By Paul Coccia (Toronto, ON)

My Formative Canine Years:

Mark stated it with the certainty that only a seven-year-old older brother has, I have blonde hair and blue eyes.  Mommy has blonde hair and blue eyes.  Daddy has black hair and green eyes.  You have brown eyes.

So far I couldn't argue the facts. 

The dogs are the only ones with brown eyes in the whole house and where did we get them? Mark paused for dramatic effect.  A dog farm.  Since you have brown eyes, we must have got you from there too.  You're a dog.

There it was, matter of fact, staring me in the face.  I knew I never belonged!  I gave a slow nod.

And you know what dogs eat? Mark asked.  He walked to the cupboard and pulled out a fistful of chewy Kibbles 'N Bits.

For the next few weeks, he made me eat handfuls of dog food snuck from that cupboard, fetch balls, and climb into the doghouse with our retrievers until my mother noticed the nearly empty bag of Kibble and forced what was happening out of us.

She sighed and pushed a piece of stray blonde hair away from her face.  Mark, I can't be running to the pet store all the time to feed your brother.  I have a lot of other things to do.  You're going to have to find a new way to play with him.

Mark turned to me.  I lied about you being a dog.  You're actually adopted.

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