 10-year-old, pre-owned model, as they say in the car business, a Labrador retriever previously called Spike but whose name is now Stanley. The name change isn’t much of an adjustment for the dog because for the seven years previous nobody talked to him anyway.
The shelter is just off the freeway in a section of Los Angeles that you wouldn’t like even if you liked Los Angeles. It is dark in back where the cages are, the air is damp and fetid. Animals howl, day and night. I used to work in a place like this, a nicer place than this actually, and it still shows up once in a while in bad dreams. I have more of those than I used to.
But leave it at this: I am pretty sure the animals know why they are here, that this is the last stop.