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.

Loves bleeding heart

August 15th, 2009

ONE GIRL and two boys under the same roof can be an explosive mixture as the Doyenne and I have discovered. We have been dog-sitting Rosie, our daughter Cait's Jack Russell. She's rather petite with a curly tail, wild, untamed hair and a teasing glint in her eye (Rosie that is, in case there should be doubt!).

She knows how to wind the boys up and it's been interesting watching the reactions of our two. Macbeth and she are both terriers but Macbeth is not built for speed. By contrast Rosie is spring-loaded for a dog with shorter legs than his, and she can put in a surprising turn of speed when she races with Inka.

We've had a classic eternal triangle with Macbeth thinking it's his place to look after our small guest, and she thinking she really fancies the big, tall one who runs about a lot and shows off. Poor Macbeth's dreams are hopeless and he's taking it all so badly that there have been several snarling spats between him and Inka.

I've understood that the concept of the alpha female is really a misconception, but a description I've read is that they are aloof, inscrutable and rule by fear. This week I've been introduced to two of these Lara Crofts of the animal world by a friend who shares her home with a menagerie of wildlife.

Flossie the ferret dominates Fergus and Felicity, but then she is their mother which may account for it. Notwithstanding their relationship, Flossie's shoulders are scratched and bare as a result of Fergus mating with her. Ferret courtship is a tempestuous affair and brings a whole new interpretation to what we Scots know as “rough wooing.”

Minnie, the Jack Russell, terrorises Polly and Peggy, two more of that breed, which gave me a hint to what drives Rosie. Buster the Brittany spaniel is big enough to stand aloof from all their small dog nonsense.

Sandy, the Clydesdale horse, weighs a ton. Hufflepuff (as in Harry Potter) the thoroughbred Welsh pony and Sandy are rescue horses and it's clear they enjoy their new found security in a seaside home, even when Jack Russells run between their legs quarrelling and barking at each other.

Apart from the hens, which thankfully haven't been named, there's Hettie the Harris Hawk. Perhaps it's because she's moulting, and no girl likes to be seen in public in cast-off clothes, but I thought she shot a fairly crabby look in my direction when we met, and I was thankful I hadn't been the rat she had just eaten.

By the time you read this Rosie will have been restored to her family, doubtless highly delighted with the emotional inferno she has left behind and expecting the Doyenne and me to dampen down, as gently as possible, the testosterone bush fires.

Written on Saturday, August 15th, 2009 at 10:17 am for Weekly.