Just before Christmas, we got a new puppy, a little black girl we called Isla. My husband got her as a surprise gift for me – he knew I was broody and love to look after things/people, but mainly he bought her because she had been booked by a prospective owner who had then changed her mind and he couldn’t bear the thought of the wee toot being unloved for Christmas.

I love my husband.

As you may already know, we also have two boy poodles, PJ and Archie. I love my dogs, my furry babies, and was a little concerned how Isla would fit in with the brothers. Archie isn’t too keen on her, but PJ and Isla spend a lot of each day in pretend-fights, making a holy racket as I try to write. I love it. It’s almost as good as listening to kids playing.


I was watching her the other evening as she played with her toys and it occurred to me, how much better I would feel if I approached life like Isla.

She never raises her voice in anger, but she barks a lot because for her, it’s an expression of joy and she’s happy ALL the time. I have never seen her go downstairs – at full speed because for Isla, there is no other way – without barking as she goes, her tail wagging furiously behind her.

She is never bored. If PJ won’t play she’ll grab a toy and run back and forth in front of Archie until he gives in and plays tug-of-war with whatever poor teddy she has chosen. And if Archie is too sleepy to play, she will amuse herself, tossing and chasing balls, cuddlies, socks and underwear until she tires herself out.

She even turns eating into a game. Isla will grab a piece of kibble and run into the living room where she throws it into the air and jumps on it as if it were a poor unsuspecting mouse. She does this time and again until either her hunger is sated or she is too pooped to carry on.

And often, I can hear her “skiddling”, digging at nothing in the water bowl, the kitchen floor a lake, her fluffy tail waving like billy-o.

While I don’t think my family would be too pleased with me if I started throwing my food about, I think there is a lot I can learn from Isla. She lives her life in the happy lane, finding fun and pleasure in the smallest of things and I’m going to try to emulate her.

Apart from weeing in the garden, obviously.

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