A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra:
Feral and matted, whittled by deprivation, the dogs loped toward the back steps. They had belonged to the neighbors his son had disappeared, and even in this state he knew them by name. They trotted through the hole he’d clipped in the fence and gathered before him in a tight semicircle, jostling and snapping at the thin slivers of apple falling from the kinzhal blade. He held out his hands and they licked the juice from his fingers. Like them, he was unwelcome at the homes of his neighbors and avoided on the street. Like them, he was a pariah. He nuzzled the snout of a brown mutt, reaching from the dog’s muzzle to her ears, and before he knew what was happening, he was holding her as he hadn’t held a human in years. The mutt—which had been a husband’s tenth-anniversary gift to his wife, who had been expecting something smaller, inanimate, and in a box—licked the grease from his hair.
“You think I’m wonderful, don’t you? You think I’m the kindest, bravest, most generous man ever given a pair of feet to step into the world,” he said, and the dog kept licking his hair in reply. “That’s because you’re a stupid dog.”