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Those of you who know me and Mr B even slightly will know what a huge slice of our hearts was filled with the ebullient presence(s) of the springer spaniels. They both died in lockdown – the first one.

Jenny, our traumatised collie, joined the household, from a rescue centre, at the beginning of last September, fourteen months ago now. She is still nervous, still anxious and is frightened of strangers. She’s not really comfortable yet with the rest of the family. Yet she loves us, is friendly with other dogs and has a feisty but functioning relationship with Miss Baxter, the cat.

Her quality of life has improved immeasurably since the arrival of not-so-new pup, Dodie, the long-eared, apricot bombshell who blew into our lives two months ago. Dodie is living proof of what a difference a loving, secure start can make. She is affectionate, fearless, adventurous. She adores Jenny and her chewy, licky, effervescent demonstrativeness is returned, albeit in a calmer manner. Jenny will probably never be as carefree as her younger playmate and whatever damaged her is there for keeps. But she plays and wrestles with the new addition. She even smiles, which we’re not used to seeing. For Jenny, things are most definitely looking up!

Butter wouldn't melt
The apricot bombshell