A teacher friend told me a story from her new classroom. She likes to read to the kids after lunch, a soothing practice, and started by holding up the book she had intended to start with. The cover showed a dog and a boy. Now: by this time, she has some impressions of which kids are going to take which roles in the classroom society. The kid who had looked as though he would be the sullen tough guy puts his head down on his desk and starts to cry. “What is it?” she asked him. “It has a dog in it,” he sobbed, “and the dog always dies.” She bethought the many children’s books with dogs in them—and the adult books too—and she put down the book and told him, “I think we’ll read something else.” Budding lit student, he’s right. The dog always dies. Someone, find another plot device and let the dog live!