I think I got bit by a large dog when I was little. The dog was probably normal sized but I was little. We grew up with a service dog for my sister named Pook, who became a pet because it turned out the things my sister needed weren’t very readily provided by a service animal. I adore dogs and always have, but I also know that for most of my life I had some real reservations anytime I was around a dog any larger than a lab and I think I have some really fleeting memories of being at a camp up north and being nipped by a dog and responding poorly.
Our early memories are weird. They are unreliable, often times flashes of images or experience, but powerful all the same. I sometimes wonder the extent to which this is the case for my early memories because there wasn’t much else to store in my brain at the time, or because they’re old. What if as I get older my brain is going to take all the important memories I have and shove them into this weird reptilian part of my brain where they are distilled into intense emotion and some flashes of brief pictures or images? That would be weird.
I can say that my happiest memory is like this. I have three or four brief images tied to a day that I am unsure whether it happened or not. I don’t know how old I was. I think it was on Lake Michigan.
I am pretty sure we were visiting some friends of my parents at their cabin for a retirement or end of the year party. I remember that we were there on a summer night. I know for certain that there was a trampoline that was square and installed into the ground in a weird way, because I was able to go from playing on the trampoline, then wander down what seemed like a mountain of wooden steps to the beach, where the wind was stirring up huge waves. Well, waves large enough that I could jump over them and sometimes get caught up in the water and washed backwards. The sun seemed like it took forever to set. I remember just playing in the waves, eating cookout food, and jumping on the trampoline.
I don’t want to know more about the details of that day in case it loses its magic. I don’t remember why it was the best day of my life. I just know that I wasn’t anxious the whole night and it was wonderful, but it is a little slice of heaven that is always accessible for recall.
Oh, and the reason I wrote about this story under George is that I know my fear of large dogs was completely gone when my brother’s girlfriend got her big ole Bernese Mountain Dog, George.