I remember the excitement among my eight cousins and me as we all reached out to stroke the new puppy that peaked out from the box. I was four years old. At the time, I was unaware that this tiny black puppy-my dog, Sparky-would transform into a humungous German shepherd. Almost immediately after we got him, Sparky grew larger than me! He suddenly became so frightening. Every time I was with him he would chase me around the yard and jump on me, like a kid who still has not realized their parents can no longer carry them. When strangers passed by, my dog would go into a frenzy, delivering his deep, wild barks and gritting his sharp set of canines.
It took me years to get over my fear of Sparky. I think I was ten years old when I realized that I was finally as big as my dog. I could then withstand his excited leaps, and I found the greatest comfort in his thunderous bark, which told me that nothing outside could ever harm me. Because I could now fearlessly be near my dog, I