There's been plenty of cats and dogs that I've been inordinately fond of though. Baxter, Ruff Stu's bull terrier greets me ecstatically whenever he sees me. He likes a scratch on his back just at the base of his tail. Lola, Barbie Nurse's lithe black lab comes running towards me every time she sees me on the green where she plays ball a couple of times a day. One of my favourites was a beautifully characterful neighbour's cat called Mayhem who treated my house in Exeter as his second home. When I was a student occupational therapist and had study days he'd come and curl up on the bed with me at siesta time. However we had a big falling out. His last visit to my home was the day I brought Louis home from hospital as a baby. Mayhem came into the conservatory, looked at the interloper in his carry chair with disgust and walked out never to return.
It's no surprise then that I was totally bowled over my this cutie. My sister had multiple health problems including a condition called Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, a neurological condition that causes pressure on the brain that mimics a brain tumour and causes progressive sight loss. She was registered blind and was on the waiting list to get a guide dog before her death. At her request part of her estate has been used buy a puppy and support its first year of training. And so, at the picnic after my sister's funeral my parents were given this picture. This is Esther, a labrador - retriever cross named after my sister. She is currently being puppy walked in Essex. Fingers crossed that she'll earn her stripes!