Once upon a time, not so long ago, we brought an eight-week-old puppy into our home because we had a dog-shaped hole in our lives.
In those first few months he was given all manner of pet names because we loved him so much – names such as Walterbean and Babypuppy.
We didn’t mind that we had to slop him out half a dozen times a day because pups don’t arrive house trained.
Fast forward four months and our hound was given a new name this week on account of his chewing our wedding album, a picture of me and Sir Alex Ferguson taken at Lancaster Town Hall in 1996 and the corners off every table he can reach (which is anything under 6ft).
More often than not he is now referred to as “The Bloody Dog”. As in, “What’s The Bloody Dog chewed now?”, “The Bloody Dog’s pulled another hole in the stair carpet” and “The Bloody Dog’s looking me in the eye while he’s doing it”.
Things almost came to a head last week when the boss said if someone would rehome our six-month-old saluki/whippet cross Walter he could go.
This was serious – I mean, I’d kick her out before I sent the dog to “live on a farm”.
So I contacted the breeder for a few tips and they gave me some very detailed advice which I followed to the letter the next day.
Basically, at six months, his teeth are driving him nuts and he needs lots of things to chew so that he leaves our soft furnishings and precious memories alone. So I bought a piece of antler, a knuckle bone and put some carrots in the freezer.
After that it was like the Chew Olympics in our house.
And so that his toys aren’t littering the floor like the aftermath of a robbery at a pet shop, the boss bought him a toy box to keep them all in.
The trouble is, he’s a bright lad and has learned how to open the lid and help himself to whatever he wants, which is better than idly chewing the rug while he’s watching telly.
Apart from that, everything’s fine.
He even comes back when you call his name – but only if you have a lump of cheese in your pocket.