Actually, my very first experience with a dog
wasn't that wonderful.  When I was born, my
mother and I lived with my grandparents.  They
had an old Chow named Jackie.  Jackie was not
used to "little people" having lived all his life
with my grandparents.  Poor Jackie had to put up
with a lot of tail-pulling and ear-jerking from an
active toddler (me).  They say that 2-year-olds
don't really remember anything, but somehow I
can remember certain incidents involving
Jackie.  I can still see the red coloring and most
of all, that big blue tongue.  I remember pulling
Jackie's big furry tail and being reprimanded
by my Mom.  "Leave Jackie alone" she would
always tell me.  Then one day when I was just
under 2 years old, I toddled right over the top
of a sleeping Jackie and fell down on him.  It
startled him so much that he nipped me.  It
wasn't really a bite--just a nip that didn't even
break the skin.  After that incident, Mom and my
grandparents found a new home without kids for
Jackie.  To this day, I can still remember crying
for my big red Jackie.  This was also when Mom
bought me a little red stuffed dog hoping to
console me in some manner.  The stuffed toy was
named Wilbur.  Today, over 50 years later, I
still have Wilbur sitting on my dresser.
These are pictures of my mother
and Jackie taken long before I
was born.  
This is me at 6 months of age.  
Jackie is in the background.  
Unfortunately, I don't recall the
This is Wilbur, my 50+-year-old
stuffed dog mentioned to the
left.  Wilbur was just never able
to replace Jackie, but over the
years he became a very
important memory of my