Dawg Days

When I was two, there was only one word that I would use:  “Dawg.” (Translation for Yankees: Dog) Apparently, I used it not only to call attention to attractive canines, but also to indicate my excitement about anything remotely resembling a dog. According to family lore, I’d say “Dawg” to cats (maybe could have been a small dog), horses (resembling big, fast dogs), and motorcycles (could have been really fast dogs). My sister claims I called fence posts “dawg,” but she’s been known to exaggerate.


I had no need of a vocabulary with my sister around.

How did I communicate other things, you ask? I had an older sister. I didn’t need to communicate. She’d look at me, and then look at my mom and say, “Mom, Laura wants a cookie.” She was so successful at meeting my daily needs that the only other thing I needed to discuss with anyone was my excitement about dogs.

I think my parents were more concerned about my lack of any other vocabulary than they were about my constant dawg-ing. Before long, they expressed their concerns to a doctor—our hometown pediatrician. Being a practical-minded man, he suggested that they get me a dog.

black cocker spaniel

Lady, my first dog

Soon Lady, a black cocker spaniel,

entered our family’s life. Not long after, I started talking.

From that point on, there was always one or more (usually more) animals in the Wilkinson household. And, as a result of their presence, there was even more unconditional love, support, and laughter in the household. Of course, there was also dirt, pet hair on clothes, extra chores, stress, and vet bills, not to mention total heartbreak when one died, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013


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