This is Dodger. Most indulged of Hill Plains' dogs. It was Christmas time five years ago when he arrived in our lives.
We went, the children and I, into the pet shop to get a pig's ear each for the working dogs for Christmas.
"Don't go up the back to where the puppies and other animals are," I said to my three very obedient children. "We are only here for pigs' ears."
And some seeds fell on stoney ground...
We came out with four pigs' ears and Dodger.
"A present for Dad," they chorused.
The pup was so traumatised to be greeted by four massive border collies when he eventually got to the farm, that he promptly bit the hand that fed when he was handed over to Tom, and drew blood. It was the start of a wonderful relationship. The man who swore there would be no dogs in the house, or in the tractor or in the car has let this little fellow into all of the aforementioned.
Dodger is out on pest control duties tonight with Tom and Will. We have been so indundated with rabbits this year that between the three of them they have a tally of over eight hundred, and if we don't keep on top of them they will rip into the emerging crops that are just starting to appear in the paddocks.
It's a bit like Watership Down here at the moment.
You've read the book. You've seen the film. Now eat the pie...