The world divides itself in two: people who “get” dogs and people who don’t. I don’t get people who don’t, but I know they’re out there. And, yes, when I turned up at a kids’ show last weekend with my baby Labrador swathed in pale blue terry, I knew it would raise a few eyebrows. Not just raise eyebrows. Roll eyeballs. But you know what, I didn’t care.

I’d spent the past couple of months designing the nursery, researching puppy preschools, and examining the nuances of natural diet. Meticulously planning Lila’s future with all the ambitions of an expectant mother. There was no way I was going to leave my nine-week-old chocolate baby at home alone! If anyone questioned me about her hangdog appearance, I’d simply say she takes after her father.  [read more below]

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When Lila bumped her head hard on the edge of a coffee table and yelped, that moment defined our relationship. She ran to me for comfort and I instinctively gave her every ounce I could muster. From her amazing hazel eyes to her round pink belly to the brown tuft modestly atop her most private part to her tiny snores in the middle of the night, I adore her.

When I hear the phrase “just a dog”, my hackles go up. Compared nose-to-nose, I’m not so sure our species comes out ahead. People often disappoint, but in my experience, dogs rarely do. They’re totally transparent. And happy for you to be, too. Whether you talk nonsense in a silly voice or whisper your secrets softly into a floppy ear, a dog will never make you feel shame. Or regret.

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