The terrier is in charge. After generations of labradors and collies that lived ‘professionally’ in a kennel at night and were not allowed onto chairs, my mother’s new acquisition, a self confident Jack Russell puppy a quarter their size, has already cost more in fancy accoutrements than all his predecessors put together. His bedroom is the kitchen, where he hogs the rare patches of sunlight coming through and sleeps soundly in a basket by the Rayburn.

This is due a service, but that will have to wait until the weather is warmer because he would disapprove of it being turned off. He’s already been microchipped because outings-lunches, hunting, cheering up the old people’s home- now revolve around his enjoyment. His travel cage in the car is arranged so that he has an unhindered view of passing scenery.

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Toys, with varying levels of ‘squeak’ left in them, have been purchased for his amusement and the sofa provides the perfect vantage point from which to enjoy watching television, especially Songs of Praise, Mastermind or a spot of Channel Four Racing, although only David Attenborough or a sheepdog on Countryfile merit getting down for a closer look. He should probably be running the country.

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