Before Holly and Paddington, there were a few other chows in my life... The ones who started it all.
This is my beautiful mom at age 22, sitting on her parents' front porch in good ol' Tallapoosa, with the two sweetest balls of fluff. (Please note her footwear - blue jellies!) She worked for a while at a Pike's Nursery, and one day, someone left these pups there in a cardboard box. (!) Well of course, they promptly found themselves a home with Mom, and became known as Winnie and Teddy.
Two years later, I came along. This is me at age 6, hanging on my swing set, which I got for my birthday that year. (Please take a moment to note my acid-wash jean jacket.) Posing for the camera below is Winnie, Holly's poofier predecessor. (And she'd been shaved in this picture!) Doesn't she look like Grendel? Lord, I miss her.
This one was taken in our very leafy backyard. The lion on the right is Teddy, an absolute bear of a dog. Oh! They were so sweet.
The pug on the left is Cindy, whom I named after my aunt's best friend and spent my entire childhood smothering with love. (She's an exception to the blog post on chows, but a very key ingredient in my childhood, so you get to hear about her anyway.) I was known to paint her toenails with neon polish and trim her fur in designs. Poor thing. She lived a very long life for a pug, and died on Independence Day when I was 15.
On the right is Paddington's predecessor Pooh. The resemblance between these two is absolutely uncanny. She came along a little after Winnie and Teddy.