Our house has been under attack for the past four months, and now it is time to tot up the cost. The culprit is Molly, our little Jack Russell, who has just finished teething (I hope). It is estimated that every puppy causes £750 of damage to property when growing up. Our older terrier, Cracker, scoffed at such frugality, and caused damage in line with a whole term’s school fees by destroying a floor.

Molly has been more selective in her targets; instead of Cracker’s carpet-bombing technique, she has gone in for precision strikes on a wide range of targets, including the skirting boards, the kitchen table and several pairs of shoes. She will have comfortably passed her £750 limit.

The possibilities for high-scale damage by Barack Obama’s new puppy in the White House look high. I wonder what is the greatest damage ever achieved by a dog? Sadly Guinness World Records is quiet on this. I welcome the president elect’s decision to get his children a dog. Dogs are wonderful for children they get them outside, they teach responsibility and they are loyal. You can always redecorate the Oval Office, but you can’t re-create a childhood.