(This column was first published in the August 30, 1999 Buffalo News)

    Sometime between 100,000 and 10,000 years ago an early human tossed an already well gnawed bone to one of the less vicious wolves that howled around camp every night. That wolf's progeny have been repaying the favor ever since.

    The wolf's ancestors, domestic dogs, have radiated into scores of American Kennel Club recognized breeds as well as an array of unrecognizable mutts of bewildering variety. Some are bigger than their lupine relatives; many are smaller, but they all differ from wolves in one way -- their teeth aren't nearly as large.

    From Affenpinschers to Yorkshire Terriers and with such oddly named specimens as American Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Komondors and Chinese Shai-Peis thrown in for good measure, dogs have become an integral part of our day to day experience. They have, for example, become a part of our language. We speak of dog days and complain about being treated like a dog.

    And everybody talks about them:

    Please read this column to your watchdog. And, as you do so, try to convince him to see me as a friend not worth biting.-- Gerry Rising