In a not entirely unexpected turn of events, Alfie our seven month old Cockapoo, now lives in my house after choosing me to be his person. Oh yes: I am without doubt, the chosen one. The one whose ears he most prefers to nibble. Probably because I am the only one who will let him.

Having had a series of kittens and cats has in no way prepared me for the inconvenience and joie de vivre that is a puppy. Alfie is bonkers with love for absolutely everything.  Ancient old man on the street? Alfie wants to lick him! Bra wrapped around his head? Cause for celebration! My return home after I have popped to the shops? Like Christmas every time! The window cleaner calling for his money? Reason to do an excited little wee in the porch while simultaneously trying to jump into his lovely arms! Heckity pie this is one happy dog.

People I know are divided in their opinion about this new development at Chez Brocante.  Some friends have looked at me absolutely aghast as Alfie romps around my little house carrying whatever little piece of treasure he can snaffle. Mark washes his hands every time this enthusiastic little puppy touches him and my neighbour saw fit to convince another neighbour to insist that he could not sleep during the day because Alfie barks with worry whenever I leave the house: a plan soon scuppered when said neighbour came to my house to state that he couldn’t live with such a lie and didn’t even know I had a dog!

One friend looks at me as if only I could have got such a mad dog. A dog who is, in terms of spirit and joy and bouncing off the walls busyness, Finley’s doppellganger. Shaking her head as if to say, haven’t you got enough on your plate you mad cow?? Another worries about the troublesome business that is my doggy’s erm… business. Worrying about the effort required to take him for walks and to keep the house clean and tidy when Alfie is determined to be my domestic undoing, by eating everything from the waistband of my new trousers to a block of cheese and everything in-between.

And yet the pleasure that is being Alfie’s person is unsurpassed. This morning I had a little cry and he climbed on to my knee and tried to lick away my tears. When Alice looks set to jump out of the window, Alfie whimpers and barks in fright and runs over to tell me his little feline friend is trying to make her escape. On the school playground, Alfie behaves as if he has wandered into heaven and all the kids crowd around him while they take it in turns to worship his silly face. And when the phone rings on the tele, Alfie barks to let the world know that someone needs to answer it…

This is a love affair if ever there was one.