I had an uneasy feeling watching Oprah the other day. The topic was incest and I felt kind of uncomfortable. The people on the panel seemed at ease, willing to confide the intimacies of their sexual abuse, the intricacies of their childhood humiliation, with admirable candor and, at times, a dash of humor. Try as she might, the big O couldn’t bring a tear to their eyes, although she cried enough for them all. Oprah’s questions seemed calculated to destroy the will of a KGB agent, to make him whimper and whine, but her stoic panel of victims admirably withstood the assault. But she brought a tear to my eye, I’ll tell you.

Memories of my own life came flooding back, memories painful and repressed. I’ve written to Op several times offering myself as a guest on her show, telling her how important my story would be to the world. I told her I could present a side of sexuality she might only have dreamt existed. She has yet to respond, so I guess she hasn’t gotten my letter. These things happen. I tried Ricky, Sally, Jerry, all of them, but I haven’t broken through.

Maybe none realize the importance of my story, but it’s a story that has to get out. Where would Kraft-Ebbing be if his stories never got out? He might still be making cheese. Or take Freud. Where would he be if Anna O. had a last name? After all, it was Freud who said it was okay to have sex. History tells us, of course, that Mrs. Freud had other ideas, but that was his problem. It’s my story that’s important here and I’m going to tell it, damn it.

My personal terror began the day my father brought Jessica home to live with us; she was to be my nanny and we hit it off instantly. We both had a joie de vivre, a certain je ne sais quoi about life that allowed us to kick up our heels and race barefoot through the meadows. We played catch (I threw, Jessica caught). I was faster on foot, but she was better in the water. It didn’t matter. We were a match.

I now realize Jessica being my guardian may have been viewed as an odd arrangement. After all, until then Jessica had only looked after the aged in the Kevorkian Home for Survivors, just down the road. She was skilled in fetching crutches, chewing to soften food, pushing wheelchairs, using the remote control. I guess it was her skill in diapering that landed her the job working for my parents, although by now, at the age of eight, I was past diapers. I wasn’t about to get past Jessica, though. This was to be her first foray into the care of a child, and not just any child, but me.

My problems began innocently enough. Our family and friends, Jessica included, had just finished celebrating my ninth birthday. We were all a bit tipsy, a little loose, I guess, what with the wine, the champagne, and the summer sun. We had a pool party and Jessica, being the best swimmer, stole the show. We were all amazed at how well she could do the butterfly stroke. But as Dad pointed out, even though Jessica was only five, as a beagle she had reached her maturity. Indeed, she was full size, her piebald coat was silky, her nose was coal black, and she was in her prime. How prime I was soon to discover.

After the party my mother had Jessica accompany me upstairs to help me in my shower. This alone should have been a warning sign, for I rarely bathed and never showered.

Nevertheless, when I got to my room I dutifully peeled off my swim trunks and entered the warm shower that Jessica had prepared. On the rare times I showered, I’d allow the water to cascade luxuriously off my small body and watched the dirt form an eddy as it swirled down the drain. But this time, to my amazement, I saw the shower door silently slide open. It was Jessica, tongue lolling out of the side of her mouth, panting like a, like a, well, like a beagle. A beagle in heat.

I’m not exactly sure what happened then, it all happened so fast. No, I’m not being truthful. I do remember, but it’s embarrassing. After lathering me up from head to toe and everything between, Jessica slowly, sinuously began to lick the lather from my body with her warm, caressing tongue.

I was mesmerized; too frightened to yell out, too stimulated to want her to stop. I was dizzy with passion and indecision. Jessica, recognizing my plight and obviously enjoying her power, pressed on, licking the lather from every orifice, every nook and cranny of this nine year old body.

With the lather gone, so was she. Before leaving my bathroom she yawned one of her big yawns and stretched one of her big doggie stretches. Licking her lips, she seemed to smile as she looked back while slowly, sinuously ambling to the door.

I walked on unsteady legs to my bed, lay down and immediately fell asleep, trembling. I guess I dreamt; I don’t recall. I do remember seeing men in red waistcoats tooting horns as they rode by on horses and the letters AKC floating in the distance, but that’s about all. To others, I may have been spotlessly clean on the outside, but I knew that today I was a dirty little boy on the inside.

This episode was not the last for me and Jessica. My shower became a daily ritual for us. Every night, right after dinner, up we went to my room, off came my clothes, and into the shower Jessica and I went. I won’t go into the details, but I owe Jessica all I ever learned about pleasuring and being pleasured. I’ve had other relationships since Jessica, but the first is always different. I guess with Jessica it was very different.

Naturally, my parents were pleased. They had wanted me to improve my bodily hygiene for some time. Little did they realize how anxious I was everyday to please them nor little did they realize my motive.

Although initially reserved, by our third encounter my resolve melted. Maybe the melting was due to all that warm water from the shower, but I came to look forward to my encounters with Jessica. And to think she was brought in to be my nanny. Mistress might be more like it.

While at first Jessica took the initiative in our relationship, that role gradually shifted to me. It was I who realized what we had together didn’t need a shower, it would work no matter where we were. In fact, the shower proved to be a hurdle. To our great consternation, Jessica’s coat became matted by the shower and we often had to interrupt our activities so that she could give herself a good shake. Water flew everywhere. It was then that she never looked more like a beagle and I never was more transfixed by her animal magnetism.

And magnetic it was. I awoke thinking of her; her smell dominated my room. It was musky, with a slight tinge of roasted chestnuts and a soupçon of wet leather. Each room I entered reminded me of her, for we found each other in each room. When she was out, doing what beagles do when they go out (I never pried), I patiently waited at the door for her return, dog Yummy at the ready. Each time she returned we were excited to see each other. I petted her wildly and she jammed her nose into my crotch. She was all dog and I was in heaven.

Several years passed, years that whizzed by in frolic and a romp. Jessica taught me how to love, how to feel life through my body, how to track down dead rodents. I taught her how to heel, fetch and roll over. We bathed together, slept together, ate from the same bowl.

And then, when I was twelve, I met Fifi.

Fifi was cute as a button. Her complexion was pink, her nails were polished red; she wore cute little pink ribbons in her fluffy hair and a smart collar around her neck. One look and I was smitten.

Fifi sat next to me in my English class. I could tell she was different than Jessica because when she smiled her upper lip moved and she stood on two legs. But the best was, she refused to heel. I liked that in a female. Soon she let me carry her books to school. It didn’t take long to know Jessica was going to the pound.

Jessica sensed something immediately. She was rightfully proud of her instincts; she could smell trouble a mile away. I could tell she was puzzled. She continually sniffed around, picking up Fifi’s scent on my clothes, Fifi’s hair on my sweater. Jessica lifted her nose whenever I came into the room, trying to discern what was in the air.

I felt like a rotten heel, but Fifi had won me over. It’s true she didn’t have Jessica’s little black button nose, but she did fill out her sweater a lot nicer. It was also easier to carry on a sensible conversation. And I also didn’t have to worry as much about getting worms.

Beside, the other guys were getting suspicious. When we all went to the movies, the guys brought girls, I brought Jessica. When we all went skating, the guys brought girls, I brought Jessica. Eyebrows were being raised, questions asked. I could hear the snickers and I succumbed to the pressure. I had outgrown Jessica.

I had to tell her; with her instincts she would have found out eventually. Beside, it was only right.

I waited until after dinner one night. My parents were upstairs in their bedroom, Jessica and I were curled up in front of the fireplace. It was one of our favorite spots, and we both snuggled closely near the warmth of the flames. It was almost a shame to undermine our memories of such a moment, but it had to be done.

So I told her everything: about Fifi, about how we met, how we felt an immediate bond, how I intended to continue seeing Fifi. Well, Jessica went berserk. She started barking about how much we meant to each other, how she had given me the best years of her life particularly when each year represented seven, how much she had looked forward to the Yummies.

I didn’t try to defend myself, I knew it was futile. Nothing hath more fury than a beagle scorned. Jessica howled on and on, promising to do better, to not jam her nose into the crotch of every Tom, Dick, or Harry, to not want to go out after ten o’clock, to hurry her business along, even to clean up after herself. She would do all these and more if I simply agreed to walk her occasionally and maybe take a shower or two together for old time sake.

When all of her entreaties failed she desperately tried one more gambit. She threatened to reveal our secret relationship to the world, starting with my parents. I knew that when Jessica was aroused, she was resistant to logic. She yipped on and on and I began to worry that she might have been rabid. She continued to threaten to reveal our menage, but I wasn’t worried. She couldn’t hurt me. I knew where the bones were buried.

The next day Jessica took revenge by breaking the rules of her housebreaking. The sofa and the gray carpet took the full impact. That was her going away present. When we looked we found that Jessica was gone.

It’s been several years now since that summer when Jessica and I had the world by the tail. I haven’t heard from her, not directly, that is. A while back, I read that a young man had admitted himself into a nearby state hospital for the insane. It seems he was terrified he might be the father of a litter of infant beagles. He wasn’t too coherent, but he pinned most of the blame on a beagle bitch who refused to use birth control. I figured that was my girl.

Come to think of it, I guess Oprah and her ilk are stonewalling my story because of its triteness: boy finds dog, boy and dog make love, boy finds girl, boy loses dog. It’s an old story, true, but even old shaggy stories can teach us a thing or two about life.