George: Well of course. I hope you told them I am in constant pain.
Me: Er no.
George: I think you should. In fact I think they'd like to hear more about me. You could tell them my life story. All the trials and tribulations I have to suffer.
Me: What trials and tribulations?
George: (Huge sighs.) I am so misunderstood.
Me: Okay, let's do your story. We'll start at the beginning.
Once upon a time we had a golden retriever named Harvey.
George: Harvey? Harvey? This is supposed to be about me.
I'm getting there, just doing the back story.
So when Harvey died we were very upset because he was such a lovely dog and had been part of our family for nearly fifteen years. About three months after he'd died we decided to fill the Harvey-shaped hole with another retriever.
We went and met your dog parents and then we chose you. You were so cute and soft. You rode home in Younger Son's arms and you soon settled in.
When Elder Son came home to meet you he laughed at your stubby little legs and fat belly.
George: How rude!
But we thought you were just cuddly. It turned out we were both wrong: you had a bad case of worms making your belly bulge.
George: Really! Do you have to say that?
I think this should be a warts and all biography.
George: Oh come, I don't have any warts!
The first few times we tried to take you out for a walk you were very reluctant to go. It was a big scary world out there.
George: Are you sure this was me? Not your precious Harvey?
So after a few weeks of this we took you to the vet who recommended a psychologist.
George: Oh please! Do you have to write this? This is private, between me and my therapist.
Warts and all.
George: Humph again.
Anyway the lady was very helpful. She suggested you may have been frightened outside the front gate at some point. She also said you were intelligent and needed to have challenges.
George: What a wonderful woman. Such insight.
We bought you a Kong (a rubber toy) in which we'd put a treat and then hide it in the garden for you to find. You were absolutely amazing at it. No matter how difficult we tried to make it you'd find it quickly. And we began throwing your food (dry bits) outside the back door so you'd have to search around for it. Which was good until the magpies came and started stealing your food.
George: What was I doing when they were stealing my food?
Eating. You didn't notice.
I can't remember how you conquered your fear of the front but you did. And then the trouble really started.
On the most famous occasion I was in the house when the postman knocked at the door. 'I've got him locked in an old lady's garden,' he said, 'while I came to fetch you. Come on.'
I leapt in the Post Office van with him and he whisked me around the corner to the garden where you were sitting looking confused.
Another time Roger, a man who lives a couple of roads away, phoned us early in the morning. 'He's here,' he said. Not only were you there but you'd convinced him you hadn't had breakfast - you had - and he'd given you two bowls full. 'He looked so hungry.'
George: What can I say? I'm a dog; I have appetites.
And this is a good place to stop, I think.
George: What?! We're not halfway through yet.
No, but I need a toilet and tea break - and the sun's shining so I'm going outside.