Study Guide

There Is No Dog Friendship

By Meg Rosoff


He hadn't known it was possible to experience so many intense feelings at once—misery, love, hunger, suspicion, excitement and of course the ever-present terror of mortality. The enormity of it made him quiver like a leaf. (27.6)

That's a lot of feelings for a tiny little Eck. But this is also the only relationship between a mortal (Eck) and immortal (Estelle) that seems to work—so maybe Bob should try just being friends with Lucy.

"Now I'm back," she said. "And do you know why?" Eck examined the question from every angle. It seemed a bit risky to guess. Estelle looked at him, her expression steady. "It's because I like you. And also because I'm extremely unhappy about my father's bet." (27.19)

That is how you know you have a real friend. They will go across galaxies looking at all the cool things in the known universe, but they will come back because they like you.

"I . . ." She paused to select precisely the right words. "I am doing what I can to influence him. But in the meantime, I should like us to be friends." (27.21)

Why do you think that Estelle wants to be friends with Eck? What can the Eck possibly offer a radical chick like Estelle? Here's an idea: companionship. Estelle seems just as lonely as anyone else. Sure, she's got her dad—but, come on. In God-mode, dad turns into an angry black hole. Not really someone you can cuddle up to.

He supposed that in the absence of a future, a friend might be nice. (27.22)

If you can't be immortal, you might as well be a friend. Someone slap that on a bumper sticker already.

"Eck," he mumbled, and she saw big mingled tears of joy and sadness well up in his eyes. Long watery trails ran down to his face. (27.34)

Man, Eck sure gets a lot of the emotional scenes for a tiny animal that's supposed to be insignificant. Hm. Maybe he's more important than we think.

Bob would be home any minute. He would never allow Eck to have a friend. (27.39)

If there's one thing we know about God, it's that he's jealous. But this is really sad for Eck: not only is he mortal, he doesn't have a friend to be bummed out it with. We're really glad Estelle rescued him.

A friend, thought Eck. Of course she probably wanted something from him, but he didn't mind. He couldn't afford to be selective about friends, having had no other offers, and none likely in the foreseeable future. After which he would be dead. (27.41)

This is your classic case of abuse: Eck has been so burned by his relationship with Bob that he just can't imagine anyone would want to be friends with him just for his own, funny-looking self.

She murmurs sweet words to him and he wriggles a little, snuggling closer; the sound he makes isn't one Mr. B has ever heard before—a sigh of such perfect complexity that it rewrites everything he has imagined Bob's pet capable of feeling. (34.36)

Everyone assumes the Eck isn't capable of love or friendship, but we get the feeling that no one has ever bothered to find out. Turns out, Eck might be more capable of friendship than anyone else in the book.

"You don't care about me at all. No one cares about me except Lucy. Not even my own mother. Not even you." Lucy doesn't care about you, Mr. B thinks. Not the real you, at any rate. She has no idea who—or what—you are. But I do. (39.31)

This almost makes it sound like Bob and Mr. B are friends. Well, maybe not friends—maybe just heterosexual life partners. They're something, at any rate.

In the meantime, his feelings for her have knitted them together like two parts of the same bone. (43.4)

We'd just like to point out that this simple sentence about Estelle and Eck being friends is more intense than any description of the feelings between Bob and Lucy throughout the whole novel. This, Shmoopers, is true love.