WELL this has been an exciting and exhausting week for both Jamie and myself. Exciting for me as I have returned to work for the first time since lockdown in March and exciting, if not a little scary, for Jamie as he has a new lunch-time dog walker.

Jamie is never going to be the bravest of dogs, but he is getting better with new people, as long as he can stand behind my legs for a wee while, until well acquainted.

Hence, Hannah came to meet Jamie one evening last week, so that we could do formal introductions. It took a little time before he could be persuaded to sniff Hannah’s outstretched hand, but she was gentle and patient and he slowly began to come round, possibly helped by the fact that she also had a few pieces of sausage treats to offer.

Apparently he was a little unsure the first lunch-time that Hannah came to visit him on her own and he was none too keen on having his harness on, but it has only been a few days and it would appear that he now has a new best friend and I have seen the photographs to prove it.

Jamie had been with me for just three weeks prior to lockdown, but back then he had Brigadier to look up to and to protect him when I was away from home. For the following six months I worked from home, so Jamie had never really been left, for any significant length of time, whilst living with me and this is the first time that he has ever been asked to leave the house with anyone other than myself.

During lockdown, I understand that puppy sales soared and the prices that people were paying were astronomical, particularly from the online selling sites. Between £2,000 and £3,000 is not out of the ordinary these days; it would appear that the world has gone mad. I just hope that all these lockdown babies, and their owners (first-time in particular), are coping now that people are slowly returning to the work place.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, Jamie still succeeds in making me smile every single day with his love for life and his never ending optimism. Take this morning, for example, he almost succeeded in climbing a tree in pursuit of a squirrel. Granted, the tree trunk was fairly wide and the whole tree was sort of leaning across the beck, making it more of a “run up” than an actual climb, but you have to admire his tenacity and perseverance.

And watching him stalk the seagulls on the beach. With resolute stealth and cunning he lowers his head as he makes his approach, with timing being of the essence; that and the element of surprise, and Jamie never fails to be surprised when the gulls take to the sky with several seconds to spare, laughing as they fly away.

Of course, someone else always guaranteed to raise a smile are my granddaughters. Over the last few months I have been privileged to provide essential child care, on the odd occasion that their parents’ shifts have overlapped. On one such occasion the girls were here when the postman arrived.

“Ooh look Nannie, you’ve got a parcel. I wonder what it is”, said Maisie, aged nine.

“Well let’s have a look shall we?” I replied, “Ah, that’s good, it’s the K9 Dog Cologne.”

“Dog Cologne?” asked Maisie.

“It’s a grooming spray for Jamie,” I explained. “It makes his coat soft and shiny when I brush him and it makes him smell nice too.”

“Can I smell it Nannie? Mmm… that does smell good … it smells just like my dad’s aftershave.”

So, that’s my son-in-law’s Christmas present sorted.