A woman’s best friend


It’s that time of the month again when the new issue of Candis drops through the letter box. This month’s copy is lovely – graced by the divine Halle Berry on the front cover and full of stories about love, life and hopes for the spring, including a new page by moi all about getting your finances straight for the new financial year.

Talking of a getting a spring back into your step I am thrilled to report that Doughnut is looking distinctly perkier after the second of his four injections for his arthritis. He’s still limping but now doesn’t have that “just shoot me now” expression when asked to join the school run on a frosty morning.

But his rehab is going to be a slow process so I could have done without the comments from the man outside the Old Oak when I took Doughnut out for his evening constitutional last night. “Looks like you can run faster than that greyhound, love,” he called between puffs on his ciggie. “I won’t be putting a fiver on him – bwahahaha!” Not helpful, not helpful at all. Honestly, what is it about dogs that makes everyone an expert?
“Is he a rescue?” they ask, fishing for a story of horrible neglect. Well, no not really – he apparently had a lovely puppyhood (he was nicknamed Doughnut because he was born with a ring of white fur round his nose), followed by an exciting and successful racing career (we have video footage of him winning at Wimbledon) and then he retired to a kennel in Middlesex run by the Retired Greyhound Trust.

While there he was tended by his racing owner’s daughter who worked as a kennel maid. She resisted putting him up for adoption for ages because she didn’t want to lose him, but felt it was unfair to deny him the chance of a proper home.
When, having inexplicably decided that what our messy overcrowded house needed was another messy, hairy, muddy body, we turned up en masse to choose a dog (and be vetted as responsible greyhound adopters). We were given the choice of Doughnut – then seven – or Ruby, a two-year-old female less than half his size. I veered towards the younger, more compact model, but was swiftly outvoted as the rest of the family fell for Doughnut’s Bambi eyes and sweet nature. Which was why, a couple of weeks later, we folded him and his spindly legs into to the back of our car and drove home where he snuggled up to Cleo, then 12.

Ever since he’s been at one or other of our sides through every family drama, celebration and crisis – as loyal and discreet as a butler and twice as reliable. He’s the perfect cover for teenage rendezvous – funny how keen they are on taking him for a late night walk sometimes…

He’s the perfect ally in times of rows and sulks as one or other of us stomps off their anger in a power walk round the park. He’s seen it all – first kisses, tearful break-ups, crafty fags, heated rows about money, sneaky secret chats about Christmas and birthday presents – and never breathed a word.
If only they could talk? No – sometimes a family needs a silent witness.

Does your dog hold the family secrets? And what would he say if only he could talk? Let me know by posting a comment below or tweeting @AmandaAtCandis.

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