He always wanted to be a writer, but was diverted into writing music rather than books, and for the next thirty years he composed music for TV, working at the BBC’s renowned Radiophonic Workshop, before going freelance.
In 2007 he retired from the media music business and downshifted to Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa). This gave him the opportunity to get to grips with writing while pursuing his other passion: windsurfing, combining them in a series of articles for Boards magazine: ‘Life on the Reef’.
He’s published two books co-authored with his wife: ‘Nobody’s Poodle’ (2013), a short novel written from the perspective of their rescue dog, and ‘Somebody’s Doodle’ (2016), a fast-moving, heady mix of crime, humour, romance, and a few more dogs.
Richard’s novel: ‘Too Close to the Wind’, a philosophical thriller, was published in 2019. It’s a journey of self-discovery narrated by a young Australian windsurfer. Dogs don’t feature in it.
He’s currently working on his next novel: ‘The Rhythm of Time’, the interconnected stories of three musicians in the 18th, 21st, and 24th centuries and the third book in the Gizmo trilogy: ‘I Woof Therefore I Am’, a collection of shaggy dog stories.
Nikki stares at her laptop. She’s in her living room, in El Blowo, Tenerife. Gizmo is on her lap and she’s checking his Facebook page, while cutting little knots of his matted fur with a pair of grooming scissors.
She’s just read a shocking post … A friend was recycling her rubbish, when she heard muffled yelps coming from a cardboard box, hidden between two of the bins. Inside were six puppies: dehydrated, choking, barely alive.
As a spokesmutt for the underdog, it makes Gizmo barking mad. “I’m barking mad!” Nikki types. “When will humans get the message: A Dog is For Life!” She’s just about to add a link to a local refuge, when her phone rings. Grabbing it with one hand and tugging on a bit of fur with the other, she answers it: “Hola?”
There’s a pause, then an upmarket English voice: “Hi, is that Nikki? I’d like to talk to you about making a film of your book, ‘Nobody’s Poodle’ …”
CHAPTER 1 - WHEN JACK MET HARRY
The van door slams shut and there’s a howl from inside. Whoever, or whatever, is in the back of Harry’s battered old rust-bucket is not happy to be there.
“Oi ‘Arry, careful mate. You almost chopped the mutt’s nuts off.”
“Shut it Jack! Just get yer arse in ‘ere, before she clocks that we’ve nicked ‘er dog.”
Harry shoves the van into gear and stomps on the accelerator. Seconds later, they screech to a halt. It’s the afternoon school-run and traffic is gridlocked. An irate woman in a Range Rover sticks one impeccably manicured finger up at them.
Jack sighs. “We’re not making what you’d call a speedy getaway, mate. More like the most leisurely getaway in criminal history…”
“The most leisurely getaway in ‘istry?” repeats Harry, in a whining, mock-posh voice. “You really are a poncey git, Jack. I warned ya it was rush ‘our, but you told me it was the only time the mutt was gonna be on ‘Ampstead ‘Eath.”
Jack shrugs, but for once his partner is right. Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to steal a dog from the Heath when half the mums in Hampstead were picking their kids up. Maybe his cunning plan wasn’t so clever after all.
* * *
‘Flash ‘Arry’ Smith and Jack, ‘The Lad’, Jones were hardly what you’d call master criminals. Nicking wheels from cars, a bit of shoplifting, petty burglaries ... Jack had ambitions, but Harry had accepted his limitations a long time ago. His nickname was ironic—although the irony was wasted on him. Harry lacked the brains to make a career out of crime and these days he was more seedy than flash.
He was born into a large, dysfunctional family—they functioned mainly by dissing everyone else on their estate. His parents weren’t around much. His dad disappeared when he was a toddler, leaving his mum, Pauline, with a succession of low-life partners. She spent most of her time in her ‘ome-from-‘ome, Holloway prison.
Harry progressed through a succession of institutions: care homes, Borstal, Young Offender centres, acquiring new and nastier skills, until he was old enough to do time in a real prison himself. His role models in the nick were fellow misfits and failures—the clever criminals were still out there, making crime pay. He fancied himself as a tough guy, but as with most bullies, he crumpled as soon as he was challenged by a genuine hard man. So, Harry had always been a loser … until he met Jack.
* * *
Forty minutes later, the van has crawled a quarter of a mile. The pooch in the back is barking manically and Harry yells obscenities …
“Shut that effin’ dog up!”
“And how am I meant to do that, mate?”
“I don't know. Use yer bleedin’ imagination—mate.” Stress, and a hint of menace in Harry’s voice now.
Jack climbs into the back. “Good boy, Angus,” he whispers, noticing the name on the Highland Terrier’s collar. “You’ll be okay with us.”
Angus isn’t convinced. He bares his teeth and prepares to sink them into Jack’s crotch. “I might not look like a Rottweiler,” he growls, “but come any closer laddie, and you won’t be having any wee bairns calling you daddy.”
He launches a pre-emptive strike. Jack falls backwards, smashing his head on the wheel arch.
“What the ‘ell’s ‘appenin now?” Harry yells. “Can’t you keep that bleedin’ mutt under control? It’s only a small dog for Christ’s sake!”
“Yeah right mate, but you haven’t seen its teeth.”
“Give it something to eat, mate,” Harry snarls, irritated, as ever, by the suggestion that he’s Jack’s mate.
“Er, like what exactly? Did you get any dog food?”
“There’s a packet of biscuits in the plastic bag. For God’s sake Jack, do I ‘ave to think of everything?”
“You must be joking, mate,” Jack mutters under his breath. When there’s thinking to be done, Harry’s not the first choice to do it.
* * *
‘The Lad’ was younger than Harry, as you’d expect from his nickname. In fact, he’d acquired it as much for his quick wits, open mind, and boyish good looks. Unlike Harry, crime wasn’t his first choice of career.
Jack was an only child. His parents had worked hard to claw their way out of the gutter and make a better life for him. His father, Reg, was an accomplished wheeler-dealer with the gift of the gab. He tapped into the property market just as it was becoming a bubble. Success and money brought aspirations for their son to be a doctor, lawyer, some kind of celebrity on the telly ... So they sent him to a private school, where he was taught to speak posh, defer to his superiors, and lord it over his inferiors.
Sadly, his parents’ dreams of fame and fortune were shattered when the property bubble burst. Facing bankruptcy, Reg’s deals turned from desperate to downright dodgy. Eventually he was convicted of fraud and found himself in Wormwood Scrubs. The Lad was plucked out of the posh school and catapulted into a tough comprehensive in Hackney.
He hated his new school, but he adapted quickly—survival meant adapt or be adapted. Books were his escape. He immersed himself in them: crime novels, detective stories, political thrillers ... He longed to be a working-class hero, a Robin Hood outlaw, a James Dean daredevil, a Che Guevara revolutionary.
Jack left school as soon as he could, to look after his mum. With his dad in prison, she depended on him and he was forced to grow up quickly. A series of dead-end jobs lead nowhere. But all those hours in the library, immersed in clever plots, had given him ideas.
He’d seen his dad nearly make crime pay. Okay, he’d screwed it up, but he hadn’t read all the books his son had. Jack just had to come up with the right scam and avoid getting caught. It should be easy enough for a mastermind of criminal literature. He knew how to act tough—in theory, anyway. He just needed a genuine hardened criminal to show him the ropes and put theory into practice.
* * *
After a stressful few hours, they arrive back at Harry’s gaff in Stoke Newington. Angus has quietened down, having discovered the plastic bag. He’s worked his way through the packet of biscuits, a box of cornflakes, a pint of milk, a loaf of bread … and all the packaging. Now he’s being sick—enthusiastically.
“Oi, mind my bleedin’ van!” Harry shouts. “It’s gonna stink of dog puke for ever. ‘Ow am I gonna get that bird from the boozer in the back now?”
Jack grabs the pooch and mops up the mess with an old towel. “Don’t worry ‘Arry, you can buy a spanking new one once we hit the jackpot with my plan.” Get real, mate, he thinks to himself. Not even a brand new luxury shag-wagon is gonna improve your chances with the ladies—at least, not those that come free of charge.
Harry slams the van door. “Right Jack, dump the mutt in the shed. I’m gaggin’ fer a pint.”
Jack hesitates. “But mate ... it’ll be freezing in there tonight.”
“Don’t be soft, Jack. He tried to take yer nuts off back there.”
“Maybe, but you can’t blame him. He was scared shitless.”
“Glad to ‘ear it. Pukin’ up was bad enuff. So, now you’re an expert on dog behaviour eh? Leave ‘im in the effin’ shed. He’ll be fine.”
Jack sighs and puts Angus in the shed with a bowl of water and a blanket. The two of them spend the rest of the evening in Harry’s local: the ‘Bucket of Blood’. But The Lad can’t relax. Eventually, he plonks his pint down and leaves Harry chatting-up Rosie, the barmaid.
When he opens the shed door, Angus gazes at him, shaking. “Hey, don’t worry, I’m not gonna hurt you.” He wraps the blanket around the pooch. Angus wriggles free and stares up at him, shivering. Jack shrugs. “Okay, have it your own way. I’m going to bed now.” He shuts the shed door. As he walks away, he hears whimpering.
Half-an-hour later, Jack is still awake. He gets out of bed and looks in the shed. Angus is still shivering, but he wags his tail. “Alright mate, you win. Just for tonight, okay?” He picks up the pooch and carries him into the house. Angus curls up next to him and minutes later they’re both snoring.
* * *
Jack met Harry in the infamous ‘Bucket of Blood’ in Stoke Newington High Street. The pub was famous as a hangout for north London’s low-lives and was known as the ‘Den of Thieves’ by local police officers. Jack had just launched his criminal career with his first burglary and he was attempting to flog the loot to the punters, most of whom were crooks themselves. They got chatting, and it turned out that Harry had met Jack’s dad in The Scrubbs. Reg told him what a clever lad Jack was, and how his son had been robbed of the chance to make something of his life. Now here was: The Lad himself.
Jack mentioned he could do with a bit of advice from a seasoned pro, and Harry happened to be looking for a new business partner. His regular accomplice had just been nicked and was starting a three-year stretch. Harry thought Jack was a bit green, but he definitely had potential. The Lad looked smart and sounded like he could put on a posh accent—two skills Flash ‘Arry would never manage. He knew his limitations and he realised Jack had more brain cells. So he offered to take The Lad on as his apprentice. Jack moved into Harry’s house and they became partners-in-crime. Jack supplied the brains and Harry the brawn—in theory, anyway.
One day, Jack was watching the news and there was a story about a Hollywood actress who was offering a six-figure reward for her missing dog. It got him thinking … If they could arrange for a posh pooch to go missing and then claim the reward …
Yes, this was it—the scam he’d been searching for—an opportunity to innovate, climb the criminal ladder, mastermind a modern crime before it became mainstream; a chance to outmanoeuvre the police while dognapping was still just a news story. So he came up with a cunning plan.
* * *
The next morning Jack is woken by an angry shout from the yard …
“The bleedin’ dog’s gone! Some scumbag’s stolen ‘im.”
He looks at Angus curled up next to him, snoring happily, and shouts back: “Calm down ‘Arry. He’s in my room.”
“No way. You can’t keep it in the ‘ouse. That’s disgusting. The little bugger threw up all over my van yesterday.”
“Sorry mate, but Angus would ‘ave frozen to death in the shed. He’d be an ex-pooch by now and we’d ‘ave kissed goodbye to the reward money.”
“Okay, mate. But keep the little bleeder out my way. And it better not shit or puke in my way, neither. And... ‘Ang on—what’s with this cute-doggie Angus thing? You goin’ soft on me Jack, lad?”
“Course not, ‘Arry. It’s the dog’s name, mate. Look, we don’t have to keep him here for long. His owner should ‘ave put up a missing poster by now. Let’s go back to the Heath and have a look.”
The dognappers leave Angus in Jack’s bedroom and drive to Hampstead Heath again. The journey is less stressful without their canine hostage. They avoid rush hour and they take Jack’s car—the van reeks of dog vomit and there’s a chance someone might recognise it.
Jack soon spots what they’re looking for. “Check this out, ‘Arry. There’s a photo of Angus and a two thousand pound reward. Result, eh? I told you this dognapping malarky would have a cool risk-to-reward ratio.”
Harry is impressed. He’s reluctant to boost Jack’s ego, but it looks like teaming-up with The Lad was a smart move—even if he does ‘ave to put up with a poncey dog-lover soundin’ like he’s swallowed a dictionary.
“‘Ow long are you gonna stand there feelin’ clever, mate? Grab the effin’ poster and let’s get outta ‘ere before someone clocks us.”
They get back in the car and head back to Stoke Newington to launch the next stage of Jack’s cunning plan.
CHAPTER 2 - ELIZABETH'S GRAND DESIGNS
Doodle gazes out of the window. It’s winter, and the house has been shrouded in darkness since late afternoon. She yawns and stretches out on the sumptuous leather sofa. She’s been there since Cheryl, the dog-walker, took her out at midday—eight hours ago.
Doodle isn’t alone in the house, but she may as well be. Elizabeth’s teenage daughter, Miranda, has been in her bedroom since she got back from school. But Miranda is immersed in her laptop and Doodle isn’t allowed upstairs.
She hears something … a car in the drive, footsteps, keys in the door … Yes, it’s her mistress. Wooftastic! She rushes to greet her, tail wagging like crazy. Elizabeth is happy to see her, but she’s had a tough day.
“Doodle, darling, mummy’s exhausted. Didn’t Miranda play with you?”
She shouts upstairs: “Did you play with Doodle today? She seems really frantic.”
Long pause. Then a grunt of “no-oo” from Miranda’s bedroom.
The pooch is scratching at the door and barking now.
“Did you let her out in the garden, at least?”
More grunts of “no-oo” and “wadever” from upstairs.
Elizabeth sighs. “Miranda, for goodness sake. You’re fourteen. Show a bit more responsibility, please. Remember who begged me to get a dog in the first place?”
She pours herself a large glass of Chablis and opens the back door. Doodle dashes out into the landscaped garden and relieves herself on the nearest tree. How would they like it if they had to cross their legs for eight hours at a stretch? It’s just taking the piss, she thinks to herself.
When she comes back inside, Elizabeth is upstairs, arguing with Miranda—and Doodle isn’t allowed upstairs.
A few hours later, Elizabeth comes back downstairs … and switches off the lights. Doodle is plunged into darkness—again. Thanks a lot, she thinks. Don’t bother about me. Just treat me like part of the furniture. Actually, the furniture gets more love than I do…
And she’s right. Elizabeth cares deeply about her furniture. After all, it cost a lot more than the dog.
* * *
After a restless night on the sofa, dreaming of freedom—running, jumping, chasing, barking … Doodle wakes up and smells the coffee. Elizabeth puts down her cappuccino and opens a large brown envelope. She takes out a document and glances at the legal jargon. It’s her Decree Absolute. Her marriage is officially over.
Thank God. Now we can move on. She pauses, reflects, and for a moment relief is tinged with regret. Perhaps we’d still be together if it wasn’t for… But Elizabeth doesn’t do regret. Hey, stop that. Yes, you love your job more than him, but you’ve worked damn hard to get where you are. Okay, it’s taken a few sacrifices, but how many women get to be senior producers? It wasn’t your fault Andrew ran off with your secretary. In fact, Elizabeth had been a lot more pissed-off with her than him. She was far more difficult to replace.
Doodle senses her mistress’s conflicting emotions and rests her head in her lap. Elizabeth glances down. Doodle wags her tail, but Elizabeth ignores her. She puts the paperwork on the coffee table and stares into space. Doodle eyes the source of her mistress’ distraction. She’s about to demolish the document, when she spots a more interesting object under the table.
Elizabeth finally notices her. “What’ve you got there, Doodle? Hey, leave…” She grabs the book … and her mood changes. “Oh, good girl.” She pats the pooch on the head.
Result! thinks Doodle.
“Great, we’ve found that dog book at last. I wondered where it’d got to.”
So, WE’ve found it, have WE? thinks Doodle.
* * *
The book is what motivated Elizabeth to get a dog for Miranda. Her daughter had been pestering her to get a puppy, but Elizabeth insisted it wouldn’t fit with their lifestyle. It was difficult enough being a single super-mum. Elizabeth had never had a dog. She didn’t see the point of them and she dismissed Miranda’s demands as a teenage fad.
‘Nobody’s Poodle’ changed all that. She picked it up from the airport bookstore on her way to Los Angeles. Normally, her secretary would have organised her reading material, but Elizabeth had been forced to let the girl go after discovering her in flagrante delicto with Andrew.
Why the hell hadn’t they waited until she was in LA? Dealing with the fallout took all her energy and she nearly cancelled the trip. But she’d been working on the project for ages. There was no way that Randy Andy was going to screw up her pitch to the Hollywood big fish. And anyway, it would do her good to get away from the sordid mess for a few days. So she found herself at Heathrow, facing a ten-hour flight, feeling like death-warmed up.
She had just enough time to dive into the bookshop and grab something that might distract her from the black thoughts. ‘Nobody’s Poodle’ wasn’t her usual kind of book, but her eyes were drawn to the cute, fluffy white dog with reading glasses and a laptop, on the sky-blue cover. She smiled as she read the blurb:
'When loveable Labradoodle, Gizmo, is uprooted from his home in cold, grey, muddy England to start a new life in Tenerife, he’s stoic. But just when he’s learnt the local woof-speak and survived an out-of-botty experience at the vet he’s abandoned on the mean streets of Costa del Scorchio.
Every day’s a struggle. His soulmate, Katie, is snatched from him. He’s captured and nearly torn apart in El Bastardo’s dog-fighting ring … But Gizmo’s a survivor. He’s a spokesmutt for the underdog and a canine philosopher.
You’ll learn how his universe works. How dogs invented the internet (‘SmellNet’), email (‘SmellMail’) and wifi (‘Whiffy’). And you’ll celebrate their dogged, Zen-like stoicism in the face of human stupidity, indifference, and cruelty.
With a cast of wonderful woofers and a story that’s the mutt’s nuts, NOBODY’S POODLE is the dog’s danglies of a book!'
Yep, that’ll do, she thought, grabbing the slim paperback as she heard the last call for her flight.
The journey wasn’t the ordeal she’d anticipated. She spent it working on the pitch, with ‘Nobody’s Poodle’ providing light relief and prompting frequent giggles. The book’s message was that a dog without a home was like a fish out of water, and a home without a dog was similarly flawed. It got her thinking … could her home be flawed?
They had pretty much everything money could buy, but was it enough? What about happiness, love, her daughter’s state of mind…? Miranda had been moping around for months and Elizabeth was worried. There was so much scary stuff about young people’s mental health, drugs, self-harm … Maybe Miranda needed a distraction, more love in her life? Hell, maybe she did too. Perhaps a puppy might fill the hole that Andrew had left—in both their lives.
Elizabeth wasn’t stupid—she had a masters in media studies and she’d sat through most of Ingmar Bergman’s movies. She knew money couldn’t always buy happiness … but she liked the idea that with a bit of research, and a trip to the right breeder, she could replace her husband with a life-form that would guarantee unselfish love.
The message of ‘Nobody’s Poodle’ was: adopt, don’t buy … but adopting a random mutt from a refuge could be problematic. What kind of people had it been mixing with? Would it clash with her designer decor? How would it behave at one of her dinner parties? No, if she was going to get a dog it would have to be special, and in Elizabeth’s experience you got what you paid for.
Gizmo’s story persuaded her. She reached the last page as they were starting their descent into LA and she had just enough time to take in his final words:
I am Nobody’s Poodle
But I’m Somebody's Doodle,
And I Woof ... therefore I Am!
That did it. Miranda would get her dog and it would be a Labradoodle, like Gizmo. When she researched the breed and discovered they were ‘designer dogs’, she knew this was the dog for them. She could just picture a snow-white Doodle with her graphite leather sofa and black/grey/chrome interior.
The book and the research gave her another idea … The photos of Gizmo on his Facebook page were gorgeous. He looked like a film star (although she knew he was actually just another “random mutt from a refuge”). Elizabeth’s job was making movies and she was always on the lookout for new projects. Dog stories were popular. ‘Lassie Come Home’ and ‘Marley and Me’ grossed millions and ‘The Artist’ made Uggie famous. Could ‘Nobody’s Poodle’ be the next doggie blockbuster and Gizmo the next Lassie, Marley, or Uggie? It had all the elements of a great feel-good movie: a moral tale with plenty of twists and turns, a few tears, a happy ending and a cute, charismatic star. Elizabeth decided to look into a possible film option when she got back to London.
Her pitch to the Hollywood moneymen went well. Her boss at Cutting Edge Films was happy. Miranda got the puppy she yearned for … but in all the excitement, Nobody’s Poodle got shoved under the coffee table and forgotten, until Doodle found it, months later.
* * *
Elizabeth puts the book in her briefcase and shouts to her daughter: “Miranda, darling, I’m going to be late for my meeting. If you don’t come down right now, you’ll have to walk to school.”
The petulant teenager slouches down the glass-sided staircase and follows her mother through the marble-tiled hallway. The shiny black front door shuts with the refined click that only expensive doors make.
Thanks a lot guys, Doodle says to herself. Thanks for saying goodbye, giving me a hug, filling my water bowl ... NOT!
Every day’s the same, an all-too familiar routine … Here I am again, stuck in this house. Same as it ever was. All alone, until Cheryl gets here … IF she bothers to show up at all.
Cheryl, the dog-walker, is paid to take Doodle for a daily forty-minute walk—which usually lasts ten minutes. Ha! Call that a walk? There’s barely time to lift a leg on a lamppost. Sometimes Cheryl ‘forgets’ altogether.
So, what’s next in my busy schedule? Ah yes … Doodle starts her morning sniff-around-the-house—or at least, those bits she’s allowed to sniff.
* * *
Elizabeth bought the five bedroom Victorian townhouse with Andrew and they renovated it together. It’s located in a private cul-de-sac, backing on to Hampstead Heath—an “exclusive, sought-after location” according to the estate agent. They needed a massive mortgage, but they were both high-flyers. Now it’s worth millions.
Andrew is an architect, Elizabeth a film producer, but her real passion is interior design. They had the skills, drive and money for a Grand Design and theirs was sufficiently interesting to feature on the TV show of the same name. The front of the house looks like all the other elegant properties in the street (the planning committee insisted on this), but behind the Victorian facade they created a “spectacularly contemporary space”, as Kevin, the ‘Grand Designs’ presenter described it.
They removed most of the interior walls, excavated an enormous basement, and added a spectacular extension with triple-glazed glass which turned opaque at the touch of a switch. The basement has a swimming pool, cinema, and a dance-floor with a computer-controlled lighting system. Kevin teased them about the disco, saying it was a bit “bling”, but they basked in all the attention.
The wow-factor continues throughout the rest of the house. A glass staircase winds around a glass-sided lift and light floods in from the stunning glass roof. The lift was Elizabeth’s idea. Andrew thought it was an extravagance, but it saves fifteen seconds from the journey to the third floor.
Elizabeth and Miranda always take the lift. Neither walk anywhere if they can avoid it and both are somewhat sizeably challenged. It never occurred to Elizabeth that she wouldn’t need Cheryl, or a personal trainer, if she just took Doodle for a brisk walk on the Heath every day. Her motto has always been: you get what you pay for … and time was money.
Elizabeth and Andrew’s Grand Design kept them together. The heady excitement of the renovation project and the media exposure papered over the cracks. The TV people liked a bit of creative tension to “sex-up the show”. They obliged with plenty of arguments about bathroom fittings and door handles, but it was their relationship that really needed renovating.
When the house was finally finished, it felt like their marriage was over too. The spark had gone out of their life together. They might have split up then, but Miranda arrived to distract them. Elizabeth suspected that Andrew was playing away, but she turned a blind eye while their daughter was growing up. Catching him with her secretary coincided with Miranda becoming a teenager and for Elizabeth it was the last straw.
When they divorced, she made sure her lawyer was better than his. Andrew was the guilty party, she got both Miranda and the house. Keeping the house went some way to soften the blow—not that she didn’t care about her daughter, but the house was special. It was her baby and she’d sweated blood to bring it to life (Miranda had arrived in Harley Street courtesy of a ‘too posh to push’ caesarian).
* * *
Doodle has finished her sniff around the bits of the house she’s allowed to sniff and now she’s curled up on the sofa. Same as it ever was: a designer dog, home alone, in a Grand Design of a house, dreaming of freedom.
The sofa is as plush and expensive as all the rest of Elizabeth’s furniture. It’s made of the finest hide and seats a dozen people—although that rarely happens now that Elizabeth and Andrew no longer hold court with their soirées. These days the sofa’s main occupant is Doodle.
She’s not really allowed on it, given Elizabeth’s loathing of dirt and smells, but who’s to know? Labradoodles don’t shed their fur and she never has the chance to get dirty or smelly. Nope, not a cat-in-hell's chance, thinks Doodle.
She watches enviously as the other dogs on the Heath splash through puddles, chase sticks through mud, roll around in wooftastic whiffs … Oh how she wishes she could join them, but she’s never allowed off the lead.
So, there she is, yet again. Alone on the sofa, waiting for Cheryl to show-up. Same as it ever was.