Lucia and I were brought up in a house called TROY in Oxfordshire, SURROUNDED by dogs. Small ones, big ones, scruffy terriers, bounding labradors and staffies with attitude.
It was therefore no accident that I found myself in the car park of Battersea Dogs Home one chilly September morning, collecting a staffie cross pup in need of a new home. At the tender age of 12 weeks, this puppy had spent no more than a couple of weeks with first time dog owners who had struggled to manage.
The excellent team at Battersea Dogs Home, having checked him over and given him the approproate vaccintations, took time to ensure I could give him the stable home he now needed. Gone are the days of visiting Battersea to window shop for a dog you like the look of, this has been rightly banished in favour of a detailed application and pairing of dog to new owner, easing the stress on each dog.
The little chap I was matched with was of no known breeding, with guesswork pointing to a mix of terriers including Staffordshire and Patterdale. The happiest of dispositions, a bright, cheeky face and scruffy mongrel swagger proved irresistible, and home he came to Norfolk, christened 'Scamp'.
Since promoted to Sir Scamp-a-lot, this newest member of the TROY team can occasionally be heard making his presence known as we answer your calls, but otherwise is happiest with his new best friend, an 18 month old black Labrador called Puffin.
So thank you Battersea Dogs Home, you have made us both very happy! I couldn't put it better than the wonderful India Knight in her newly published 'The Goodness of Dogs', "Dogs are made of joy. They are happiness with four legs and a tail, and when they're happy it isn't just the tail that wags but the whole body. It's fantastically endearing and completely life-enhancing... (so) three joyous yaps to the goodness of dogs!"