Jen and I have been carrying out a relentless, sneaky and committed campaign to persuade my parents to get a dog.

No dog could replace Rory of course. That crazy, neurotic, consistently stupid sheepdog that came suddenly into our lives one year and proceeded to shed black hair all over the cream carpet for the next ten or so years.

But without a dog in the house, the cats are getting too comfortable in their domination, the kitchen floor has too many crumbs and my parents are increasingly bemoaning their own lack of exercise.

Hence our campaign for a dog, which has included bringing it up in most conversations, buying 2009 calenders of border collies and burmese mountain dogs, lecturing on all the added benefits a dog will bring.

The absolute highlight of our campaign thus far came on Christmas Day from the highly unlikely source of my Grandpa. Jim Duguid lives on the side of a hill in the Highlands about eight hours drive from home and so you’d think did not have any particular vested interest in joining our campaign. However Rory had wiggled his way into Grandpa’s affections as a trusted hill-walking partner, and Jen easily got him on side on her last visit.

Shortly before Christmas a large brown box arrives addressed to my mum with a big DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS sign on the side in Grandpa’s handwriting. Most likely the first Christmas Present he has ever actually gone out and bought my mum. But being a true Duguid she waited until after church on Christmas morning to open the box…

Meet Archie:


My Grandpa is officially a legend!!!


Stuffed border collie dog: £30. Postage and packing: £10. Mum’s reaction: Absolutely priceless!


She didn’t stop laughing for about half an hour.

He was named Archie in honour of his Scottish roots, and after our favourite character from the Monarch of the Glen.


Ok, back to the topic.

Archie is disturbingly lifelike. Yeah I know if you are looking directly at him is is pretty obvious he is stuffed. But I cannot count the number of times I walked past the door to the living room and caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye and almost had a heart attack. The time I came downstairs and he had been placed sitting at the bottom of the stairs gazing up in typical Rory posture really freaked me out!!

My experience is nothing however compared with that of the cats.

dscn2019This is Zebedee, our resident fat cat. He will now be in therapy for the rest of his life. Moses, normally the scaredy-cat of the two, realised in a few minutes that Archie would not be a major challenger in the household pecking order (which typically ends with my dad at the bottom).

Zebedee is still terrified.


Score 1-0 to the “Get a New Dog!” campaign!