I love animals. I constantly give into my dog’s wishes for constant attention (one of the major reasons why I procrastinate everything to do with any kind of work), I accidentally fall into watching videos about animals, and I volunteer at a couple different rescues and shelters. Some of my favorite animal videos to watch are the ones about dogs or cats getting picked up off the street and having an amazing transformation into adorable house-worthy pets.
Before the rifting, we learn that people in the Stillness also had pets, and most likely loved their pets as we do. One of the pets that the people of the Stillness kept was a Kirkhusa – ”long-bodied, furry creatures midlatters keep as pets instead of dogs…” (185). They are described as cuter than puppies when they little and are more land-like otters than dogs. The kirkhusa that Essun runs into was clearly kept as a beloved pet and is described as a “big, a good hundred pounds of healthy, sleek-furred flesh…[with] a fine leather collar still round its neck” (185). As with many of the flora and fauna of the Stillness, when the land is good and it’s not a Season, most things are harmless.
But, as we know, everything changes in a season. It’s like watching one of those transformation videos in reverse when a season occurs. The kirkhusa becomes mean and bloodthirsty when it gets enough ash in its system. The boilbugs become what their name implies. The leaves on the trees invert themselves to stop collecting ash while still attempting to absorb sunlight. Like the animals in the transformation videos, while they are on the streets, the flora and fauna of the Stillness are just trying to survive the season.