A couple of years ago my Minehead clients had to make the hard decision to have their very poorly poodle, Kleo, put to sleep. Like many pet owners in a similar position, myself included, they found having to let their beloved dog go, very upsetting.

Kleo left rather a big hole in the lives of my clients, although Lola, the remaining standard poodle seemed to cope with her companion’s loss in a more pragmatic way, if a dog can be said to do so. She had the full attention of her owners and didn’t have to share her toys.

After being a one dog household for a while, my clients decided that they would `down-size’ and brought home a sparky, miniature poodle puppy which they named Mishka. This cream and apricot, curly coated cutie soon settled in and was delighted with her surrogate big sister, Lola. What Lola thought of her in those early days I don’t know but she seems pretty tolerant of the blond, whirl-wind who hangs off her ears and nibbles her tail now. That is until we play ball. Lola, has a ball fixation! She does not give up her ball easily to anyone, unless they happen to be a two-legged, upright being with a good throwing arm!

Amused, I watched when Lola hurtled after the ball this morning as it flew across the lawn. Retrieving it from the shrubbery she returned it to me with her head aloft,the ball clamped between her teeth, just out of Mishka’s reach. The puppy danced excitedly along-side of the bigger dog making vain attempts to snatch Lola’s prize from her jaws! Lola, on giving up the ball to me, would have carried on indefinitely fetching and retrieving with zeal! Mishka, however, soon learnt it was a futile exercise and found it far more entertaining to impede Lola by biting her front legs and trying to trip her companion up! The end result is always the same, two very tired and mostly happy dogs.