However, fast forward a few years and I'm a little older but none the wiser. Still under the pretence that life is like a Disney film, I am visiting my dad's house one weekend and we decide to go for a walk. The year is 2004, Christmas is just around the corner and the rain is beating down fast and heavy. My dad decides to pay an impromptu visit to a nearby neighbours and I breathe in my surroundings like a toxic gas. All I remember is that the house is small and that those dwelling inside are loud. The garden is strewn with derelict toys and miscellaneous car parts and that's when I see him: the image etched in my mind. It's still raining and cast in the centre of the garden is a handsome yet uncaring Cocker Spaniel, looking longingly at me with his big brown eyes. His neanderthal owners have tied him to an arbitrary pole pierced from the ground.
Tentatively I unlocked the kennel door and out steps a shivering shell of a dog, petrified of its previous fate to be repeated with new owners. From that moment on, we showered Ben with all the love and attention you would unto a new sibling - he was part of the family and even to this day I cannot fathom how my father rescued that little dog, as a man of very few words and even fewer emotions, I can't even comprehend how he knew that I was breaking my heart over Ben, desperate to see him go to a better home, yet unknowing that it would be mine he would be welcomed in to! This Christmas is Ben's 10th year sprawled contently in front of the fire, and I hope your furry friends spend theirs the same!