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(Trigger warning for mentions of sexual assault, abuse, trauma)I meet Mama dog during my very first contract up North. She is black with a white underside, and sweet chocolate-brown eyes. She gets a bit too excited when offered food or affection, not quite sure how to take all of it at once, often tangling up her legs in the yellow rope that ties her to the side of her house.Mama lives outside, even on the coldest of winter days, with a large wooden doghouse as her shelter. It sounds cruel to us from down South, where we spoil our dogs and protect them like babies. But it’s the reality of the North, where homes are small and crowded and sometimes moldy, and some families don’t even have enough to feed their children at times. There is no vet, no spaying, no neutering, so the dogs continue to breed, and the ones who remain are the ones who survive. Skinny little Mama dog has a litter of five when I first meet her, clinging to her to suck out whatever milk they can get, and jumping to f…

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