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Yeah, we know he's a dog and not a person, but even though he never says a word, this pooch is a character, and we are not just talking about his fashion-forward neck bandana. Loyd's story of offering a home for Jack's coyote mom and then keeping Jack relates to some of the novel's central themes: absent mothers, luck, violence, and the need to build a family out of whoever is willing to stick with you.
Then, of course, there's the fact that the very "animal dreams" of this book's title are Jack's dreams. It's his whimpering and kicking while he's asleep that prompts Codi and Loyd to start discussing what it means to create an identity. Codi's love for Jack the dog is way less complicated than her love for Loyd, but it's also kind of a gateway drug. It's Jack who acts as go-between when Loyd and Codi are first reintroduced.
Remember how Carlo is all like, Codi, come live with me somewhere random like Colorado, and Codi is like, Maybe, but only if you get a dog? That's Codi starting to come around to the fact that she actually does want to be responsible for another creature. It's not that long a road from Jack to Loyd, and from there to all of Grace, Arizona.