A dog blog. Not my idea. My husband’s. Phil has lots of ideas, but this one I liked. I imagined it would be all about having fun with our new Labrador puppy Lila, but now know that the blog can’t start without the sad end of our border collie Rosie.

Rosie was to have been dead within weeks. Possibly days. No later than Christmas the vet predicted. Her tumour could cause a massive brain haemorrhage. So we promptly began the grim task of digging a grave in one of our horse paddocks. It was summer. In Australia. The ground rockhard after eleven years of record-breaking drought. Our task made even more miserable by sweltering heat.

Phil hacked at the rock with a mattock while I clawed at the loosened earth with my hands. We hated what we were doing. We snarled at each other. We feared scavenging foxes and turned the grave into a fortress lined with chicken wire to be topped with a concrete slab. We couldn’t agree on the correct size of the grave. I put a tape measure to poor Rosie. I angrily climbed into the grave myself to prove Phil wrong. It was big enough. Rosie looked on. And then defied the odds. She lived 13 months beyond Christmas.