A scuffle broke out at her feet. “Stop it!” yelled Lydia, chasing her dogs from the kitchen.

Harlow, the victor, chomped loudly with a hint of gagging.

“Drop it!”

Harlow continued the grotesque sound as Hunter watched longingly.

“You don’t like it. Drop it!” Lydia reached for the dog, but Harlow ran.

Hunter laid and whimpered. “It wasn’t a prize,” she scratched behind his ears, “it was a pickle, and she doesn’t even like it.”

Later, on the stairs, Lydia felt a squish beneath one foot before she tumbled to the landing, remnants of a discarded pickle between her toes.