In part 4 of The Circle of Hanh, Bruce Weigl begins by recalling when he was five years old and his friend Walter got a dog, making him want a dog as well. His mother did not want to allow this, saying that their three-room apartment was too small. However, one day, his father brought home a cardboard box containing a grinning, rat-tailed terrier he had been given by an old man who could no longer handle the trouble of caring for a dog. This was Spike, a tremendously energetic creature who would rush through the rooms of the small house so fast that his small wiry body was no more than a blur.
Spike never hurt the author, but he did begin to behave strangely and aggressively towards his father. On one occasion, his father tried to enter the author's room and Spike stood between the two of them, snarling and yelping, attempting to leap up at his father's throat. The author's father went away and fetched a police officer, who captured Spike, dragged him behind the house, and shot him at close range with a pistol.
The author was distraught by this event and thought, "This is the end of things." He felt there could be no peace or light or laughter in his life again, and the hurt remains inside him even now.