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There is never a more true word spoken when it was said that a dog is man’s best friend. Through thick and thin, he will remain at your side, a faithful companion to the very end. Trusting and devoted. Someone you can share any secret with, who will never tell anybody else …

But I just said, a dog cannot keep a secret. I know. He can keep your secret very well, but he cannot hide anything from you in return. The moment he tries to hide something from you, is the moment that you know he is up to mischief. His body language gives it away every time. Whether he tries to guiltily sneak past when he thinks you are not looking, or he rushes up to you, whole body wagging, in a way that says, “Guess what! Guess what!”

Maybe it’s just me, but it is impossible for Yanky to hide it when he has done something wrong. I seem to turn around at just that moment when he is trying to sneak across the yard with a stolen packet. Or he has a stolen bone in his mouth and deliberately comes to me for a pat on the head, thinking I cannot tell that he is hiding something in his mouth.

I have totally given up trying to stop him chasing the cats. Misty is a lost cause. The coward runs every time he sees Yanky and naturally the silly dog gives chase. I don’t bother because I know he will never hurt him. Sheila is too old to run, so Yanky ignores her. They occasionally walk past each other in the kitchen and he barely looks in her direction.

But Daisy and Gemma. Indoors, they are fine, but outside, it is each animal for themselves. Daisy stands her ground a lot of the time, back arched and hair raised, challenging him to do something.

And then my little bundle of mischief, Gemma, who I call Yanky’s sister? She takes great pleasure in winding him up. Instead of heading for the nearest tree, she saunters round the yard, sees him coming and dashes in the opposite direction. Of course, he wants to play, but then she wants to get past him and up the tree. I have actually given up. Those two are just a lost cause.

But as you can see, Yanky is an open book. He cannot hide anything from me. It has only been a year, but I already know him so well that no secret remains hidden for long.

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