Okay… so, I know I’m supposed to have a letter from each of my POV characters. Trust me, we tried very hard to get Cider to write a letter but (what can I say?) the majority of dogs have no talent for penmanship.
Here’s what I’m doing instead: I’m spreading out a bunch of different toys in a room, and putting Cider in it. He’ll pick up whichever toys he feels best describe the book. My trusty alter-ego Hannah has kindly agreed to moderate the activity.
Cider bounds into the room, and sees the girl who is not part of his normal home, but he loves her anyway. He also sees toys. Lots of toys! So many—
But wait! The girl is kneeling down to dog-level and opening her arms like she wants cuddles. Cuddles are way more exciting than toys, so Cider runs over and gives her kisses while they have a nice snuggle.
“Hey there, boy,” she coos at him. “What d’you think, hm? Wanna help us out?”
Cider gives her more kisses.
Then the girl puts on her ‘we’re playing a game’ voice, so Cider listens very carefully. “Okay, Cider,” she says. “What’s the book about? Hm? Go get a toy and show me.”
Cider does not think he knows this game, which is odd, because Cider knows a great many games, and he is very good at them. Since he is confused, he tries to play the game ‘Sit.’ Sometimes when people don’t make sense, they actually are trying to play ‘Sit.’ Cider sits like a good dog, but the girl does not give him treats.
She is happy, though. She laughs. That’s good. “Oh, you’re so cute,” she says, and then points to the toys. “Over there, sweetie.”
Cider does not know this game either.
“Over there. Get a toy. Bring it here.”
‘Bring it here’! Oh, yes, Cider knows that game! He scrambles to his feet, runs to the pile of toys and grabs the first one he sees. He brings it back to the girl who will now give him treats or cuddles or both. See how well he plays this game? Perhaps the next game will be ‘fetch’!
“Okay, good boy!” the girl says and rewards him with cuddles. “So, you brought back the heart. Is the book about love?”
She is quiet. Has she started a new game? Cider is not sure, so he plays ‘Bring it here’ again. This time he brings a hard, rubber toy. A great toy for chewing.
“G’boy,” she says, ruffling his ears. “So, the book is about love and a big rubber chain,” she says. She holds the toys up like she wants to play ‘fetch’ but she doesn’t throw them. “Do people want to love each other, but they feel trapped?”
Cider plays ‘Bring it here’ again.
“And a chicken,” the girl says. “Are people scared in the book? Do they—?”
Cider plays the game over and over, and the girl likes it because soon she is laughing. She is happy and Cider likes that. Soon she is so happy that she gives him extra-wonderful cuddles, the roll-on-the-floor cuddles. Cider loves these!
“Okay, okay, I get it,” she says and gives Cider a nice belly-rub. “The book is about everything.”