• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 11
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Best in Show

It had been fun when she was younger. Margaret had enjoyed helping her family train show dogs instead of looking for a summer job during high school. Their dogs had a reputation, and the money she could earn from prizes beat whatever she would be making as a cashier or camp counselor. Even her friends who snagged the coveted lifeguard positions had been envious.

“So you hang out with dogs all day and you get paid for it? Sounds like a dream!”

And sure, there were benefits besides the money. Margaret enjoyed the feeling of eyes on her as she guided the dog in front of the judges. Perfect posture. Head held high. She felt her own body straightening under the judges’ hands as they checked the dog. She swelled with pride when her dog, Lacey, was named Best in Show.

None of her success mattered when her brother Pete decided to rejoin the family business. Now, Pete would hold the leash and have final say on the dog’s appearance. She hated how he spent hours fluffing out Lacey’s paws, making her body look like it rested on bowls. Pete was flashier and more charismatic. Each night at family dinner, he spoke endlessly of changes that they should make in their strategy, even suggesting they change Lacey’s name to something “more memorable.” He said they should hire some employees, branch out into different breeds, and their parents nodded like their heads might fall off, because finally their son was involved. This business, the family business, had always been for him.

She should have quit. She should have tried to find another job — but no! Why should she have to change her entire life because Pete decided this mattered to him after all those years away?


Best in Show

When Lacey died, Margaret knew she should have felt broken, but she didn’t. Truth is, Lacey —now Sparkles— had stopped recognizing her as master years earlier. Margaret still attended every show, but now it was Pete who preened in front of the judges.