A/N: So, so sorry for the long break between posts. But, as all of you (I'm sure) have experienced, when one is busy, one is busy. I have considerably less time on my hands than I would like. Here it is, though, and I hope this makes up for my absence.

When I was- oh, I don't know- about a kindergarten age, I was given a doll for my birthday. Now, as countless ripped-out plastic hair can prove, this was not a rare occasion. I was a girl of many dolls, before I moved on to the stuffed animal stage, but I cared for them all as any poor little girl would have her only toy. But this doll was different. Blonde hair and blue eyes, just like me! She was even wearing my favorite color. This was my soul mate, I thought, no less. So I, in turn, promptly named her "Olive", somewhat after myself of course, and declared that she was a reincarnation of yours truly. I carried this doll around for quite some time; may have even brought her to school with me. She was, although countless others could have gotten in the way of it, certainly my favorite baby doll.

About four or five years ago, my family took a trip to a shelter in Louisville to pick out two new puppies, one for me, one for my sister. After looking for some time, I decided upon the Labrador retriever mix cowering in the corner of his cage, which was a bit under his mad barking brother's. They had been calling him Bongo, but I was determined to choose another title for him, later falling inescapably on Boniface, Bo for short, after a character in a book my mother had read to me, The Thief Lord. Upon taking the dogs home in our car, the first thing Bo decided to do was bite my hand with his tiny, needle-like puppy teeth, demonstrating, not for the last time, that his scared, "cute puppy" act was mostly an impression to attract those who came to the shelter. But he was my dog, and we had to keep him, whatever he did in the future (and he only got worse.)

Bo became extremely sensitive, scared, and sick. Unbeknownst to us, he had developed (before he came to the shelter) worms, and much more, the whole bit. Before we knew about it and could treat it, Scipio (Gianna's dog, another character in the same book) had caught Parvovirus from him. Scipio died in the hospital, but Bo survived everything he had. While Bo was and is obviously a very physically strong dog to withstand such hardship, to this day he is terrified of every little thing, and often behaves awkwardly around guests. If someone (aside from my immediate family) approaches him, he cowers away and doesn't allow them to pet or groom him. In a frightened state he has often tried to bite people, especially the veterinarians, succeeding a few times.

But Bo is, underneath his "scary" appearance, very affectionate and very easy to handle to those who know how. Quite often he plays Mummy to my stuffed animals: he picks them up in his mouth and carries them to his bed, or licks them as a female dog would her litter, as if he does it to make up for his lost mothering as a puppy. Like a human child, or like me, you could say, he picks favorites a bit and recognizes each toy to be what they are. The one he carries around and "nurtures" the most is a small stuffed black dog that looks amazingly like himself. In fact, I had named the toy after him, when I took him home and saw the toy in my room. This toy is more often than not in Bo's mouth or else with him in his bed, but we can count on him never to hurt it. Bo treats this toy much like I treated Olive when I was little; as a smaller version of himself that he must keep as his own because they look so similar. Though it's not as if Bo and I are actually related, or even the same species, I feel the connection between Olive and Little Bo as I do the connection between myself and the real Bo.