When you’ve been married for a while and neither of you has had an affair or run up huge gambling debts, and your teenage children don’t sell drugs or dance in nightclubs in their underwear for money, you kind of run out of things to argue about.
This is a problem, as women love friction. If everything is rosy in the Garden of Eden then Eve gets twitchy and is ready for a row.
The trigger for this is those awful words that, to a man’s ears, sound like a wrecking ball, “You’re quiet” or “You’re in a funny mood”.
One way of ensuring that couples never run short of arguments is to get a badly behaved puppy.
Our saluki/whippet-cross Walter had his second birthday a few weeks ago and the improvement in his behaviour can, to the untrained eye, best be described as glacial.
Not to me though. He’s Daddy’s Special Soldier as far as I’m concerned. We go on long walks every day, I tuck him up in his Rainbow Fairies duvet on his own leather sofa every night when he asks to go to bed when it goes dark and I’m the one who trained him to come back to a whistle.
Does your dog come back to a whistle? Come to that, do your kids come back to a whistle?
The boss thinks he’s ruined. When she takes him out, it’s like flying a kite in a gale. He jumps up at every dog he sees, sniffs every last lamppost, pulls like he’s the lead husky on a sled team and she doesn’t let him run loose because there’s a good chance he won’t come back. Apparently all this is my fault.
I’ve spoilt him rotten and, as sighthounds form a strong bond with one member of the pack at the expense of all others, when he’s out with someone else, it’s the law of the playground and he’ll do what he wants.
It’s like when your teenage daughter brings home an absolute thunder**** of a boyfriend for the first time. You know he’s bad news, her friends know he’s bad news, even his friends know he’s bad news. And then she says: “But you don’t know him like I do”.
In a nutshell, that’s our family’s stance on me and our Walter. But they don’t know him like I do.