Stephen Crane, who wrote this story, is one of my favorite authors. He wrote another story called "The Open Boat" that I absolutely love, but I had never read this one before. Like all of his stories, it is realistic, and while they usually have some hope, something usually happens in them (generally near the end) that is unexpected, but still possible and true...If you read this story, you will know exactly what I mean. It is about a child who takes in a stray dog and who also has an abusive family...You believe the child and dog will grow up together, because the family allows the child to keep the dog, and then that something that I told you about happens. The story also tells us a lot about companionship in itself, between humans and dogs or humans to humans. Miscommunication leads often to suffering, but if the friend is true and loyal, the relationship will generally stay strong. Now, I am not saying that if you're in an abusive relationship stay in it; what I'm saying is try everything in your power to help it to work...work together to make the relationship loving and mutually beneficial. Anyway, I would suggest this to anyone who likes Stephen Crane. For anyone who doesn't know too much about him or hasn't read his work yet, try "The Open Boat" first to get an idea of how he works. It is also a really good story.