Aki is a lover, not a fighter; otherwise, I would be pulling porcupine quills from her muzzle. She found the porcupine, a silverback, after we passed through an old growth forest with burl-deformed spruce trees. One was swollen by a burl the size of a small boulder near its base as if a women in her 40th week. Dozens of burls colonized another spruce before it died. Now it stands in a forest opening like a PSA billboard for safe sex. I don’t know why so many burls deform these trees or even what causes them to form. I can guess why Aki charged down the trail, broke into the woods, and sniffed the noise of the porcupine while she wagged her tail. She sees every creature as a future playmate. I am just thankful that she sniffs, not bites at the porcupine. Its cousins live all around us.