Title: Stray Magic
Author: Diana Peterfreund
In: Under My Hat (Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy, Witches
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
5th sentence, 74th page: If you wanted.
Mary Louise aka Malou works at a no-kill animal shelter. Her friend, Jeremy, works at the county shelter, which typically euthanizes pets within three days of their arrival. Occasionally Jeremy will send animals he thinks are good candidates for adoption to Malou when they have room in the shelter for them. He tells her he’s sending over a beautiful Golden Retriever, but when the dog arrives, all Malou sees is a ragged, injured, and ancient-looking dog that is nothing like her friend described. From certain angles though, she can see bits of the Golden Retriever the dog is supposed to be. Then the dog begins to communicate with Malou psychically. The dog, whose name is Goneril, says she lost her master somewhere on the highway, and must find him quickly. He is a witch who has been keeping her alive using magic, and if he doesn’t renew her spells within three days, she will die. Convinced that her owner has abandoned the dog, Malou sets out to find another witch who can help Goneril before her time is up.
I have pages on Facebook that are dedicated to the lost and unwanted puppies of the world. There are videos upon videos of rescue sites that help to rehome them, and I constantly wonder how these poor creatures feel when their owners have so thoughtlessly abandoned them (which often happens). I have my own two fur babies, and the idea of giving them up makes me weep – they are family! So, it was kind of fun reading a story about this exact event – what happens when a loving dog is abandoned.
Although Goneril’s unwavering faith in her magical master brings me to the point of tears within the first few pages. (He did, after all, abandon her on the side of the road to die). This story does have a beautiful happy ending, and honestly, it was the best way to start this collection of short stories. A stray with unwavering faith; a young, blossoming witch; and an incredibly sweet happy ending. This is definitely a feel good story that I will read again and again. Especially when all of those social media pages start to get me down.
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