Woof, woof – this is the Chi­nese Year of the Dog. But for many peo­ple ev­ery year is the year of the dog. Derek James in­vites us to join him on walkies.

Let's Talk - - Contents -

Derek James takes an af­fec­tion­ate look at ca­nine friends

My wife and I have never lived in a home with­out a dog. They have al­ways been part of our lives. But, now I come to think about it, the dogs get smaller as we get older.

To be hon­est I used to tend to look down on peo­ple with ‘lit­tle’ dogs as I at­tempted to con­trol our lovely Labrador Toby and then a crazy springer spaniel called Harry ... not any more.

Af­ter Harry, lit­tle warm-hearted Lhasa Betsy ar­rived in our house. A sweet-na­tured dog who was part of our lives for 14 years.

Then a feisty bun­dle of joy who goes by the name of Doris ar­rived, and for the past four years she has been com­pletely blind due to the on­set of re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa.

How she has coped with los­ing her sight is quite ex­tra­or­di­nary.

Our vet warned us that own­ers gen­er­ally found blind­ness harder to ac­cept than the dogs them­selves – and it seems to be true.

The fact that we moved house when she first be­came blind didn’t make it any eas­ier for her, but she

Derek’s wife Brid­gette with Doris.

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