In this collection of stories, animals guide and inspire humans struggling to balance their obligations to tradition with their desires for freedom. To protect her community from oppressive conquerors, a young mother risks everything. Unexpected love arrives for a shy girl trapped in a bleak life. A woman flees from a terrifying duty. Questions of faith send a rootless orphan on a new path. The fates of a father and daughter depend upon a dangerous secret. A bullied boy runs from a life filled with humiliation and pain. The Painted Dog and Other Stories transports the reader into two richly detailed fantasy worlds where cultures clash as lives are transformed.