I had a litter of eight week old puppies ready to go to their new homes and I was expecting people to collect one of the dog puppies. When the doorbell rang I went to the door and my heart sank – stood in the porch was a very elderly gentleman with a walking stick, I asked him in thinking that I was going to have to let him down very gently as he obviously wasn’t fit enough to look after a young Airedale. I mistakenly thought his wife would be in a similar state. After a few minutes the bell went again and there stood a healthy, fit daughter and my spirits lifted. As is my custom no puppies are viewed until I have talked to prospective owners and tested them out with a couple of boisterous adults. After a long talk which happily ended with me feeling absolutely comfortable about these people having a puppy I let in a couple of Airedale maniacs – no problem. The next stage was to put out the adults and bring in the puppies, fine - 6 puppies in, -5 puppies creating havoc but one puppy went straight up to the gentleman made a fuss, tried to undo his shoelaces and then curled up on his feet and stayed there. Who was choosing who here?

Toby was taken home but bless him I received letter in a shaky paw every few months about his life with his Dad. One letter (and newspaper clipping) is the subject of this story. Toby and his Dad were dropped off at the park gates each day and they would make their way through the park where they would be collected at a set time. Toby’s Dad suffered a stroke and being a city park no-one would stop to help. Toby became desperate in the end and chased a jogger, grabbed his track suit bottom and took him back to where his Dad was laying. The man then realised that he wasn’t a drunk and phoned for help. The Doctor’s said that Toby’s Dad would have died if it hadn’t been for his actions.

An addendum to this tale is eventually Toby’s Dad had to go into care and Toby visited him every day – Toby outlived his Dad by a few months, dying aged 13.