This is my friend's dog, Kelsey, a lovable King Charles spaniel who's dreaming of a walk on the beach after an operation on her leg. I've always been a bit nervous of dogs, and some of them have been more than a little suspicious of me, too. But Kelsey, a rescue dog, and her sister Katy (just visible in the background) have changed all that.
They bound over to see me when I arrive, each vying for attention before burying their heads in my handbag in search of hidden treats. If I'm lucky they will cuddle up close, keeping me warm on the sofa, trying to lick my face (which I now know is quite a compliment!) We always had cats when I was a child, so I never understood how intuitive dogs could be. 'Don't be scared,' their eyes say, when I arrive, 'we only want to be friends.'
My friend, the dogs' 'mum in situ,' is like a third daughter to me, so it means we are keeping it all in the family. Which reminds me. Kelsey is two on Valentine's Day, so I must remember to send her a card. I'm sure she'll be romping on the beach by then....