Why middle-aged men get a puppy

A golden retriever puppy

A golden retriever puppy

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The reason middle-aged family men with teenage children get a puppy is because they want someone who is actually pleased to see them when they walk through the front door.

My wife and children think I overindulge our 12-week-old saluki/whippet cross puppy Walter – and when I look at him sitting in his yurt, playing on his iPad then I’m inclined to agree.

It’s hard to remember a time when he didn’t live here, such is the extent to which he’s taken over our lives. People say raising a puppy is just like having a baby, that’s not quite true. You can’t put a baby out in the garden when he’s being naughty, not in November anyway. He’s a very intelligent little dog, so much so we’re wondering when he’s going to say his first words. With babies that word is often “Dada”, much to most mothers’ disgust seeing as how the little nipper ruined their figures, decimated their social lives and robbed them of precious sleep. Still, he’s your baby, you wanted him, so stop moaning.

This week daughter #1 celebrated her scarcely credible 16th birthday. She’s 16. Actually 16. How the hell did that happen?

As with most teenagers she was desperate to celebrate it with her family. Yeah, right! She marked the occasion by going to Manchester Academy with her friends to see a gig by someone called Fuse ODG (no, me neither) and then the next night by going out for dinner with her boyfriend. The people who feed her, clothe her and put a roof over her head were left to make their own arrangements.

As for presents, we’d already shelled out for a new iPhone, a Kendal Calling ticket and a 25 per cent share in a puppy in the last month so the cupboard was bare. Instead the boss bought and wrapped 16 little presents, all of which were trumped by daughter #2’s gift to her big sister.

She ordered a plain white T-shirt off the internet with a picture of daughter #1’s cat Marleyboo pulling his usual p***ed-off face printed on the front. When she opened it she laughed so hard she couldn’t breathe. It is a thing of beauty and goes to prove daughter #2 has a finely-tuned sense of humour. Can’t think where she gets it from.