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The family got Shadow from the SPCA. She seemed like a fine dog for a young and growing family, barking at squirrels, night noises, and investigating scurrying sounds in the woods. Accompanying the children as they played in the forest proved to be her favorite job as family dog.

Little did any of the family members know their shelter dog’s first owner had been a poacher of the worst kind. The kind who hunted mythical beasts by using his dog to sniff them out in their houses. Once caught, he sold the poor creatures to the highest bidder. His career ended when he tried catch a fairy-goblin hybrid (also known as a fairlyn) and she used her hybrid magic to turn him into a mosquito. Rumor has it he was swatted years ago.

The fairlyn considered Shadow to be innocent of any crimes, and dropped her off at the SPCA for safekeeping. Just the same, Shadow’s early training stayed with her all her life.

The children regaled their parents with tales of the goblin feasts and weddings they crashed thanks to Shadow, the fairies she rooted out to show them, and the boggarts that rode clinging to her collar as she charged through the woods. Their parents gave indulgent smiles at their children’s imaginative tales and wondered if they weren’t spending too much time in the woods.

It is a testament to their own lack of imagination that it never once occurred to them the stories might be true.

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