WE are in wet, wild and windy Scotland with friends. Millie, our Jack Russell terrier is also with us, basking in the attention that being the only dog in the party grants her. She has the luxury of her own room, the utility, which as it houses the heater for the cottage, means she can revel in 24-hour warmth, plus underfloor heating. A terrier’s dream.

John and his friends have been asked to participate in the deer cull on a neighbouring estate. Culling is a necessary part of deer management and sustainability of the herd. It balances deer numbers and the requirements of the environment they live in. Too many deer grazing in one area, for example a wood, and they eat out areas needed for other creatures and birds to thrive, roost and feed in.

The other reason Millie is with us is because Moss, our spaniel puppy, is fast becoming a bruiser. I have just received a message from our friends who are house sitting, that Moss has decided that rather than retrieving, her skills lie in the horticultural arena. To this end she has decided that all the pot plants and garden troughs and raised beds need clearing out and dug over. By her. She has also adopted a fail safe method of avoiding any recriminations. If, she has worked out, you lie on your back, loll your tongue out and wag furiously with a dopey grin on your face, you can be forgiven anything.

This may not work so well with John when we return. She is far more obedient with him than she is with me, even though, as the one who feeds her, she should owe me the most loyalty. Unfortunately the only time she will come when called, is if I have a bowl of her food in my hand.

The geese have the better of her, but it is only a matter of time before she works out how to get round the back of them and avoid those snaking, hissing beaks. Meanwhile Fizz, our sheepdog, looks on apologetically in the midst of Moss’s misdemeanours, and has to suffer the indignity of her having her ears and tail constantly tugged and pulled at.

And Millie? She has just become part of the collateral damage in Moss’s whirlwind, dervish, escapades. Still keen to be part of the fun, she only succeeds in getting knocked about when an excited spaniel puppy decides that tackling her and Fizz is all part of the game. So now she is snoozing away in front of the wood burner, looking forward to an undisturbed day of hedonism.