CHAPTER ONE: A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY
People used to accuse me of hiding behind my dogs. There was probably some truth in that. When I'm standing next to a harlequin or white Great Dane -- they're pretty impressive animals -- people don't notice me so much.
The first dog I remember was my grandparents' farm dog, a mutt named Curly, whom I met when I was around three years old. I would hang out with him, and even at that young age I realized I was more comfortable with Curly than with the adults. Then when I was about four or five, my family adopted Hercules, another little mutt. I felt more comfortable around him, too, because by the...