(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The story opens with dog stories that are being told at a wedding celebration by guests and the bride, because the bride has a bandaged leg and a slight limp from a dog bite. The dog stories relieve some of the tension in the air—caused partially by the bride, Christine’s, pregnancy—but they also remind Christine and the groom, John, of another dog story about their old collie, Alexander. They’ve both sworn off retelling this story, and Christine thinks that this refusal to mention the story to the guests connects her with John more strongly than the ceremony about to take place. This is no ordinary wedding.

Christine and John’s wedding takes place outside, on an unseasonably hot July day; Christine wishes they had gotten married in June, but then she remembers that they had not decided to get married until May. They have been living together for about five years, but the pregnancy seems to have driven them to marriage. The ceremony itself is barely seen in the story, and Christine is glad that it all goes by quickly, in a kind of fog.

Stevie, Christine’s son from a previous marriage, was abandoned by his father when it was clear that Stevie had a learning disability. John, on the other hand, is very solicitous of Stevie, and it is his sweetness and patience that seem to bind Christine to her new husband. The story shifts directions during the reception: While John helps Stevie fill his plate, Christine notices the carpenter, Robert, walking to the studio John is having...

(The entire section is 615 words.)