. . . ?? Dog!

by Tina Blue
July 19. 2002

          As my son's first birthday approached back in 1980, I took him to Colorado Springs to visit his paternal grandmother.  As a special treat, on the birthday itself, we took him the Cheyenne Zoo.

          Michael had always been fascinated by animals, and could bark, quack, squeak, moo, meow, hiss, honk, and oink with the best.  I knew he was going to enjoy this, his first visit to a zoo.

          And he most certainly did.  Each time we approached another animal's enclosure, the little guy would offer up his best imitation of the sound that animal would make.  Sitting in his stroller, communicating with the animals, Michael seemed to forget that his adoring mother and grandmother were even there.

          But then we got to the giraffes' pen.  One giraffe stood right next to the chain-link fence.  As we drew near, the giraffe bent its head down to examine Michael, so that its eyes were at the level of Michael's face--and not more than two or three feet away.  It was a very close encounter.

          Michael pulled himself back as hard as he could into his stroller and allowed his eyes to trace the extraordinary size of the animal before him.  After a moment when he must have been holding his breath, he sighed deeply and, in hushed, awed tones, breathed one word:  Dog!

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