Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

Carefree canines

February 24th, 2007

A FORTNIGHT ago I wrote about the West Dart water terrier whose name, it transpires, was Tigger. I now have a photo of Tigger, and without question he was the archetypal hideous hound. He had an undershot jaw and there's a wild, bite-yer-leg look on his face which says that he preferred to get his own way. His mixed background, resulting from hastily engaged in unions, happens all too easily in the dog world unless great vigilance on the owners' part is exercised.

My first  very own' dog, Molly, was a mixture of springer spaniel and collie. With our newly born daughter Cait asleep in the back of the car, the Doyenne and I drove one wild winter's evening to a farmhouse somewhere near Methlick, in darkest Aberdeenshire, to see some puppies which had been billed as pure-bred spaniel. Doubtless I thought it would be fun for the Doyenne to have a puppy to look after, just to help pass the time. I wouldn't get away with that now!

The pure bred mother was brought into the kitchen trailing three puppies behind her. I didn't have much wits then, but I remember saying to the breeder that the pups seemed rather long in the leg and they had awful short, pointy ears, not the least like a springer spaniel's.

I was assured that their bodies would  grow into their legs' and the ears would develop normally over the next couple of months. The mother was a couthy animal, which is always a good sign, and we chose the puppy with the waggiest tail. £6 changed hands, the baby's nappy was changed, and we were ready for home.

What I didn't know was that a bitch can mate with and produce puppies to two dogs – a  mixed litter' is the veterinary term. The pure bred puppies had all gone to wiser, more experienced buyers than me, doubtless for a lot more than £6. But Molly turned out to be a nice natured dog, good in the house and protective of the children. She did have a predilection for hens, but we'll draw a veil over that.

She was also the toast of the countryside whenever she came on heat. Our neighbours' daughter, Susie, had a miniature dachshund called Monty who was Molly's most ardent and dogged follower. We'll never know whether Monty stood on a straw bale or Molly stood in a ditch, but Monty and nature had their way and Molly produced some strange-looking offspring.

Only one, Thaddeus, survived. He had short legs, a long body, and while he was quite well disposed to humans he was short-tempered and inclined to pick a fight with other dogs – the bigger the better as far as he was concerned. Another bite-yer-leg dog, you might say – especially if you were another dog.

Written on Saturday, February 24th, 2007 at 10:28 pm for Weekly.