I know certain vegetables are beneficial as part of a dog’s diet but until I sat for Phoebe and Dax I had never met a dog that enjoyed salad! I am aware that it is never a good idea to leave food on a work top unattended whilst there is a dog (or a cat) in the room, no matter how short its legs! However, I did think that my salad would be safe! I had arranged the mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes and black olives rather attractively, I thought and was about to make myself a cheese omelette when the doorbell rang. I left my culinary endeavor briefly, but when I returned my salad had been rearranged and looked decidedly smaller! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to determine who snaffled my dinner as both canines looked totally without remorse!

The household is slightly smaller since I last sat here so I only have Elliot and Suki cats, Dax and Phoebe dogs (terrier crosses) and Peta the heavily malting, ring-necked parakeet to care for all of whom are rather eccentric! Then there are two ponds of fish and the wild birds and squirrels to feed. I’ve also been feeding the next-door neighbour’s three cats who were taking full advantage of the recent fine weather to decimate the local population of small mammals!! This came to an abrupt halt with the rain which even put off Nefertiti the most dedicated killer of the three. So I had the full complement of cats to feed most mornings and no disemboweled rodents to dispose of.

Dax and Phoebe are very cunning dogs. One of their favorite pastimes is escaping from the kitchen. They wait until I have my hands full with a mug of tea and a plate of something tasty (quite often cake!) then they barge passed as I’m struggling with the handle nearly taking my legs out from under me resulting in whatever was on my plate ending up on the floor. This is quickly wolfed down by whichever dog gets to it first before they dash up and down the stairs and around the lounge in ecstatic victory laps! Their other form of entertainment is stealth licking. This they try to do without being caught by me whilst I’m filling the dishwasher with dirty crockery. I only need to be distracted for the blink of an eye and a long pink tongue is swiftly run over the nearest greasy, gravy smeared plate before I can wave my dishcloth at the sneaky hound!