We moved into our house in Oceanside, N.Y., at the end of August 1979. We lived near a wonderful park with several pools and ball fields, and the grammar school the kids would go to was not too far away.

It was spring, probably the beginning of May, when Robert's sister Cheryl saw a sign on the front lawn of a house near the school: FREE PUPPIES. I don’t know what went through her mind, but she decided that Robert’s birthday was coming, and she wanted to get him a puppy. I don’t recall all the details of how this puppy got into our house, but I have to believe that she discussed it with me before bringing it home. He was completely black with a white spot above his eyes, and Robert named him Oreo

Years later, when Robert was in college in Virginia, Oreo developed a very bad skin disease. As Robert was getting ready to go back to school for his second year, he realized that Oreo was suffering and not happy with his life. Robert made the difficult decision to put him to sleep. What made this even sadder was the fact that the vet was too busy; Robert had to take Oreo home and go back later.

While he was home waiting, Robert dug a grave in the dog run and built a casket. He buried Oreo at our house that day.